Caution: Facebook Is Not The Internet

I find Facebook fascinating in the same way that many people admire deadly snakes. You have to wary and careful in order to avoid being bitten. I have an account although I could hardly be accused of being a prolific user - I like to think that if I am cautious, I can maintain a presence here that enables me to know the entity from within without hopefully selling my digital soul.

After all, Facebook seems to be great at connecting with people who I already know. Sending a Friend Request to my new colleagues at my current place of employment is a way of strengthening collegial relationships, and allows me to get to know them better as people rather than just work mates.

Facebook is hugely popular with primary school kids here as well. From what I see and hear, I can make the following generalisations:

Aussie kids don't know (or maybe even care) that when they sign up for an account, they are:

grant (ing) us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).

not (to) use Facebook if you are under 13.

not (to) create more than one personal profile.

:from Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

I followed this link from Brian Lamb's delicious links, and the image of the deadly snake starts to come back into my mind again. The opening paragraph from Anil Dash sounds out a warning for those of us who have enjoyed and benefitted from the distributed web.

Facebook has moved from merely being a walled garden into openly attacking its users' ability and willingness to navigate the rest of the web. The evidence that this is true even for sites which embrace Facebook technologies is overwhelming, and the net result is that Facebook is gaslighting users into believing that visiting the web is dangerous or threatening.

He outlines a compelling argument that is clear by non-geek standards, and down in the comments is a response link from a Facebook engineer. Read that with the average Facebook user in mind and consider if that explanation makes you feel more comfortable about the place Facebook occupies in the internet ecosystem and even in the spectre of popular culture.

Personally, I think it is only a matter of time before Facebook creates its own browser that presents its version of the web to its captive users.

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