reply to post by EvilTwin666
The creators of the site need do very little bar fiddle with the programme. In the main, they simply sit back and watch as millions of Facebook
addicts voluntarily upload their ID details, photographs and lists of their favourite consumer objects. Once in receipt of this vast database of human
beings, Facebook then simply has to sell the information back to advertisers, or, as Zuckerberg puts it in a recent blog post, "to try to help people
share information with their friends about things they do on the web". And indeed, this is precisely what's happening. On November 6 last year,
Facebook announced that 12 global brands had climbed on board. They included Coca-Cola, Blockbuster, Verizon, Sony Pictures and Condé Nast. All
trained in marketing bull# of the highest order, their representatives made excited comments along the following lines:
"With Facebook Ads, our brands can become a part of the way users communicate and interact on Facebook," said Carol Kruse, vice president, global
interactive marketing, the Coca-Cola Company.
"We view this as an innovative way to cultivate relationships with millions of Facebook users by enabling them to interact with Blockbuster in
convenient, relevant and entertaining ways," said Jim Keyes, Blockbuster chairman and CEO. "This is beyond creating advertising impressions. This is
about Blockbuster participating in the community of the consumer so that, in return, consumers feel motivated to share the benefits of our brand with
"Share" is Facebookspeak for "advertise". Sign up to Facebook and you become a free walking, talking advert for Blockbuster or Coke, extolling the
virtues of these brands to your friends. We are seeing the commodification of human relationships, the extraction of capitalistic value from
Now, by comparision with Facebook, newspapers, for example, begin to look hopelessly outdated as a business model. A newspaper sells advertising space
to businesses looking to sell stuff to their readers. But the system is far less sophisticated than Facebook for two reasons. One is that newspapers
have to put up with the irksome expense of paying journalists to provide the content. Facebook gets its content for free. The other is that Facebook
can target advertising with far greater precision than a newspaper. Admit on Facebook that your favourite film is This Is Spinal Tap, and when a
Spinal Tap-esque movie comes out, you can be sure that they'll be sending ads your way.
It's true that Facebook recently got into hot water with its Beacon advertising programme. Users were notified that one of their friends had made a
purchase at certain online shops; 46,000 users felt that this level of advertising was intrusive, and signed a petition called "Facebook! Stop
invading my privacy!" to say so. Zuckerberg apologised on his company blog. He has written that they have now changed the system from "opt-out" to
"opt-in". But I suspect that this little rebellion about being so ruthlessly commodified will soon be forgotten: after all, there was a national
outcry by the civil liberties movement when the idea of a police force was mooted in the UK in the mid 19th century.
about freedom, but isn't it really more like an ideologically motivated virtual totalitarian regime with a population that will very soon exceed the
UK's? Thiel and the rest have created their own country, a country of consumers.
Now, you may, like Thiel and the other new masters of the cyberverse, find this social experiment tremendously exciting. Here at last is the
Enlightenment state longed for since the Puritans of the 17th century sailed away to North America, a world where everyone is free to express
themselves as they please, according to who is watching. National boundaries are a thing of the past and everyone cavorts together in freewheeling
virtual space. Nature has been conquered through man's boundless ingenuity. Yes, and you may decide to send genius investor Thiel all your money, and
certainly you'll be waiting impatiently for the public flotation of the unstoppable Facebook.
Or you might reflect that you don't really want to be part of this heavily-funded programme to create an arid global virtual republic, where your own
self and your relationships with your friends are converted into commodites on sale to giant global brands. You may decide that you don't want to be
part of this takeover bid for the world.
For my own part, I am going to retreat from the whole thing, remain as unplugged as possible, and spend the time I save by not going on Facebook doing
something useful, such as reading books. Why would I want to waste my time on Facebook when I still haven't read Keats' Endymion? And when there are
seeds to be sown in my own back yard? I don't want to retreat from nature, I want to reconnect with it. Damn air-conditioning! And if I want to
connect with the people around me, I will revert to an old piece of technology. It's free, it's easy and it delivers a uniquely individual
experience in sharing information: it's called talking.
Just for fun, try substituting the words 'Big Brother' whenever you read the word 'Facebook'
1 We will advertise at you
"When you use Facebook, you may set up your personal profile, form relationships, send messages, perform searches and queries, form groups, set up
events, add applications, and transmit information through various channels. We collect this information so that we can provide you the service and
offer personalised features."
2 You can't delete anything
"When you update information, we usually keep a backup copy of the prior version for a reasonable period of time to enable reversion to the prior
version of that information."
3 Anyone can glance at your intimate confessions
"... we cannot and do not guarantee that user content you post on the site will not be viewed by unauthorised persons. We are not responsible for
circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures contained on the site. You understand and acknowledge that, even after removal, copies of
user content may remain viewable in cached and archived pages or if other users have copied or stored your user content."
4 Our marketing profile of you will be unbeatable
"Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the
Facebook service through the operation of the service (eg, photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalised
5 Opting out doesn't mean opting out
"Facebook reserves the right to send you notices about your account even if you opt out of all voluntary email notifications."
6 The CIA may look at the stuff when they feel like it
"By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States ... We may be required to
disclose user information pursuant to lawful requests, such as subpoenas or court orders, or in compliance with applicable laws. We do not reveal
information until we have a good faith belief that an information request by law enforcement or private litigants meets applicable legal standards.
Additionally, we may share account or other information when we believe it is necessary to comply with law, to protect our interests or property, to
prevent fraud or other illegal activity perpetrated through the Facebook service or using the Facebook name, or to prevent imminent bodily harm. This
may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, agents or government agencies."