inessential by Brent Simmons

Facebook fright

Dave Winer: Facebook is scaring me.

Me too. The thing about sharing-just-by-reading makes me sick.

Of all our freedoms, I value intellectual freedoms the most: the freedom to read whatever the hell I want, for whatever reason, without having to tell anyone else what I’m reading. (Or the freedom to tell everyone who’ll listen — but only if I want to.)

I’m suddenly curious to read a history of the East German Stasi. My theory about it is that people found it fun to report on other people. And I bet that at least some people found it thrilling that they were the ones being watched. (Those being watched probably watched other people in some cases. It’s a social graph.)

It satisfied part of the same thing that makes Facebook fun for people. And so I think of Facebook as a descendant — automated, corporate, shinier, fizzier, with no agenda but the pure collection of information on you, me, and everybody else.

Despite having no explicit political agenda, that agenda is still a totalitarian agenda, because it wants to know everything.