back to article Facebook turns 10: Big Brother isn't Mark Zuckerberg. It's YOU

Facebook turns 10 this month, which means a bombardment of anniversary pieces lauding the social network. This blabbergasm will stress how Facebook “changed everything” and speculate on how “unimaginable" life might be without Facebook. But Mark Zuckerberg’s greatest achievement isn't financial or technical. Facebook has turned …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop it, Now!

    "Facebook turns 10 this month, which means a bombardment of anniversary pieces lauding the social network. This blabbergasm will stress how Facebook “changed everything” and speculate on how “unimaginable" life might be without Facebook."

    Look, cut the crap! I'm sick of hearing the word Fakebook (the home of the fake).

    I've never used it. I have no need for it. I don't get sucked into fads. I never follow the crowd, they will only lead to sadness and despair, and the crowd have no clue what they are doing.

    So you should immediately cut the "Fakebook changed the world" mantra, because I contradict your beliefs.

    Fakebook is designed for the fad worthy, and the scummy pikey chavvy iphone toting clampets on the estate.

    Hardly aspirational.

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: Stop it, Now!

      I see you have no need for reading comprehension either.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Stop it, Now!

      >>I've never used it. I have no need for it. I don't get sucked into fads. I never follow the crowd

      Other than the "I don't follow the crowd" crowd. Or the internet forum fad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop it, Now!

        A tad bitchy, aren't we? Maybe you're one of the plebs that actually dedicates every waking hour to this brain-dead service that seems to have conned a great many people on this planet (like Apple) into believing that they need to air their dirty linen in public and expose every facet of their dull, boring lives to anyone who shows the slightest interest. So-called "social networking" leaves me totally stone cold and I wouldn't be seen dead indulging in such a puerile activity.

    3. Micky 1

      Re: Stop it, Now!

      "Fakebook is designed for the fad worthy, and the scummy pikey chavvy iphone toting clampets on the estate."

      Yea, cause the Ivy League US Colleges (the initial subset of the population that were invited to join) are really just pikey chavs and not the top percentile of the US educational system.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop it, Now!

      Jeez, get over yourself!

      It's a tool, it can be used for good or for being fecking mindless twat. Most people on it are fecking mindless twats but a huge number of people make an effort to understand it and use it as a useful tool to promote contacts. I've met so many great and inspiring UK photographers on FB, some of whom I'm planning to meet up with this year. I can keep track of my favourite metal bands, getting discounts for gigs sometimes or special offers on releases. I don't have time to trawl and track 57 different websites everyday, I turn everything off on FB and I get entities I am interested to report news to me once a day in one useful place.

  2. N2

    Yawn

    Thats all.

  3. Ben Liddicott

    We just need to man up (and woman up)

    """In short, we’ve become our own policemen. Zuckerberg's great empowering hides that he’s helped usher in an age of conformity. One we’ve really created for ourselves. """

    Maybe we just need to all grow a pair, and just say what we think. The illusion of unanimity would soon fall away, and with it the pressure to conform.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: We just need to man up (and woman up)

      Ah, the Reg forums - that great repository of insight into the human condition.

      just say what we think. The illusion of unanimity would soon fall away, and with it the pressure to conform

      Yes, there's a plausible theory of subjectivity. Pity all of history, sociology, and psychology (and these days a decent bit of neurobiology) suggest otherwise.

  4. BigAndos

    Waffling Follows

    Sorry, bit long winded but this article struck a bit of a nerve with me! I personally relate to the point on political beliefs. I made a post on facebook disapproving of certain tory cuts (e.g. to housing benefit in London). I got a torrent of abuse because I dared to express a partly left wing opinion while working (at the time) as an IT consultant in the insurance industry which somehow meant I was a hypocrite. It is really weird how facebook does seem to be enforcing conformity within social groupings.

    For example, I have a group of "proper" left wing friends on FB who slavishly post every article from the Guardian comment section even when they don't particularly make much sense or conflict with statements they have made themselves. It seems if you identify yourself with a certain group or tribe you have to mindlessly believe everything that group believes. If you are more right wing, you don't seem to be able to "support our troops" and be in favour if immigration for example.

    Even on trivial matters dissent is not encouraged. I identify myself mainly as an alternative rock music fan but I don't like Radiohead. I swear people have almost defriended me over statements like that!

  5. Sander van der Wal

    MMmm. Only those people who cared about their image and what their friends said before FB will care now. Because they haven't changed, and neither have their friends.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "In short, we’ve become our own policemen. Zuckerberg's great empowering hides that he’s helped usher in an age of conformity. One we’ve really created for ourselves."

    Only if you are too weak or chosen to live in this fantasy world.

    Fakebook is a mental illness!

  7. John Lilburne

    I think they are dreaming if they believe that there are only 7.9 million duplicate or fake accounts. Everyone I know on FB has at least two accounts besides their real name one. I have 2 myself and no real name one.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I totally agree. My own wife created herself a Facebook profile to "see what it was all about", but she created it under a fake name with fake details.

      There certainly are real-name profiles in that hive of scum and . . oops, wrong train of thought - there are real-name profile in Facebook, but I doubt that they are even a majority.

      Not if you take into account the pet profiles, the fake name profiles, the multiple-account game profiles, and the business profiles. Heck, there may even be a profile or two for famous landmarks.

      There are real people who post in there, but the only way you can be sure is if you already know the person in Real Life (tm).

  8. Jedibeeftrix

    Say hello to my alt-persona.

    Fully fledged in digital terms, and entirely separate from the real me.

    Even the real me has firewalls between types of digital contact (email, social media, gaming, etc).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook - A Class 'A' Drug

    for a good number of people. (Other similar Social Media Drugs also exist)

    To borrow a WW2 Saying

    'Careless Facebook costs lives'

    That should be enough to get it removed from the internet.

    Someone created a bogus profile in my name. It took me more than 18 months to correct the damage it caused me. That is why it and all others like it should die a horrible lingering death.

  10. Sir Runcible Spoon

    Sir

    "Facebook "gamified" this voyeurism. Your friend count and timeline are a constant reminder of your score."

    "The only winning move is not to play."

    -Joshua

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Sir

      Have thumbs up, sir. All this gnashing of teeth, rending of garments is a bit more than FB deserves. If you want to play and be the product, so be it. If you don't want all those wonderful <sarc> cat vids and pics, and all the drama, don't play.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't there a third vector at play here?

    I like this article insofar that it indeed highlights some fallacies and highlights the age of consensus as behavioural model (a model which makes me glad people like Jack Nicholson exist, grin).

    There is, however, a third vector at play (IMHO): this assumption that it is actually good to share and the unrelenting pressure to do so. We are absolutely BURIED under "share" options. Worse, it's even integrated into operating systems so you have to be very careful that you don't share by accident, and by that I mean publicly, not with the NSA..

    I have, as yet, to discover an instance where sharing is indeed recommended. Twitter? No, thanks. Facebook? Nah. It may have to do with profession: by their very nature, the companies that make their income by creating an online "presence" like marketing and PR outfits may indeed seek to live online, but for instance lawyers, advisors and doctors are as absent as they should be. Anyone tweeting "RIP appendix LOL" should be struck off, but you thankfully need a brain to legally approach an anaesthetised body with anything sharper than a penknife (and my hat off to you all).

    I've tried the Facebook thing - it doesn't work for me. First of all, I am aware of how fickle public life is (just be a named knowledgeable commentard here and see how many people seem to have a need to spout opinion based on nothing more than an at best passing acquaintance with the topic at hand and magnify that x100 to get an idea of the unspecialised version of online life), secondly, I take the Groucho Marx approach to groups (not interested in any club who accepts me as a member :) ), and thirdly, as I am well aware of gaming theory I didn't do the "friends" numbers thing. If it floats your boat, be my guest. Just don't bother ME with it, or worse, try to impress me with it.

  12. John G Imrie

    Conformity

    Well I think we are all different.

    Except for the person reading this obviously.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Conformity

      You have reminded me of some of my favourite scenes in any movie..

      <Brian>"You are all individuals"

      <Crowd>"Yes, we're all individuals"

      <Brian>"Now FUCK OFF!"

      <Acolyte>"Err, how should we fuck off oh Lord?"

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: Conformity

        <Brian>"You are all individuals"

        <Crowd>"Yes, we're all individuals"

        <Single man in Crowd>"Er, I'm not"

  13. Tim Greenwood

    Fortunately it is still possible to be non conformist by being non facebookist. The established media does tend to assume that "everyone" uses social media and can't survive without. Fortunately it is still possible to exist and interact in the flesh, in the real world.

    We may not have "quite" got to big brother watching, but certainly we are at "rather large cousin" level.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Fortunately it is still possible to be non conformist by being non facebookist

      "You may decline to conform by following the rules I have prescribed."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not me matey. Life is thoroughly imaginable without facebook.

  15. Mystic Megabyte
    Meh

    meh

    I read one day that two UK daytime TV personalites had retired after 25 years.

    I had never seen them!

    It will be the same for facebook.

  16. Irongut Silver badge

    Welcome to your age of conformity Facebookers.

    I'm the one with the unimaginable life laughing at you from the sidelines.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      It's good you accept your place is on the sidelines of society. I mean really, when a computer nerd LIKES a social tool that's the time the owner should be worried.

    2. JonP

      I doubt Facebook makes people conform, it's just a glorified email/IM chimera. It more likely highlights the fact that everyone already conforms in some way or other - even the crowd mocking from the sidelines!

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I concur with you, JonP. It is not Facebook that makes people conform.

        It's the conformists that flock to Facebook and revel in conforming together.

        I revel in letting them conform outside of my horizon.

  17. frank ly

    They scare me

    "... there’s rather more comeback to giving spoof data to Facebook than giving it to the police or the NHS."

    That's right. The last thing you want is a late night visit from the Facebook 'user corrections unit'.

  18. JDX Gold badge

    What a load of boring rot

    No, not FB. All the "non conformists" who despite being unique have posted almost carbon copies of the same template "I don't confirm, I never use FB, it will fail". Ironic really.

    I bet you all have blogs where you complain about the narcissism of posting on Twitter and FB too.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: What a load of boring rot

      Phooey My JDX.

      some of us made a positive decision NOT to get involved with FB, Twitter or anything else like it.

      I have other things to do in my life besides constantly checking who has said what about someone else or what they had for breakfast or one of a gazillion inane things. Frankly, Id rather watch paint dry than use those forms of social media.

      To use an Americianism,

      Perhaps you might like to get out of your Mom's basement from time to time. There is a real world out there that existed long before FB and will exist long after FB is dead and buried.

      But if you like FB Mr JDX then great. Get on with it. I won't see you there in a million years. Each to their own. C'est la vie.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a load of boring rot

      It being an Orlowski piece, instapost was turned off, so as far as I could tell, I was the first and only poster.

      I posted -not as a wank about what an individual snowflake I am- but to protest the piece's underlying assumption that FB is essential to modern life and that everyone must use it. It ain't so. Not for me, anyway, and apparently I am not alone in this. In my opinion facebook offers nothing that email can't solve and comes with a large wad of downsides to boot.

      For the record, no blog or twitter either.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: What a load of boring rot

        the piece's underlying assumption that FB is essential to modern life and that everyone must use it

        What text evidence do you have to support this fascinating inference? It seems to me a rather imaginative reading of the article.

        Of course, the article isn't half as interesting1 as the comments. Between the self-deluding warriors of an uncontroversial and uninteresting non-participation on the one hand, and the smaller faction that believes instruments and institutions have no effects beyond their use by individuals on the other, it seems the Reg readership largely believes themselves insulated from society (but nonetheless find it necessary to waggle their supposed uniqueness in everyone's face). A beautiful bunch of uncritical, unreconstructed Enlightenment subjects here.

        At least Orlowski isn't so naive as to believe mass culture has no effect on the conditions of his existence. Society may be a lousy game, kids, but it's the only game in town. And you can't post here and be a hermit.

        1Particularly given its remarkable historical blindness about the social organization of European modernity and the Enlightenment. Orlowski even invokes the latter as a contrast to Facebook's gleeful panopticism, in a remarkable bit of double consciousness.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: What a load of boring rot

      Quote

      I bet you all have blogs where you complain about the narcissism of posting on Twitter and FB too.

      No we don't. So who's speaking a load of old rot now? Don't answer that or it will get censored.

  19. Ketlan
    Facepalm

    Nothing here either...

    "I bet you all have blogs where you complain about the narcissism of posting on Twitter and FB too."

    Nope. No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, forum or blog. In fact, I think I'm dead.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
      Joke

      Yep...

      ...I checked you out on Google+. You're definitely dead.

      PS

      Google+. If people don't stop putting spurious punctuation in names, e.g. Google+,Yahoo! etc. it's going to be hard to tell the difference between an apps list and a line of APL.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing here either... @Ketlan

      "Nope. No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, forum or blog."

      Or so you say. Stll, have to prove your Reg reader credibility by making a comment against social media you can't back up, eh? Must ... fit in ... with the crowd ... (Goes for all the others saying the same thing - just picked you to respond to.)

      1. Ketlan
        Unhappy

        Re: Nothing here either... @Ketlan

        Sorry, I can't respond. I told you, I'm dead!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nothing here either... @Ketlan

        "Or so you say. Stll, have to prove your Reg reader credibility by making a comment against social media you can't back up, eh?"

        How do you go about proving something isn't there, exactly? How about you prove they exist?

        The 'weak spot' in your list for some naysayers is probably LinkedIn...I should imagine that some of the naysayers do have a LinkedIn profile to use for getting work. Nearly got one myself for exactly that reason, but decided not to in the end. I suppose you'd call that hypocrisy; but there's a difference between releasing specific information for a specific purpose and just generally spaffing everything over the internet just because.

        I've always maintained that the best way of making sure that information doesn't come back to bite you is to do your best to make sure that it isn't there in the first place. We're still finding out the myriad ways that seemingly innocuous information can appear and fuck you right up, so it makes sense to me to try and limit the attack surface.

  20. Madeye
    Alien

    All your Face are belong to us

    The opinions outlined in the comments here are very interesting. The Vulture community has a much higher proportion of technoliterati than the general population, yet all who have spoken out are speaking out against Facebook. Are we not expected to love that technology, our metier, has wrought such social change? Although I might be hamstrung by the fourth dimension on this one, not a single person has commented that Facebook is a universally great thing.

    Were I not mired in apathy, I would be tempted to rewind and visit the comments section around the time of the birth of Facebook. I feel sure that at least one or two of the nay sayers today would have very different opinions about Facebook being the next great thing.

    So why is it we have all turned on Facebook? Is it because it hawks all that we hold private? I think not - that was always on the cards. I'd say it was because everything that set us apart as a group - from OMG and LMFAO to checking our message stack every 10 minutes - is now utterly mainstream thanks to Facebook. How is it that "online" is now the 9th most uttered word on radio*? Never mind that Facebook has eaten our privacy, it has commercialised our geek identity.

    * ok, I made that one up, but you get the picture

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All your Face are belong to us

      For the person in the right job and with a smidgeon of paranoia (OK, maybe more than a smidgeon), the implications of FB have always been obvious. It's personal data that some other bugger controls. Obvious enough to avoid it initially (or at least lie back and take a "let's see" attitude before committing). Subsequent information (user-abuse in privacy policy changes; the beacon thing; the stats on FB-generated divorces; other people being arrested because of stupid stuff they posted; the advertising creep etc. etc.) has done nothing but confirm the initial impressions.

      Bear in mind that a lot of the above has been in industry news, that is likely to be missed by the majority of the public, or if it did make the mainstream the implications are likely to be missed by people who just aren't used to thinking of data in that fashion.

      As to why everybody is turning on FB; the reasons are fourfold:

      1) Experience. Early naysayers were worried about data abuses that could happen. Now pretty well every way things can go wrong has happened to somebody and -in part due to FB and the way news travels now- people know about it. Stories that once were the domain of tech sites are now mainstream because so many people use FB and have a vested interest.

      2) Snowden. His documents have caused a much greater public awareness of just how much data is being haemorrhaged; and what the possible consequences can be.

      3) People are realising that facebook fuck-ups apply to them and not just "that bloke that clearly deserves it". So it's not just bank robbers boasting of their wads that can come a cropper...that photo of you huffing on a bong a decade ago can torpedo your chances of getting a job here and now. Ten years later. There are consequences.

      4) Finally, FB haven't helped themselves. The IPO in particular and the subsequent "features" introduced to try and monetise have made it very, very clear just who the product is in this relationship. Public perception of FB as shifted from it being "my thing" to it being a commodity with a price. That price isn't money, but it is a price nonetheless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All your Face are belong to us

        Apart from being in a 'certain industry' and also having a healthy dose of paranoia, there is one thing that made me spurn social media.

        I learned the hard way that the internet has a very good memory.

        Under a previous name I sent an email to an august body relating to the internet and stuck my beak in good and proper into their business.

        That email still sits in the archives. I wrote it for the very best of reasons, but upon reflection it probably didn't do a lot of good other than stir up a storm in a teacup.

        I still do the odd stupid thing for the best of reasons, but I try not to do it under my real name anymore, I have a wife you know. ([Do] you know what her name is?)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one?

    I find Facebook useful. I could live without it, I did for many years before it came along. But I have a diverse community of friends, in different parts of the world, and I like being able to peek into their lives and keep up with what they're doing. Whereas before you'd lose touch with people over time and distance, now I'll find I'm commenting on something written by someone I knew at university and haven't seen in the flesh for a decade or so. It's kind of a way of touching base: many of the people I have on there aren't close friends, but I think of it as a bit like the electronic equivalent of bumping in to them in the street now and then.

    And then of course it's great for distributing stuff to lots of people at once (pictures of weddings, parties, gigs, etc), or organising and event. Of course there are other ways of doing all those things, but Facebook provides a convenient single place to do them all.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      A message from your anti-Facebook association :

      BOOOO ! HISSSS !

      Thank you for your attention.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ...

        "A message from your anti-Facebook association :

        BOOOO ! HISSSS !

        Thank you for your attention."

        You're welcome. Consider it charity towards someone seeking the attention. Make a point in future - then you can have the satisfaction of knowing you earned it rather than got it out of pity :P

  22. 100113.1537

    What a good thought-provoking article.

    As someone who could reasonably claim to have been at the forefront of electronic communication (my first on-line presence was a CompuServe account) and can also claim that if not for this, I might not have got married (said account being the main way I kept contact with my future spouse from the other side of the world for over a year), I feel that personal communications are so well served by email that I never got into social media very much. I keep contact with my social group by individual communications as opposed to giving them all access to my day-to-day activities. Has this resulted in a loss of closeness with 'friends' I don't see very often? Not for me personally, but maybe for some people this is a big deal.

    However, I never really considered Andrew's point that the very open-ness of your on-line opinions leads to conformity any more than it would when talking to people on a face-to-face basis. I know that I tone down certain opinions when with friends who don't share those opinions so perhaps this is more to do with the fact that people seem to ignore this filter when posting on-line; the vitriol from all sides in comments sections is evidence of this. Into this space I suspect there are relatively few people who take it upon themselves to patrol and police their 'neighbourhoods' - it is just that they seem to be ubiquitous simply because the rest of us put up with them.

    Food for thought certainly.

    1. Ole Juul

      electronic communication

      I keep contact with my social group by individual communications as opposed to giving them all access to my day-to-day activities. Has this resulted in a loss of closeness with 'friends' I don't see very often? Not for me personally, but maybe for some people this is a big deal.

      The thing about Facebook that works for them is that it requires no ownership or knowledge of the internet, and because "everybody" is doing it, they are motivated to learn how to navigate the software. So yes, I understand why it's a big deal for some. They could achieve the same thing without joining somebody else's walled garden - they just don't know that.

      Closeness with friends and ability for long lost ones to find you can easily be done on an individual basis without Facebook. It is just that few people are willing to use the tools unless they are fashionable. In my opinion this is a serious social problem, and it is the one that Zuckerberg has addressed for them.

      As someone who could reasonably claim to have been at the forefront of electronic communication . . .

      I think that there are many here who fall into that category. In reading the comments, I'm surprised at how many of them don't seem to believe that the tools which I would assume are so obvious to them, are not applicable to the discussion about Facebook. In fact I have a feeling that they don't really understand what could, or could not, be good or bad about Facebook. They just have an opinion. Yes, I too think that the article was a good read.

  23. Jim 59

    Some day a behemoth will appear offering proper social networking:

    - proper confidentiality (a better word than privacy)

    - customer retains ownership

    - customer controls all data access.

    ie. what it should have been from the start.

    1. Suburban Inmate

      But where's the money in that?

      Admittedly, I'd happily pay a few bob for a non shit facebook. It's a background thing and good for keeping in touch, and if I have anything important to talk about I'll be using Zfone/ToR/meatspace etc.

      The thing that pissed myself and many others off is how they recently rejigged the options of what gets shown in the newsfeed to exclude pretty much anything that wasn't paid for, such as interest pages and friend's posts. Users who clocked this have to go to each and every page they actually want to see and make sure the convoluted options are set to show all their posts. They are milking the cow so hard its udders are nearly falling off.

      Anyway, I made a new account last week and messaged New Me links to all the pages I still wanted to see, suggested some of Old Me's friends, and made sure my ad blockers and redirect strippers are up to par. They're really not gonna make much money from New Me.

    2. Ole Juul

      Your list is fine, but we have all that already. However, it is not a "behemoth", nor should it be. The "customer retains ownership" stipulation is not compatible with "behemoth".

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got no life

    so I ain't on Facebook.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I got no life

      Not even some 'Second Life'?

      Coat, with a copy of 'country Life' in the pocket.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I got no life @Bernie

      "I got no life

      so I ain't on Facebook."

      But by amazing coincidence you're here!

  25. GotThumbs
    Paris Hilton

    Wonder how many are exiting this tired and old interface?

    For the record, I've never had a FaceBook account.

    I canceled/closed my Twitter account within a month of opening it.

    These "Social" based programs get old fast and is simply too much work IMO. I don't need them to keep in touch with the people I have known for years.

    Of course I'm not the average joe consumer either IMHO. I've built my own systems for decades and had my own NAS for years. Streaming my own music collection from home and by-pass all the Ads those "Free" services serve up.

    Anyone remember AOL Neighborhoods, AIM, and ICQ? There have always been "Social" networks, but its simply a reincarnation using todays Ad funding models.

    ~Best wishes making your own choice.

  26. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    I rather liked Saga Noren.

    Not someone you'd invite to your birthday party.

    But you'd definitely want her investigating your murder.

    Facebook should (rightly) be treated as the book-of-lies.

    Judging someone by their FB account.

    What f**king nappy thinks that's a good idea?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook? No! Or, at least... Not Yet!

    Somebody told me that they found my name there, so I suppose I must have joined. I suppose I just never had any enthusiasm for a second visit.

    This is hardly on account of "having a life." I belong to four forums, which I follow every day, and I am a major contributor to a couple of them. I am retired, don't watch TV, if I'm at home, I'm probably in front of the internet. Facebook fodder, one would have thought? Well... no.

    The trouble is that, although all those forums are a social life in themselves, and they lead to real, in the flesh interaction with human beings, all my friends from way back are ...on Facebook. They don't even email any longer. They expect that, if anyone wants the latest news, they'll look ...on Facebook.

    So, what to do? I'm still resisting, but increasingly fed up with having to look over my wife's shoulder to keep up with my friends. One day... I suppose I'll have to make that second visit.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Facebook? No! Or, at least... Not Yet!

      Somebody told me that they found my name there, so I suppose I must have joined.

      Is your name unique?

      There are dozens of "Michael Wojcik"s with a reasonably prominent Internet presence. (For the record, I am neither the moderately-famous dancer nor the Chicago politician, both of that name.) Perhaps your full name is Thad McNooneelsehaseverhadthisextremelyimplausiblesurname, but maybe your correspondent merely ran into your naamgenoot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is your name unique?

        No it isn't. There are a good few Thads about, and I'm hoping that is the explanation --- I know for sure that I have not been no-idea-what-I-did-there drunk for decades.

        But even yesterday, calling over 4,000 miles, to make sure that some friends hadn't been washed away, the message was that if I was on face book, we could talk.

        Oh, the horror....

  28. Vector

    But isn't this exactly what Orwell Predicted?

    It's been quite a while since I read 1984, but as I remember a part of the scary efficiency of the state was that they didn't have to worry about monitoring the populace because "good citizens" would do it for them.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: But isn't this exactly what Orwell Predicted?

      they didn't have to worry about monitoring the populace because "good citizens" would do it for them

      More importantly, citizens will monitor themselves.

      And it's much older than Orwell (though he does provide a nice, accessible vision of it at work). It's one of the central features of the modern episteme, with roots in the sixteenth century or so (for European-derived cultures). See my other post referencing Foucault; you can also extrapolate this from, say, Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, or from some aspects of Anthony Giddens' work, etc.

  29. Number6

    In one survey with an admittedly small sample size, 31 per cent of people admitted to entering false data into their social network account.

    I find it depressing that only 31% are savvy enough to obfuscate their data. I do have a standard internet birthday (so I can remember it if I need to repeat it), but it's not my real one. I'm similarly vague about location and I don't hand over my phone number (or use social networking apps) on my phone.

    1. Ole Juul

      I find it depressing that only 31% are savvy enough to obfuscate their data.

      I have little respect for Facebook, but if I'm going to agree to their TOS, then I'm not going to lie. That's a matter of self respect to me. Compromising one's principles for the sake of Factbook? Is it really that valuable? I sincerely hope that there's at least a couple of people in that other 69% who don't think so.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheep are shorn

    IMO, people who share private details on 'social' networks are privacy retarded, have demonstrated that they should not be trusted with /any/ private information, and are just negligent internet abusers.

    Privacy matters big time; it is about time this extrovert Crack fad to expose your ugly selves, ends; where is the fun and interest in knowing all the ugly and now no longer interesting stuff about people before you meet them? Boring much!

  31. Martin Budden Silver badge

    To many (but not all) commentards above:

    fb can be fun, and fb can be annoying. Do with it what you will, or don't. The choice is entirely yours. But PLEASE don't try to blame/credit fb with anything bad/good, because at the end of the day fb is only what you make it.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: To many (but not all) commentards above:

      at the end of the day fb is only what you make it

      Well that's a marvelously sophomoric, early-Enlightenment, hyper-individualist model of ethics. Hurrah for the supreme subject!

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Adam Inistrator

    fb has a file on everybody

    clever joining of data from places you wouldnt believe means they really do have a file per fleshy body and you even if you are not on fb. and fb is just one collator for the nsa and friends. info is power

  34. John 62

    Mr Orlowski's Facebook experience is obviously different from mine

    I have friends of all types.

    Anyway, for me Facebook's real value was when it became a good-enough, free, photo album with no upload limits. Sure, it compresses images into crap sometimes, but it was pretty easy to use and let you share photos of a fun time you had with your friends, without having to go and get them developed.

    However, I will concede that Facebook does not know me that well, since it chose a pretty poor selection of items for the movie it made of my life since I joined (though it was hilarious to see them).

    1. The Alpha Klutz

      Re: Mr Orlowski's Facebook experience is obviously different from mine

      They want you to think they don't know you but in fact the NSA and GCHQ do all the analytics using secret wartime algorithms while you get served up a bunch of unrelated garbage for every search term you can think of. If you could see how deep the rabbit hole really goes, you would stop using Facebook pretty quick. So of course they don't patch you into their backend. The tech that runs all their front end stuff is 15 years behind what they're already doing in secret.

  35. PAT MCCLUNG

    Clerk

    Facebook is a "short lived" phenomenon. People will soon learn that they cannot have an authentic "self" that is exposing all of it's facets to everyone one "friends". It will not take much longer. Human freedom cannot endure this type of "everybody knows" social controlling, manipulative surveillance. Humanity will not endure it. This is why we escaped the "village" in the Middle ages, and went to the cities to become, anonymously, "ourselves", to escape the inevitable "what will they think?". I feel for the poor people that have so-far ruined their lives, turning their identities over to Facebook. Recover, and fight on to privately discover yourselves.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Clerk

      Human freedom cannot endure this type of "everybody knows" social controlling, manipulative surveillance. Humanity will not endure it. This is why we escaped the "village" in the Middle ages, and went to the cities to become, anonymously, "ourselves", to escape the inevitable "what will they think?".

      Modernity freed us from surveillance? Man, everyone's a comic.

      Nice use of scare quotes, though.

  36. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    There's very little new here

    the social network turned us all into secret policemen

    No, it did not. It's just a small, recent contribution to a process that has been underway for all of the modern era, as Foucault and many others have documented extensively. Don't the kids read Discipline and Punish (Surveiller et punir) any more?

    The whole point of panopticism isn't surveillance by actual authorities; it's instilling a mentality of constant (or unpredictable) surveillance, so the subject is trained to police itself. And it is primarily motivated not by fear but by pleasure. Facebook was by no means the first institution to turn this into a game.

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