a reply to: JAGStorm
First of all, lets examine the suggestion, that Facebook is a threat to democracy.
Facebook is a system which gives people the opportunity to become digitally connected to friends and family, but also become involved with groups of
people, all around the world, who have like interests, like goals and ideals.
Let us be perfectly aware of the realities involved here... it is the above connection with persons of like mind, which gives a group on Facebook its
power, because it allows groups to measure their strength more accurately, without the requirement to refer to a government agency to spin the
numbers, or hide them, or whatever. Furthermore, they offer the people involved the ability to actually ORGANISE together with pre-set calendar
options, run polls of their own, without reference to outside authority, or anything else of that nature.
Now, Facebook has some serious problems. Its penetrated by and in fact IS a financial entity, which means that its motivations cannot be trusted. It
also contains advertisements for other products, services and companies. It is also penetrated deeply by the global intelligence infrastructure,
members of various services, groups within those services, both at the user level, and at the company level, one of the many vectors by which
intelligence on individuals is gathered by all parties in that industry. It also provided, until recently, a home for fascists in my country, a place
where they could commune and discuss better methods of assaulting persons of colour, persons who speak our language with an accent, people who were
not born here, or people who were born here, to parents who were immigrants. These are all deeply negative things.
Facebook groups led by citizens and populated by citizens, have made positive differences in their communities, by connecting on Facebook, and
leading actions in those communities, which would not have come about otherwise. Facebook groups led by citizens have operated successful campaigns to
change their lives locally, and get things heard in parliament, both in this country and elsewhere. Facebook also provides a place for people to
organise against fascist terrorist organisations of every stripe, to share intelligence amongst members about what fascist groups are doing, where
they are doing it, and how best to combat the threat that fascism represents, which in my country certainly, is historically and currently a far
greater level of threat than any other type of terrorism presents. Facebook has the capacity to be used for both good and ill, like any tool,
electronic or otherwise.
I do not trust its motivations as a company, I do not trust its owners in the least, and nor am I naive enough to assume that everyone who is met
there, is who they say they are.
However, as long as the majority of users operate their accounts to keep themselves connected to their fellow man, rather than to drive wedges
between them (which has been my experience thus far), the net effect can only work out as being objectively positive.
Like a pistol or a sabre, the potential for a person to do great good with it, is just as large as the potential for someone to do ill with it, and
as with any tool, whether it be the tool of freedom of speech, the tools American members have the right to bear for their defence, or the tools I use
in my trade, the only thing that determines how an individual uses the tool, is their morality.