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CNN Columnist: Why I'm Quitting Facebook

Facebook "actively misrepresents us to our friends... "

10:56 pm on Feb 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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CNN columnist and technology author Douglas Rushkoff wrote a thoughtful article on CNN [cnn.com] listing the reasons why he can no longer participate on Facebook. I don't mean to put words into his mouth, but I summarized what I think he wrote, followed by some quotes from the article. I encourage you however to consider reading the article, it's a very thoughtful piece.

One quibble I have is that it seems the major part of his decision to quite Facebook is that it is leveraging personal and social interactions but the author himself was not using it for social reasons but for business reasons, to promote his books. So while it can be interpreted as a pot/kettle/black situation, he did step away from it because he felt hit would be hypocritical not to.

1. He feels Facebook is a dehumanizing technology that creates an illusion of social interaction

2. Facebook exploits our interactions, our feelings, our beliefs for financial gain. On this one, I can see how there is a creepy aspect to Facebook.

3. Facebook is not a benevolent technology like for example Wikipedia (helps organize information), a cell phone (helps us interact with the world), or a car, technologies that accomplish their function and no more. The author posits that Facebook is a technology that cynically encourages the illusion of community in order to take the data and sell it.

I have always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.

Facebook is just such a technology. It does things on our behalf when we're not even there. It actively misrepresents us to our friends...

Facebook... 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.