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[liberationtech] CNN writer on leaving Facebook

Jon Lebkowsky jon.lebkowsky at gmail.com
Mon Feb 25 10:55:14 PST 2013


Left out a word... that should've read: "I actually reject the notion..." I
was arguing with my own first paragraph.


On Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 12:54 PM, Jon Lebkowsky <jon.lebkowsky at gmail.com>wrote:

> As Bruce Sterling was saying, from the perspective of Facebook the
> company, users of the system are cattle - they're product sold to
> advertisers. That kinda sucks, but here's the thing: Facebook is useful to
> its users, or they wouldn't be there. Doug is making an ideological
> argument, but ideologues often revel in ascetic rejection of the world and
> the agora. I love Doug, but I won't follow his lead here.  But then (guilty
> admission), I also watch television.
>
> I reject the notion that Facebook users are cattle, and I'm not sure
> they're mere consumers. They accept a bargain, but it has benefits for
> them. And as with television, you learn to ignore the ads, or if not
> completely ignore, at least avoid being somehow enslaved by them, and as
> part of the bargain you're entertained. Facebook is more useful than
> television - I get more from the bargain and the marketing is even less
> oppressive.
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 11:54 AM, Allucquere Rosanne Stone <
> sandy at sandystone.com> wrote:
>
>> We've been on this bus before, in (perhaps) a less sophisticated incarnation.  See Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman's 1973 film *Television Delivers People* <http://www.ubu.com/film/serra_television.html>.
>> -sandy
>>
>>
>> On Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:52:14 +0100, Petter Ericson
>> wrote:
>> > Greetings,
>> >
>> > Though I imagine that the facebook use is significantly lower (and more
>> > judicious) among the libtech users than among a more generic tech-savvy
>> > population, this essay makes a rather good case on why quitting facebook
>> > entirely is the proper thing to do at some point - sooner rather than
>> > later.
>> >
>> > Best
>> >
>> > /P
>> >
>> > http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/25/opinion/rushkoff-why-im-quitting-facebook/index.html
>>
>>
>> >
>> > Why I'm quitting Facebook
>> > By Douglas Rushkoff, CNN
>> >
>> > (CNN) -- I used to be able to justify using Facebook as a cost of doing
>> > business. As a writer and sometime activist who needs to promote my
>> > books and articles and occasionally rally people to one cause or
>> > another, I found Facebook fast and convenient. Though I never really
>> > used it to socialize, I figured it was OK to let other people do that,
>> > and I benefited from their behavior.
>> >
>> > I can no longer justify this arrangement.
>> >
>> > Today, I am surrendering my Facebook account, because my participation
>> > on the site is simply too inconsistent with the values I espouse in my
>> > work. In my upcoming book "Present Shock," I chronicle some of what
>> > happens when we can no longer manage our many online presences. I have
>> > always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and
>> > dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.
>> >
>> > Facebook does things on our behalf when we're not even there.
>> >
>> > It actively misrepresents us to our friends, and worse misrepresents
>> > those who have befriended us to still others. To enable this
>> > dysfunctional situation -- I call it "digiphrenia" -- would be at the
>> > very least hypocritical. But to participate on Facebook as an author, in
>> > a way specifically intended to draw out the "likes" and resulting
>> > vulnerability of others, is untenable.
>> >
>> > Facebook has never been merely a social platform. Rather, it exploits
>> > our social interactions the way a Tupperware party does.
>> >
>> > Facebook does not exist to help us make friends, but to turn our network
>> > of connections, brand preferences and activities over time -- our
>> > "social graphs" -- into money for others.
>> >
>> > We Facebook users have been building a treasure lode of big data that
>> > government and corporate researchers have been mining to predict and
>> > influence what we buy and for whom we vote. We have been handing over to
>> > them vast quantities of information about ourselves and our friends,
>> > loved ones and acquaintances. With this information, Facebook and the
>> > "big data" research firms purchasing their data predict still more
>> > things about us -- from our future product purchases or sexual
>> > orientation to our likelihood for civil disobedience or even terrorism.
>> >
>> > The true end users of Facebook are the marketers who want to reach and
>> > influence us. They are Facebook's paying customers; we are the product.
>> > And we are its workers. The countless hours that we -- and the young,
>> > particularly -- spend on our profiles are the unpaid labor on which
>> > Facebook justifies its stock valuation.
>> >
>> > The efforts of a few thousand employees at Facebook's Menlo Park campus
>> > pale in comparison to those of the hundreds of millions of users
>> > meticulously tweaking their pages. Corporations used to have to do
>> > research to assemble our consumer profiles; now we do it for them.
>> >
>> > The information collected about you by Facebook through my Facebook page
>> > isn't even shared with me. Thanks to my page, Facebook knows the
>> > demographics of my readership, their e-mails, what else they like, who
>> > else they know and, perhaps most significant, who they trust. And
>> > Facebook is taking pains not to share any of this, going so far as to
>> > limit the ability of third-party applications to utilize any of this
>> > data.
>> >
>> > Given that this was the foundation for Facebook's business plan from the
>> > start, perhaps more recent developments in the company's ever-evolving
>> > user agreement shouldn't have been so disheartening.
>> >
>> > Still, we bridle at the notion that any of our updates might be
>> > converted into "sponsored stories" by whatever business or brand we may
>> > have mentioned. That innocent mention of cup of coffee at Starbucks, in
>> > the Facebook universe, quickly becomes an attributed endorsement of
>> > their brand. Remember, the only way to connect with something or someone
>> > is to "like" them. This means if you want to find out what a politician
>> > or company you don't like is up to, you still have to endorse them
>> > publicly.
>> >
>> > More recently, users -- particularly those with larger sets of friends,
>> > followers and likes -- learned that their updates were no longer
>> > reaching all of the people who had signed up to get them. Now, we are
>> > supposed to pay to "promote" our posts to our friends and, if we pay
>> > even more, to their friends.
>> >
>> > Yes, Facebook is entitled to be paid for promoting us and our interests
>> > -- but this wasn't the deal going in, particularly not for companies who
>> > paid Facebook for extra followers in the first place. Neither should
>> > users who "friend" my page automatically become the passive conduits for
>> > any of my messages to all their friends just because I paid for it.
>> >
>> > That brings me to Facebook's most recent shift, and the one that pushed
>> > me over the edge.
>> >
>> > Through a new variation of the Sponsored Stories feature called Related
>> > Posts, users who "like" something can be unwittingly associated with
>> > pretty much anything an advertiser pays for. Like e-mail spam with a
>> > spoofed identity, the Related Post shows up in a newsfeed right under
>> > the user's name and picture. If you like me, you can be shown implicitly
>> > recommending me or something I like -- something you've never heard of
>> > -- to others without your consent.
>> >
>> > For now, as long as I don't like anything myself, I have some measure of
>> > control over what those who follow me receive in my name or, worse, are
>> > made to appear to be endorsing, themselves. But I feel that control
>> > slipping away, and cannot remain part of a system where liking me or my
>> > work can be used against you.
>> >
>> > The promotional leverage that Facebook affords me is not worth the
>> > price. Besides, how can I ask you to like me, when I myself must refuse
>> > to like you or anything else?
>> >
>> > I have always appreciated that agreeing to become publicly linked to me
>> > and my work online involves trust. It is a trust I value, but -- as it
>> > is dependent on the good graces of Facebook -- it is a trust I can live
>> > up to only by unfriending this particularly anti-social social network.
>> >
>> > Maybe in doing so I'll help people remember that Facebook is not the
>> > Internet. It's just one website, and it comes with a price.
>>
>>
>> --
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>>
>
>
>
> --
> Jon Lebkowsky (@jonl)
> Jon at Google+ <https://plus.google.com/107989370857115020482/posts> |
> Twitter <http://twitter.com/jonl> | LinkedIn<http://www.linkedin.com/in/jonlebkowsky>
>  | Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/jonlebkowsky> | Wikipedia<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Lebkowsky>
> Work: Polycot Associates <http://polycotassociates.com>: Advanced
> Internet Solutions Twitter <http://twitter.com/#%21/polycotplus>| Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/polycot>
> Blog: Weblogsky.com <http://weblogsky.com/>: Smart Thinking About
> Culture, Media, and the Internet
> Activism: EFF-Austin <http://effaustin.org/>
>



-- 
Jon Lebkowsky (@jonl)
Jon at Google+ <https://plus.google.com/107989370857115020482/posts> |
Twitter <http://twitter.com/jonl> |
LinkedIn<http://www.linkedin.com/in/jonlebkowsky>
 | Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/jonlebkowsky> |
Wikipedia<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Lebkowsky>
Work: Polycot Associates <http://polycotassociates.com>: Advanced Internet
Solutions Twitter <http://twitter.com/#%21/polycotplus>|
Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/polycot>
Blog: Weblogsky.com <http://weblogsky.com/>: Smart Thinking About Culture,
Media, and the Internet
Activism: EFF-Austin <http://effaustin.org/>
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