Leaving Facebookistan

A nice essay on the reasons for leaving FB after the complete corporate takeover (aka IPO):

Zuckerberg’s business model requires the trust and loyalty of his users so that he can make money from their participation, yet he must simultaneously stretch that trust by driving the site to maximize profits, including by selling users’ personal information. The I.P.O. last week will exacerbate this tension: Facebook’s huge valuation now puts pressure on the company’s strategists to increase its revenue-per-user. That means more ads, more data mining, **and more creative thinking about new ways to commercialize the personal, cultural, political, and even revolutionary activity of users. **

There is something **vaguely dystopian about oppressed peoples in Syria or Iran seeking dignity and liberation inside a corporate sovereign that is, for its part, creating great wealth for its founders and asserting control over its users. **


for now, at least, Facebook concedes to its users only when it judges that it is in the corporation’s interest to do so; what user votes and consultations there may be are purely advisory. As MacKinnon observes, this system suggests the political control strategies of the Chinese Communist Party: periodic campaigns of state-managed openness and managed local democracy.

Every three months “investors” now will want to hear about new plans to monetize users and their friends. This is just the beginning.

Posted: 28 May 2012

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