A private Facebook is a supplement, not a replacement

Brian Feldman in Intelligencer reports plains laid out my Mark Zuckerberg for a “social network that wasn’t aggressively tracking everything its users did”.


I agree with the basic tenet of Fieldman’s piece. A “private” Facebook doesn’t address the bad features Facebook already has.

For me the notion of a “private” Facebook is a distraction. It’s the same strategy employed by old media for decades. Faux outrage is routinely spewed by populist newspapers trying to distract us away from the real issues. They function like a pickpocket pulling our attention, getting us to look at this shiny thing over here, while they steal the Apple Watch from our wrist. But distractions are just that, a distraction. Sooner or later we’re going to realise, our watch is gone.

The question then becomes, do we care?

So many of us seem wilfully ignorant of the manipulations we are subject to. Perhaps we accept these manipulations because the “truth” is too painful to accept. We all like to believe we have agency. Accepting that we are being manipulated removes that agency. It’s easier to accept that a “private” Facebook will give us back what they took, what we wilfully gave them, than accept we have no power in this dynamic.

I don’t think a “private” Facebook will change anything. Ephemerality doesn’t remove the ethos at the core of Facebook, an ethos that believes because they own the platform they own what we share.

It is easier to accept a shiny promise of a private network than accept, Facebook owns us, and we are but serfs to Lord Zuckerberg’s want.


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