Monday, January 14, 2008

Interesting article for Facebook haters

"I despise Facebook," writes Tom Hodgkinson today in The Guardian.
Clearly, Facebook is another uber-capitalist experiment: can you make money out of friendship? Can you create communities free of national boundaries - and then sell Coca-Cola to them? Facebook is profoundly uncreative. It makes nothing at all. It simply mediates in relationships that were happening anyway.
Mainly, Hodgkinson has a go at Facebook's backers, Peter Thiel and Jim Breyer. He presents an entire conspiracy theory about how Facebook is funded and aided by the CIA and neocon circles to exploit its users, who create all the content only to see it sold as advertising space which makes a few people even richer. He also writes:
After 9/11, the US intelligence community became so excited by the possibilities of new technology and the innovations being made in the private sector, that in 1999 they set up their own venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel, which "identifies and partners with companies developing cutting-edge technologies to help deliver these solutions to the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader US Intelligence Community (IC) to further their missions".
As far as I remember 9/11 happed in 2001. So if the CIA discovered its interested in internet startups already in 1999, it had nothing to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and the subsequent War on Terrorism. Still the text is interesting to read and could make me shiver if I knew that it's entirely true. But from my desk in Berlin I just can't check the facts, whether in favour or against Facebook. However I can perfectly understand the story of Hodgkinson's friend who spent a Saturday night at home alone on Facebook, drinking at his desk.
What a gloomy image. Far from connecting us, Facebook actually isolates us at our workstations.
At least Facebook always eats up more time than I had planned to spend and it hasn't give me much in return. At least it's free and I can switch off its email notifications.

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