Some on the Web have begun calling for Mark Zuckerberg's resignation… (Justin Sullivan/Getty…)
Internet users expressed split opinions in a wide-ranging debate sparked by a Los Angeles Times story Friday that questioned whether Mark Zuckerberg is still the right person to lead Facebook Inc.
Titled "Is Mark Zuckerberg in over his hoodie as Facebook CEO?," the story compiled questions that Facebook and Zuckerberg have been facing since going public in May while also shedding light on the fact that people have begun to ask if Zuckerberg should leave the chief executive’s title to someone else.
Facebook stock closed below the $20 mark for the first time Thursday after the expiration of a provision that had barred certain investors and insiders, including employees, from trading some of their shares.
The debate over Zuckerberg’s role raged on numerous websites in response to The Times story.
"Mark Zuckerberg resign as $FB CEO immediately," said a user on Twitter, linking to a post calling for Zuckerberg's resignation.
[Updated at 4:38 p.m. Aug. 17: The user has contacted us to say his tweet and post were sarcastic. He thinks Zuckerberg is doing a good job.]
A reader in the story comments area said: "Now time has come when Mark Zuckerberg should step down from the position of CEO and take some more creative responsibility. This is not about hoodie or his appearance in public but its all about face book’s failed business model."
But many are also saying that firing Zuckerberg would be a mistake, even comparing it to Apple's ousting of Steve Jobs in the 1980s.
"This article is so dumb. Everyone knows that the people that build great products are the ones that should see through their vision," said one person commenting on the story. "Zuckerburg is not only quite rightly a bold strong leader with an vision but he also like Steve Jobs is not focused on money - those are the qualities that make great CEO's."
"LOL! They think it's the CEO that's the problem," a Reddit user said. "Swapping out CEOs has helped companies like AOL, RIM, and Yahoo stay afloat so much! I guess that's how Wall Street justifies paying millions to a person who votes on choices brought to him or her from their team or investors."
Others, though, say Zuckerberg isn't the problem. The Facebook business model is.
"FB needs monster ad revenues to perform and the users who log on could truly care less about ads. It's of no interest to them- no matter how much you try to hit them over the head with ads, their ONLY concern is what their FB friends are up to," another person said in a story comment. "Ads simply don't work in social media. Period!"
"People! This company produces nothing! All it does is sell your personnal information to marketers…." another reader said. "Dont be zombies and just let them earn billions off of you without any compensation."
Zuckerberg’s past, dramatically depicted in the 2010 feature film "The Social Network," prompted some to suggest that his troubles now are karma for his actions in his early 20s.
"Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from the Winklevoss twins," one reader said. "How this hoodied ego maniac can live himself is beyond me. It is not surprising that FB is tanking.... The kid loves to posture like he is a big CEO but in actuality he is a lightweight and is relatively unskilled in the business and technology sectors."
Some said they would be happy to see Zuckerberg and Facebook fail.
"Any investor who really thought they were going to make a fortune on the stock was an idiot. The company is overvalued even now at half the IPO price," said a Reddit user.
"Greed. Arrogance. Hubris," said a reader. "I could not be happier to see Mark Zuckerberg, the Teflon-coated golden boy finally get what he deserves. He flat-out stole the idea of Facebook from others and got lucky."
But at least on Facebook, some people remain hopeful.
"Facebook is going to make money, just not as fast as people's greed wanted!" said one person.
Another said: "Not even worried about the stock being down, because im going to hold the stock for a while and see what happens."
"The stock price has nothing to do with how the company is run in this case," another person said on the Times Technology page on Facebook. "It's due to the initial over-hype, and it will stabilize, maybe it will even recover. Bringing in some Coca-Cola salesman, like Apple did with Sculley, would be a huge mistake."
But perhaps nothing sums up the current situation for Zuckerberg or Facebook in one word quite like agent0fch4os' commentary on Reddit.
"Timberrrrrrrrrrrrrr," the user said.
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