“My View” from the May 25, 2012 edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
What a terrible week for Facebook — right?
The IPO that everybody was waiting for and eager to get a piece of was a bust — with the stock dropping like a fishing weight.
And now it turns out the underwriters may have given material information only to their chosen customers — leaving small investors, as usual, out in the cold. Investigators are salivating as they dig into this one.
The company must be feeling deeply unfriended. So yeah, at that level, not the week Facebook wanted.
But let me give you another, totally different perspective.
And it starts in Cairo, where an election is ongoing for president of Egypt. It may leave Egyptians with two not terribly satisfactory choices in a runoff between the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood and Mubarak’s last prime minister.
Perhaps not the choice we had hoped to see, but at least it’s democracy — messy as always.
But what has this to do with Facebook?
I deeply believe that without the explosion of information technology and social networking, the upheavals of the Arab Spring could not have emerged.
Whether with Facebook, Twitter or even poor old Myspace, Egyptians and Libyans had to create networks outside traditional means of communications — the media that were already controlled by totalitarian rulers.
So maybe Facebook had a bad week in the short term, with the stock price and the IPO debacle. But in the deeper sense, as part of the tech revolution that has shaped the political world we now live in, advancing freedom and democracy, the mere fact of elections in Egypt is what has the lasting historical import.
So all in all, not such a bad week.
That’s “My View.”