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Facebook: Face of the Beast?

May 17, 2007

What do you do when the Army of Darkness gets web 2.0 compliant?

Like many people, I have recently discovered Facebook. It’s the first social networking site that I’ve got – I’ve found all the others, from MySpace to Tribe, irritating time wasters.

I am getting addicted to Facebook: it’s strangely compelling, and more and more of my friends – some of them people I haven’t see in years – are on it.

This is great: I want to be found – by friends and potential friends. But it does leave you a little exposed, because anyone can find you.

But then again, isn’t it like a phone book for this century? Before people had phones, it would have been difficult to find any information on them. Phone books made surveillance easy – know some one’s name or number, and you can find their address.

But then a friend of mine found this article, which claims that Facebook…

“…is nothing more than COINTELPRO with slick packaging. It is part of a new breed of spy networks designed to profile students for the next phase of martial law. The Bush regime is a megalomaniacal cabal of mass murderers who want to crush all internal dissent, and like all dictatorial regimes, the first place they will look is students.”

I tend not to buy into paranoid fantasies, but maybe they’ve got a point:

“Imagine a computer database which catalogued your entire social network: the email, home address, and sensitive details of all your friends, and consequently, all of their friends in a massive interlinked web. What if this service also archived all of your personal preferences on everything from books to movies to music? And if it also categorized your political views, club associations, previous jobs, educational background, and who you are dating?”

Derek Abdinor – who was my best friend in Grade One, and whom I have recently rediscovered through web2.0 – has also written about this:

I was always perplexed about 2 questions in the profile: what is your religion, and what are your political views? This coming in the same month as the VT shootings in a country where the USA PATRIOT Act 2002 (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) allows the govt to check databases of any library, website or other public office. It would be ingenous. Osama can’t be found with thousands of troops, but by tracking 6 degrees from a pimply-faced frat kid he’ll be found on FB.

Here is an excellent overview of the problems with Facebook.

Facebook is the end of humanity” is a really excellent post imploring us to delete our Facebook accounts immediately:

“I, as a human being, implore you to stop using Facebook. Delete your account. You’ll be surprised when no one even notices. It is one of the most evil devices ever created and it’s destroying your life. You are hopelessly addicted and it will be the end of your natural life. I guarantee if you can make it 2 weeks without it, your life will become better in every way. Please share this article with everyone and see if it raises any concern – you’ll be surprised. And ashamed…and you should be.”

Ironically, there’s even a Facebook group for people concerned about this.

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