Zucked – And How!

Check out this new book.

Facebook is turning out to be a horror story.

Go to Amazon here and read the author’s prologue in the “Look Inside.” Please read this if you use Facebook. It’s chilling.

…democracy has been undermined because of design choices and business decisions by Internet platforms that deny responsibility for the consequences of their actions. How the culture of these companies causes employees to be indifferent to the negative side effects of their success. At this writing, there is nothing to prevent more of the same.

It’s giving me second thoughts about using Instagram. Rick Gordon pointed this out to me yesterday:

You may be shocked to find out that once you post on these sites (Facebook, Instagram), that although you still ‘own’ the photograph, you grant the social media sites a license to use your photograph any way they see fit for free AND you grant them the right to let others use your picture as well.

Sheesh! I had no idea. Instagrammers, photographers, check this out: www.shltr.net/zucked

From Tom Bissel’s review in the 1/29/19 edition of the NY Times:

…McNamee saves his most conspicuous outrage for Facebook’s amoral leadership at the hands of not just Zuckerberg but also his chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, whom McNamee recommended Zuck hire before she could take a job at The Washington Post. McNamee describes their grip on the company as “the most centralized decision-making structure I have ever encountered in a large company.” Their power dyad is possible only because Facebook’s “core platform,” as McNamee puts it, is relatively simple: It “consists of a product and a monetization scheme.” Non-tech companies with comparable global reach (Coca-Cola, Exxon) must deal with complex real-world infrastructure issues as well as the needs of a highly diverse work force. Large corporations also typically create interrelated eddies of economic activity, whereas Facebook’s business model is founded upon sucking the economic activity out of otherwise productive workers. Most troubling of all, a company whose product is used by one-third of the planet has only 30,000 employees. In every imaginable sense, Facebook is a Borg-like drain on the world’s economy. It doesn’t make you better and likely makes you worse. Unlike Exxon, it can’t even get you to Albuquerque.…

…McNamee’s book is … a robust and helpful itemization of the ways Facebook could be brought to heel. McNamee clearly believes the company can be made into something more benign, and perhaps even socially beneficial. That may or may not be true, but the damage it has already done is not precisely containable. Considering the high likelihood that Russian activity on Facebook may have tipped the 2016 election to Donald Trump, the damage is already of generational measure.

But here’s the bizarre quirk of the Facebook dystopia, whose sheer perversity would have likely pleased Orwell: It’s all Big and no Brother. Our time and lives are the company’s only currency. Without our continued attention, Facebook quite literally has nothing, and its empire could be brought down with a feather. Now, blow.


About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

10 Responses to Zucked – And How!

  1. These are diitimes to just enjoy the social interactions of friends old and new, news to enlighten and learn from and even that recipe. It’s a tough choice and almost embarrassing to say that but I do enjoy that I’ve been able to connect with friends from decades ago, find interesting topics etc.. What to do? I gave up on proprietary photos years ago, now I ost them in a slightly different format than the ones I keep for my own purposes.

  2. Um, I’m hesitant to leave a comment, you won’t like it…

    …it would sound something like ” I–t-o-l-d–y-o-u–s-o “

  3. “Considering the high likelihood that Russian activity on Facebook may have tipped the 2016 election to Donald Trump”…

    I thought sHitlary won the popular vote? Well, after screwing Bernie out of the nomination that is.

    Those clever Russians! Made sHitlary WIN popular vote, only to lose the electoral! Too smart!

  4. This page has a more nuanced consideration of the copyright issues:

    However, it’s Australian, though it does refer to US parallels.

    But then, there’s this WP article (A reminder that your Instagram photos aren’t really yours: Someone else can sell them for $90,000):

  5. Interesting- I never did get involved with Facebook but I’m an avid Instagramer. Which since Facebooks ownership Instagram has marched closer to the things that make Facebook creepy.I have enjoyed the social interaction I’ve gotten on Instagram with people from all over the place. Even creating pen pal (online) friendships with several interesting people I most likely would have never met without the platform. On the other side of the coin I know the existence of Facebook is creating a place where people can surround themselves in a toxic bubble of fake news where they only read news that they agree with. Creating a world online where they feel comfortable teaching the computer to only send them things that support their own flawed dogma. I never even considered the financial ramifications of an enormous company employing so few and how that effects the global economy coupled with the time drain of people living their lives on social media instead of participating in the life around them. I don’t know but I know we probably better do something.

  6. It’s worse than you describe.
    I am not allowed contribute a comment to my local newspaper – The Maui News – because all comments MUST be approved by Facebook. My membership in Facebook was terminated and Facebook refuses to provide any reason by this action.
    The Maui News is owned by the Ogden Newspaper chain in West Virginia, and it requires that all comments go through Facebook.
    I never really participated in Facebook, I joined so that I could read my daughter’s page, just keep up with family news.
    But now because of Facebook’s censorship power, I cannot comment in my local newspaper!

  7. Sharkey,

    You did, but Instagram has changed since I started. It was a great idea/platform for photographers, but Zuckerberg and company are rotting it out from the inside.

  8. Mark Zuckerberg admits in a New Yorker profile that he mocked early Facebook users for trusting him with their personal information. A youthful indiscretion, the Facebook founder says he’s much more mature now, at the ripe age of 26.

    “They trust me — dumb fucks,” says Zuckerberg in one of the instant messages, first published by former Valleywag Nicholas Carlson at Silicon Alley Insider, and now confirmed by Zuckerberg himself in Jose Antonio Vargas’s New Yorker piece.

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