Recently I noticed and clicked the Facebook links that appear on IOPS blog posts, and on some chapter pages as well, for sharing content on Facebook or for just going to the IOPS Facebook page. I did likewise for a Twitter link, and a couple of others.
Call me a curmuddgeon, but it was very upsetting. To me, these links, all over the internet, are like suicide pacts with the devil. The idea of information sites providing free advertising for giant corporations, links that urge membership in them, is bad enough - but a revoltuionary organization doing so?
Since I understand that people do have real reason to use Facebook, and other such media tools, my proposed solution isn't to not link to these at all, much less to somehow structurally disallow it, but to do it critically and responsibly.
My proposal is that instead of a Facebook or other icon/link that takes a user straight there, our Facebook or other icon/links, appearing just as visibly as they do now, open a box of text which the user can/should read. At the bottom is also the more typical icon/link, which takes the reader to the corporate site.
In that box I propose we put text like what follows - this is for the Facebook one. A Twitter one, or Google one, etc., would vary appropriately. I also propose that we urge other media and progressive sites of all kinds to do this type of thing, as well.
The link to Facebook that you just clicked and which is typically present on all media and many organizational sites, takes users straight to Facebook, where if they are not already members they are entreated to join in order for them to proceed. The link is, thus, in part, advertising for Facebook - a gigantic profit-seeking corporation.
Serious media, much less progressive media, much less left political organizations, much less a revolutionary organization like IOPS, should not be uncritically promoting gigantic profit-seeking corporations of any sort, but this case is even worse.
- Facebook commercializes communications, storing extensive information on users and turning it into advertising revenues, not only furthering profit seeking, but horribly invading privacy.
- Facebook also provides extensive information to states and other authorities, making Facebook arguably the largest (or nearly the largest) spying agency in the world.
- To top it off, Facebook debases the concept of friend, promotes competition even in "friendships," and nuggetizes information flow, reducing proclivity to communicate at length and with substance - because it takes too long and won't appeal to all eyes - and even people's attention span for doing so.
On the other hand, because of its vast size, Facebook is undeniably useful for finding old friends and for staying in contact with actual friends and family who might not have ways to relate to one another in other deeper ways. Facebook is also useful, at least to a point, in trying to spread worthy information to wide audiences. These sensible reasons for using Facebook cause sites to uncritically place the link to Facebook - and cause us to allow sharing to Facebook - but we insist on doing this only critically, understanding the ills, putting them forefront, feeling no allegiance to or respect for much less appreciation for Facebook, remembering and emphasizing that Facebook's motives are profit seeking by turning the internet into a Facebook backyard, selling users and usere information to companies, and servicing state surveillance operations, as well.
To share to Facebook, or to see the IOPS page on Facebook, having read the above, by all means click the link below.
However, to try to counter the gigantic trend toward Facebook defining social engagement, you might also want to try alternatives for your social networking, such as the forthcoming ZSocial from ZCommunications, or the already existing ……(and we link other options, here)
I suppose some may be offended by this text - I know it is so completely contrary to what has become reflexive internet behavior, which is uncritical and even complementary linkage to these operations - and that at a minimum it will initially seem discordant, preachy, whatever, to almost everyone. Even for those who don't mind it, or who fully agree with it, some will feel it is too long, etc.
Please understand just how offended someone like me is by seeing a revolutionary organization uncritically propel its members toward using giant corporate sites that overwhelmingly pervert and misuse user information and behavior, even as some users can, nonetheless, get some good out of it. Think how you would feel if IOPS had links to porn sites, or banks. You click them and you are on a site to sign up, on grounds they have big audiences and some people make honest and good use of a few of the options, as but one example.
My very very strong feeling is that the inclusion of this type critical commentary as a path to our share links will make the choice to use these sites for good only that, rather than, also, a road to becoming confused about their impact on society or to ratifying their merit.
More, I think our doing this can perhaps become a model for others to implement as well, not only correcting mistaken notions about these operations - while not losing the benefits - but also serving to promote alternatives so that we can, in time, have our own social networks - certainly for serious political and social exchange, but perhaps even for the rest of what Facebook provides, as well.
In the interim state of IOPS it is hard to know exactly what to do about something like this. Whereas putting up direct links to these corporate operations is so ubiquitous that nobody would think it is a decision - to me, it is very much a decision, and a bad one, while to take the above more critical approach is also a decision, but I think a very good one.
Rather than just poll the consultative committee about this - and act on the emerging sentiment - which is what our current structure permits - I thought it would be good to air it out a bit here, first. So, any thoughts?