Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why I Hate Mark Zuckerberg

People used to hate "The Phone Company" even though they used telephones every day. Now people hate Facebook even though they use it every day.

Rather than list every reason that I hate Facebook, let me concentrate on just one: the concept of "identity".

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is fond of repeating the phrase, "You have one identity". Obviously, Mark Zuckerberg approaches human psychology from the viewpoint of marketing.

Everyone has multiple identities--everyone has multiple personalities. When you speak with your best friend, you exhibit an entirely different personality than when you speak with your parents. When you speak to your lover, you exhibit an entirely different personality than when you speak with your boss.

Mark Zuckerberg wants to maximize his profits. In the pursuit of this goal, he is trying to use the power of Facebook to twist us into something we are not. Branding every human on the planet with a unique, unalterable ID tag might be a marketer's wet dream, but it goes against the nature of being a human. If Mark Zuckerberg thinks his ratty little "Facebook" construct can remake humanity according to his own desires, he is biting on a particularly hard chunk of granite.

Mark Zuckerberg's tactics are insidious. When I first signed up for a Facebook account, I dutifully provided them with my real name assuming I'd have an opportunity to choose a "handle" or at least abbreviate my last name before activating my account. There was no such opportunity. And adding insult to injury, I learned that I had to submit an email request to Facebook staff if I wanted to change the name that was displayed to the public.

Don't get me started on how Mark Zuckerberg allows games such as "Farmville" to access your private information and forward it to advertisers and tracking agencies. Even if you've blocked the Farmville application, if you have a friend who plays Farmville, Facebook allows your private data to be sucked up and redistributed.

Facebook: Use, but verify.

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