Faceberk 2

Thu, 25 August 2011

As promised, my second Facebook rant.

Facebook is a new communication media, right? People are using it now as the "new" thing to use for short form communications (alongside twatter) as well as sharing photos and stuff. This all presumably is phase 4 of the drive to Keep Everyone Inside And Promote Lack Of Social Growth. So it's analogous to a cross between SMS messaging and instant messaging and carrying a photo album to someone's house.

It's also public, where anyone who works for Facebook Towers can access the information you used to create your account and where you post your updates from. This includes mobile phone records, IP addresses and your address and email address amongst other (optional) things.

This all links to the political rant a couple of posts back as well, since the incident that prompted me to blog was an interview being conducted on Radio 2 this lunchtime about the fact that some Worcestershire newspaper released the name of the chav who started organising the London "riots" on facebook. A 16 year old kid who used facebook to gather together like-minded people with a view to creating a ruckus.

Some left wing pussy was on the radio trying to tell me that releasing the lad's name was wrong, and that the lad deserved some compassion and privacy to deal with his punishment. The counter argument was that what if the chav had gone on facebook and started a page titled "Let's go murder some little old ladies"? The response was that the situation would be totally different!

Holy crap! I've heard some whoppers in my time, but that takes the biscuit! I wondered where this jelly brain WAS during the unrest. Did he sleep through it? During the riots businesses were torched. House of Reeves is GONE. Whole back catalogues of musical works are GONE in the Sony warehouse fire. People's HOUSES were set on fire WITH FAMILIES INSIDE, for fuck's sake, often with the occupants standing at the windows pleading with the rioters not to do it! And someone has the GALL to come on the radio and declare that these people have RIGHTS or that this situation is any less than incitement to kill? Someone set on fire during a riot is just as dead as they would be if they had been knifed by a chav wannabe gangsta!

One of the defences was that Facebook couldn't be held responsible for the way that this lad was using it, and that there was no harm in posting opinions on a web site. Whilst I agree that facebook itself shouldn't be held accountable, I strongly disagree with any lefty shite that states that people using it "don't understand what they're doing". It's a communications medium that can be reached by millions of people every hour. It's just like texting. It's just like skywriting. It is a conscious decision to post crap on it and ANY person making a post SHOULD be held accountable for the consequences. If any post of mine on facebook (or even this site) resulted in the sort of nonsense that happened the other week then I would stand in front of a camera and personally apologise for the shit that kicked off. I wouldn't hide behind legal crap and try to shirk the consequences of what I created. If I thought that my motivations were good then I would explain that, but would still be adult enough to admit that maybe I didn't think things through.

But then I'm 37. Not 16. Or is that really an excuse any more, when 16 year olds are racing so hard to become adults in a society that promotes it?

Facebook is one of the great evils for this drive to be older than one is. Everywhere I turn there are kids boasting about their sexual prowess and drinking skills and so on on facebook, and most of them are under the legal age for any of it. I was under the impression that facebook had a minimum age for members too, but there are young kids registered and logged into it posting stuff that they shouldn't be! I have to be proud of my youngest son for something though - he was allowed to create a facebook account at one point, and he now doesn't use it. He thinks it's useless and silly. He's clever. :-)

Facebook has a very strict code of conduct, but I fail to see where and how it is enforced. I asked the "administrators" to remove some pictures and comments about one of my kids on someone's facebook account that were insulting and defamatory. That was about 6 months ago and I still haven't heard anything back about it. Facebook has no interest in the well-being of its members or about any sort of cyberbullying or inappropriate content. All it cares about is getting as many people using it as possible. And if you believe the content of the film "The Social Network" then that's all the founders care about too. Oh, and money. They don't care about safety or integrity, just dollar signs and membership numbers.

Facebook has achieved the goal its genre dictates. It has become a social network. It is THE social network, in that society has embraced it as an essential part of life and as a tool to plan and share. It can share experiences, ideas and opinions and it can be used to plan events from birthday parties to revolutions. How does one fight against that? SHOULD one fight against it. Is it a good thing that it has helped in the war against oppression in some middle eastern countries? Is it a good thing that my kids can be called names without any censure or consequence?

I once declared that a bullying young snot was "on my hitlist" some time ago, after he joined a conversation putting my son down and insulting him to his friends. His response? "LOL". After saying that this had been pretty much the answer I would expect from someone like him, he then pleaded ignorant to doing anything wrong! No consequence and no clue that what he is doing is wrong. Is this a symptom of moral decay or is it another argument that typing on a screen is not considered to be as bad as saying something to someone's face?

It's getting more difficult to tell, in my opinion. Are we all going to be sat in front of iPads or the equivalent in 5 years slagging each other off, safe in the knowledge that no-one will ever be able to find us, all cosy and safe and opinionated in our living rooms?

Final note. There's an advert on at the moment that compares our attitudes when driving to our attitudes when walking. When safe in a car we curse and swear at bad drivers and push in front of other cars, overtaking unsafely and so on. That's cos we're safe in our little bubble. The internet is the same thing. It's a little bubble of anonymity that protects us from retribution and stops us having to listen to anyone contradict our opinions.

Social Networking is Dead. Long Live Antisocial Networking.


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