The feckless, irresponsible, and arbitrary way in which Facebook imposed its punitive Australian ban on news sites overnight Wednesday confirmed the worst fears of the many critics who say the social media giant gives no thought to public interest and is obsessed with money and power.
Mark Zuckerberg's organisation has, for many years, tried to shrug off accusations that it views its billions of users around the world as nothing more than a collective commodity whose personal data can be flogged off to any interested third parties who are willing to meet its price.
These have included sinister and clandestine operators who have used the information gained to attempt to swing election results and to undermine legitimate democratic processes.
It really is a case of, as some commentators have observed: "if you're not paying for it, you're not the customer but the product".
The fact that Facebook has been prepared to take this action which it, perhaps mistakenly, perceives to be in its own self-interest, at the height of a pandemic, on the eve of a nation-wide vaccination roll-out, during the bushfire season, and just weeks out from the Western Australian election is proof positive it has no sense of community obligation that extends beyond "take the money and run".
The black hole of naked ambition and greed around which the needle of the company's moral compass swings has been revealed for all to see. While the arrogance Mr Zuckerberg and his advisers have shown suggest he may think of himself as an emperor, the Facebook chief executive has been exposed as a man running desperately short of clothes.
Matters have been made even worse by the fact the news site ban was apparently so shoddily conceived and hastily implemented that the collateral damage extended to public interest government homepages including the Bureau of Meteorology and state and territory health departments. Not even Facebook's own homepage was able to escape the company's "deathstar" algorithm.
While Facebook has said mistakes were made, and quickly moved to reverse the damage, the fact remains that very little care and responsibility was apparently exercised during this episode. If these types of errors had been made by a government-run entity the uproar would have been immediate and overwhelming.
The observations of Belinda Barnet, a senior lecturer in media and communications at Swinburne University, are worthy of consideration.
She wrote that: "Facebook is shooting itself in the foot. In deciding to remove the main source of fact-checked and accurate information on its platform it has ensured that its product is suddenly less valuable. It is not going to be the platform Australians can rely on in an emergency, or to keep abreast of what is happening".
This is an organisation that has wilfully chosen to diminish its own brand.
Facebook's decision has also exposed its recent platitudes about being committed to the "long term vibrancy of Australia's news and media sector" as nothing more than cant and lies.
A platform which has an abysmal record when it comes to shutting down anti-vaxxers, neo-Nazi's, holocaust and climate change deniers, and other forms of "fake news" and "alternative facts" is now denying Australians the ability to use its site to source and share legitimate and verified information.
The message is clear. Facebook is all for Facebook and for its bottom line. Facebook users are only factored into the equation as a convenient commodity.