Facebook bothers me.
It’s too big, too intrusive, and it makes spying on American citizens as easy as a mouse click for our criminal overlords. That said, I hook my blog into it and use it to share information regularly. It is an excellent mechanism through which to communicate with a large number of friends and acquaintances.
An article popped up on my radar recently about some of the problems with Facebook’s usage policies.
The CPJ reports:
The Chinese journalist Michael Anti had his Facebook account deleted in January. The reason Facebook gave was that Michael Anti isn’t his real, government-recorded, name–which is true. Instead, Anti is the name that he has written under for almost a decade, on his own personal blogs, and in his writing for the New York Times and other publications. It’s the name on his Harvard fellowship documents. It’s what his public knows him as. It’s what you would search for if you were looking for his writing, or aiming to get in touch.
Facebook’s “real name policy” will not accept such a pseudonym as the primary name on his account, and Anti was unwilling to change his account to reflect his birth name. That led to the removal, not only of his account, but his links with a thousand or so contacts he had made on the service since 2007.
Consider that Facebook has more than 500 million active users. In a normal market, I just don’t think we would see these kind of usage levels. Competition should keep things on a relatively even keel.
If someone created a site similar to Facebook, but allowed anonymous usage, should’t we expect it to garner more users?
While it is not unusual to see good products take a massive market share, this particular company’s back story is certainly interesting. Facebook could not have come to dominate the social media landscape without help from the major media players, which we all know are tightly controlled by the CIA.
Facebook itself is an intelligence agent’s goldmine. With it, one can track a person’s entire circle of friends, where they reside, what their habits are, what organizations they may be connected with, where they work, what kind of job they have, what their level of education is, what their political leanings are, and so on and so forth. – These are all things that previously took a tremendous amount of man hours of field intelligence to acquire. As we can see by the article I linked, Facebook’s usage policies are tailored in such a way as to make life easy for government intel weenies.
While certainly there aren’t going to be terrorist organizations advertising themselves on Facebook, as we see in the middle east, during periods of social unrest, the government will know exactly what is going on with everyone should a rebellion begin to foment.
Government is always interested in protecting itself, never its citizens.