As reported in Vanity Fair (May 2019), Mark Zuckerberg told a friend in an IM, “You can be unethical and still be legal that’s the way I live my life.”
With that being said, no one should be surprised that Facebook agreed to pay a $5B fine for violating multiple previous agreements with the FTC and users. Next to generating a return for shareholders, the most important role of the C-Suite is to create an ethical culture, the true essence of leadership.
A strong ethical culture is good for business, the customers, and employees. Is it no wonder that Facebook has reputational problems? How should the nearly 36,000 Facebook employees be expected to remain ethical in their jobs when their CEO thinks it is ok to be unethical?
Under the new agreement, Zuckerberg and other executives will be required to certify personally, subject to civil and CRIMINAL penalties, Facebook’s compliance program. The line between unethical and illegal is very thin. The penalties for being unethical or illegal can be devastating to the individual and the organization. (photo courtesy of Bon Appetite)