Facebook And The Destruction Of Innocence In Computing

4426332410_c910f700dcThe computer history blog ASCII lays out the meaning of Facebook in the grand scheme of things:

Facebook is the third of what is probably a quartet (or quintet) of the destruction of the innocence of computing. First was viruses, second was malware, third is facebook. I suspect fourth will be related to control of networking itself, and fifth will be licensing of high level computer ability. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Facebook is a living computer nightmare. Just as viruses took the advantages of sharing information on floppies and modems and revealed a devastating undercarriage to the whole process, making every computer transaction suspect… and just as spyware/malware took advantage of beautiful advances in computer strength and horsepower to turn your beloved machine of expression into a gatling gun of misery and assholery… Facebook now stands as taking over a decade and a half of the dream of the World Wide Web and turning it into a miserable IT cube farm of pseudo human interaction, a bastardized form of e-mail, of mailing lists, of photo albums, of friendship. While I can’t really imply that it was going to be any other way, I can not sit by and act like this whole turn of events hasn’t resulted in an epidemic of ruin that will have consequences far-reaching from anything related to archiving.

Each era of computing has had companies that rose above the others, whose stratospheric rise in income and success and mindshare and whatever else marketing fucktards want to call it turned heads. A start-up goes from an eyebrow-raiser to a non-proper noun to a verb. A million asshole salespeople and technological wannabes and pundits and sniffing elites make the word longer, as in “like facebook”. Something is like facebook, does something like facebook, wants to be like facebook, is like facebook but in some way different that somehow will magically propel it in even farther, without realizing that under contemporary situations, facebook is as high up as you want to go.

Microsoft did awful fucking things. I mean, all the time. Really awful things. So did IBM, way back when. Compaq? Assholery. Sony? Doing ten awful fucking things this morning before breakfast. Of course awful things are on the agenda and the lifeblood of any firm so big that it can affect law, affect standards, make millionaires just sucking under its folding metal chair for breadcrumbs. Facebook is just doing it to People.

The old saw is that people don’t understand that Facebook doesn’t consider the users their customers – they consider the advertisers their customers. Make no mistake, this is true… but it implies that Facebook takes some sort of benign “let’s keep humming along and use this big herd of moos to our advantage”. But it doesn’t. Facebook actively and constantly changes up the game, makes things more intrusive, couldn’t give less of a shit about your identity, your worth, your culture, your knowledge, your humanity, or even the cohesive maintenance of what makes you you. Facebook couldn’t care less about you than if it was born in your lower intestine and ripped out of you in the middle of the night.

But the fact that anyone would put anything of any unique nature on there, that matters to them, is beyond insanity – it’s identity suicide. It’s like you are intentionally driving down the road of life, ripping pages of your journal and photo albums, and tossing them out the window. Good luck finding anything again. Good luck knowing in six months, a year, something will even be findable. Try and communicate with anyone using their designed-by-a-second-trimester-fetus “message” system with any of the features from the last 30 years. Go back and try and negotiate it for search and topic control and usefulness. No. Not happening. Everything on Facebook is Now. Nothing, and I mean nothing on Facebook is Then. Or even last month.

So asking me about the archiving-ness or containering or long-term prospect of Facebook for anything, the answer is: none. None. Not a whit or a jot or a tiddle. It is like an ever-burning fire of our memories, gleefully growing as we toss endless amounts of information and self and knowledge into it, only to have it added to columns of advertiser-related facts we do not see and do not control and do not understand.

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  • mizzle

    What a whiny rant. I think your take on FB as being some evil entity is laughable. FB is just a way for people to share their personalities in a general public forum. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. It’s that simple.

  • mizzle

    What a whiny rant. I think your take on FB as being some evil entity is laughable. FB is just a way for people to share their personalities in a general public forum. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. It’s that simple.

    • O. Spengler

      No, what you describe is the bait. What the article aptly describes is the reality behind it.

      • Nirvanasteve

        He makes the point that Facebook profits most from advertisers, but he doesn’t make the site’s ramifications on its users very clear, and does come off as a bit “whiny”. My own opinion on the matter is thus: Facebook is designed to feed people’s core needs of acceptance, and the sad fact is that for most of the boys and girls who use it, it fulfills this need. Children of the modern generation spend increasingly more time isolated with technology (just like the rest of us), but this is how they learn to connect with others: through a profit-driven company’s interface over the internet. Now, the reason that this happened is because we let it. In fact, we even sought it and asked for it. These websites are popular for a reason: they provide us with our inmost desires. Why do you think porn sites make up the majority of internet traffic? Because we, to our own detriment, willingly go on the internet to have the illusion of the things we crave. Our bodies and the chemical processes in our brains don’t know the difference between the appearance of sex or friendship (FB) and the real thing. We manipulate ourselves, and so we opened ourselves be manipulated. My point (also a bit of a paraphrase of what Hadrian was saying up there): Facebook isn’t the problem. The big problem is that people wanted to be used and now they’re paying for it.  

        • Nirvanasteve

          …and I just read the article about how Social Networking sites are now more sought in search engines than porn. Well, that’s the final nail in the coffin of the human experience. This means the majority of us now go online with rational, eager, and willing minds to get something that can’t be had from it: relationships. At least browsing to jack-off didn’t have any of those unrealistic expectations. No wonder we don’t care about global warming or the collapse of a livable global environment. We live online.  

  • O. Spengler

    No, what you describe is the bait. What the article aptly describes is the reality behind it.

  • Anonymous

    Facebook is evil; it breaks the trust it implies

  • MoralDrift

    Facebook is evil; it breaks the trust it implies

  • Hadrian999

    i don’t feel sorry for people who put personal information on fb, it can be a useful tool but like all tools it can hurt you if you act like a retard while using it.

  • Hadrian999

    i don’t feel sorry for people who put personal information on fb, it can be a useful tool but like all tools it can hurt you if you act like a retard while using it.

    • jasonpaulhayes

      I checked out facebook but its really shitty and I only followed some people I can follow on twitter so I use that instead. I learned from myspace to not say much … I chatted about a novel I had read with a forum host occasionally that ended up doing bad things and ppl sent me messages about it like I actually knew the guy or something. “Guilty by Association” type of thing … he faked a Terrorist plot (or something to that effect) to achieve “Death by Cop”. I tried to talk him down from his high horse when I could gather he was something of a radical, but I wasn’t able to and I feel bad that I couldn’t help him. I don’t want to ever go through something like that again and I learned you can’t help the helpless and you shouldn’t even talk to them … unless you’re a professional.

      Considering that experience, I fully understand why they monitor what (at least some people) are saying and doing on facebook / other social media ^ case in point, it didn’t take a professional to see the man in question needed help and perhaps to have been apprehended. I hope he found the peace in Death he never found in Life and at least he cant hurt anyone now … from what I read in the News he didn’t anyhow. In reality, I do feel hurt by what he did sometimes.

  • Nirvanasteve

    He makes the point that Facebook profits most from advertisers, but he doesn’t make the site’s ramifications on its users very clear, and does come off as a bit “whiny”. My own opinion on the matter is thus: Facebook is designed to feed people’s core needs of acceptance, and the sad fact is that for most of the boys and girls who use it, it fulfills this need. Children of the modern generation spend increasingly more time isolated with technology (just like the rest of us), but this is how they learn to connect with others: through a profit-driven company’s interface over the internet. Now, the reason that this happened is because we let it. In fact, we even sought it and asked for it. These websites are popular for a reason: they provide us with our inmost desires. Why do you think porn sites make up the majority of internet traffic? Because we, to our own detriment, willingly go on the internet to have the illusion of the things we crave. Our bodies and the chemical processes in our brains don’t know the difference between the appearance of sex or friendship (FB) and the real thing. We manipulate ourselves, and so we opened ourselves be manipulated. My point (also a bit of a paraphrase of what Hadrian was saying up there): Facebook isn’t the problem. The big problem is that people wanted to be used and now they’re paying for it.  

  • Nirvanasteve

    …and I just read the article about how Social Networking sites are now more sought in search engines than porn. Well, that’s the final nail in the coffin of the human experience. This means the majority of us now go online with rational, eager, and willing minds to get something that can’t be had from it: relationships. At least browsing to jack-off didn’t have any of those unrealistic expectations. No wonder we don’t care about global warming or the collapse of a livable global environment. We live online.  

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    I checked out facebook but its really shitty and I only followed some people I can follow on twitter so I use that instead. I learned from myspace to not say much … a Dude I chatted with occasionally ended up doing bad things and ppl sent me messages about it. “Guilty by Association” type of thing … that Dude faked a Terrorist plot to achieve “Death by Cop”, I tried to talk him down from his high horse when I found out he was something of a radical but I wasn’t able to help and I feel bad that I couldn’t help him. I don’t want to ever go through something like that again, you cant help the helpless and you should talk to them … unless you’re a professional.

  • Nervous

    You have deactivated your Facebook account. You can reactivate your account at any time by logging into Facebook using your old login email and password. You will be able to use the site like you used to.

  • Nervous

    You have deactivated your Facebook account. You can reactivate your account at any time by logging into Facebook using your old login email and password. You will be able to use the site like you used to.

  • Anon

    facebook is the symptom not the problem, society is going downhill facebook is the preferred method of expression

  • Anon

    facebook is the symptom not the problem, society is going downhill facebook is the preferred method of expression

  • Auto78541061

    Thank you for this article. Too many people don’t realize the evils of Facebook.

  • Auto78541061

    Thank you for this article. Too many people don’t realize the evils of Facebook.

  • Rain

    I deleted my FB a few days ago. Although there were some people I enjoyed reading posts from, I was aware that being on FB altered my web surfing experience in some kind of undefinable way that was no longer feeling good, nor enriching my psyche. I bookmarked all of my favorite sites (this is one!) before I left. I haven’t been tempted to log in…..I’m relieved somehow. :)

    • Nervous

      um must logg back in

  • Rain

    I deleted my FB a few days ago. Although there were some people I enjoyed reading posts from, I was aware that being on FB altered my web surfing experience in some kind of undefinable way that was no longer feeling good, nor enriching my psyche. I bookmarked all of my favorite sites (this is one!) before I left. I haven’t been tempted to log in…..I’m relieved somehow. :)

  • Nervous

    um must logg back in

  • Nunya

    First off I agree with this rant, but it would be nice if you supplied some evidence to your claims, so it’s more of an article than angry childish finger pointing.

  • Nunya

    First off I agree with this rant, but it would be nice if you supplied some evidence to your claims, so it’s more of an article than angry childish finger pointing.

  • Me

    ironic that you can share this article on facebook then, isn’t it.

  • Me

    ironic that you can share this article on facebook then, isn’t it.

  • Dotus

    “Everything on Facebook is Now. Nothing, and I mean nothing on Facebook is Then. Or even last month.”
    That’s just hilarious. You probably haven’t used Facebook in 4 years. You have access to pretty much your entire history on Facebook including the history of public interaction between any 2 of your friends. Plus, you can download everything that’s up there in a zip file.
    What in the heck is “bastardized from of email”?? I’m sorry man but you are just making fun of yourself with that one. It’s like complaining about video email being a bastardized form of the postal service.
    I agree that Facebook has grossly deplorable privacy issues, but Apple and Sony have it even worse. Yahoo has the biggest wealth of personal data in the world, and their features are more difficult to control. Anyways, when it comes to privacy no one worries me more than Google.

    On a completely different note: Bill Maher’s a racist bigot whose wishy washy “liberalism” makes him worse than a tea partier. He gives atheists a bad name.

  • Dotus

    “Everything on Facebook is Now. Nothing, and I mean nothing on Facebook is Then. Or even last month.”
    That’s just hilarious. You probably haven’t used Facebook in 4 years. You have access to pretty much your entire history on Facebook including the history of public interaction between any 2 of your friends. Plus, you can download everything that’s up there in a zip file.
    What in the heck is “bastardized from of email”?? I’m sorry man but you are just making fun of yourself with that one. It’s like complaining about video email being a bastardized form of the postal service.
    I agree that Facebook has grossly deplorable privacy issues, but Apple and Sony have it even worse. Yahoo has the biggest wealth of personal data in the world, and their features are more difficult to control. Anyways, when it comes to privacy no one worries me more than Google.

    On a completely different note: Bill Maher’s a racist bigot whose wishy washy “liberalism” makes him worse than a tea partier. He gives atheists a bad name.

  • Jalyn

    I’m not sure that Facebook is necessarily as evil as everyone seems to imply. Let’s save the serious judgment for things like http://www.pointsincase.com/columns/casey-freeman/facebook-of-sex - obviously just a joke. But the web is completely open – you don’t wanna use Facebook, don’t!

  • Jalyn

    I’m not sure that Facebook is necessarily as evil as everyone seems to imply. Let’s save the serious judgment for things like http://www.pointsincase.com/columns/casey-freeman/facebook-of-sex - obviously just a joke. But the web is completely open – you don’t wanna use Facebook, don’t!