- Spotify’s founder says the world has met three different versions of Mark Zuckerberg over the years.
- There’s “The Social Network” Mark, “Cambridge Analytica” Mark and the Mark we’re seeing today.
- Daniel Ek told Forbes that today’s Zuckerberg “is a lot more authentic in his public persona.”
Ek told Forbes in a story published on Tuesday that Zuckerberg’s persona has varied since the latter founded Facebook during his Harvard days. Ek — who’s known the Meta boss for years — added that he was speaking based on his assessment of the public’s perception of Zuckerberg, and not his own opinion.
The Swedish billionaire told the magazine that the world first met “The Social Network Mark,” a persona that was based on Jessie Eisenberg’s portrayal of him in “The Social Network.” Eisenberg played Zuckerberg as a haughty genius in the Academy Award-winning film.
Next, Ek added that the world got to know “Cambridge Analytica or ‘evil Mark.'” Ek was likely referring to the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook was accused of allowing the data of millions of users to be improperly accessed by the political data analytics firm.
Zuckerberg later took responsibility for the debacle.
“I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community,” Zuckerberg wrote in a March 2018 Facebook post.
But Ek told Forbes that the Zuckerberg of today is a lot different from the past two versions.
“He is a lot more authentic in his public persona. He’s learned a lot over these past few years and he has a new fire in the belly,” Ek said. “He’s realized he needs to act responsibly because he’s got this enormous platform.”
Ek, however, did point out to the magazine that there were still vestiges of older versions present.
“But there’s still some of the old Mark, where he is betting on things even though everyone tells him ‘this is never gonna work,'” Ek added.
Meta’s CEO has been through a tumultuous journey over the past few years. Zuckerberg sank $40 billion into his bet on the metaverse, and has also had to contend with the emergence of new competitors like TikTok.
Zuckerberg spoke to podcast host Joe Rogan last year about the pressures he faced running Meta.
“It’s almost like every day you wake up and you’re, like, punched in the stomach,” Zuckerberg told Rogan. “Now I need to, like, go reset myself and be able to kind of be productive and not be stressed about this.”
The initiative appeared to pay off when Meta posted revenues of $32 billion for the year’s second quarter, an 11% increase when compared to the same period last year.
Ek told Forbes that Zuckerberg’s interest in martial arts means that Zuckerberg has now embraced a “martial arts view of the world,” both for himself and his company.
“When you go into a competition, you’re not fighting another person, you’re fighting yourself, right?” Ek told the magazine. “You’re just trying to be a better version of yourself.”
Representatives for Ek and Zuckerberg did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.