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back to article Facebook turns 10: Big Brother isn't Mark Zuckerberg. It's YOU

Facebook turns 10 this month, which means a bombardment of anniversary pieces lauding the social network. This blabbergasm will stress how Facebook “changed everything” and speculate on how “unimaginable" life might be without Facebook. But Mark Zuckerberg’s greatest achievement isn't financial or technical. Facebook has turned …

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Anonymous Coward

Stop it, Now!

"Facebook turns 10 this month, which means a bombardment of anniversary pieces lauding the social network. This blabbergasm will stress how Facebook “changed everything” and speculate on how “unimaginable" life might be without Facebook."

Look, cut the crap! I'm sick of hearing the word Fakebook (the home of the fake).

I've never used it. I have no need for it. I don't get sucked into fads. I never follow the crowd, they will only lead to sadness and despair, and the crowd have no clue what they are doing.

So you should immediately cut the "Fakebook changed the world" mantra, because I contradict your beliefs.

Fakebook is designed for the fad worthy, and the scummy pikey chavvy iphone toting clampets on the estate.

Hardly aspirational.

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Re: Stop it, Now!

I see you have no need for reading comprehension either.

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JDX
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Re: Stop it, Now!

>>I've never used it. I have no need for it. I don't get sucked into fads. I never follow the crowd

Other than the "I don't follow the crowd" crowd. Or the internet forum fad.

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Re: Stop it, Now!

"Fakebook is designed for the fad worthy, and the scummy pikey chavvy iphone toting clampets on the estate."

Yea, cause the Ivy League US Colleges (the initial subset of the population that were invited to join) are really just pikey chavs and not the top percentile of the US educational system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stop it, Now!

A tad bitchy, aren't we? Maybe you're one of the plebs that actually dedicates every waking hour to this brain-dead service that seems to have conned a great many people on this planet (like Apple) into believing that they need to air their dirty linen in public and expose every facet of their dull, boring lives to anyone who shows the slightest interest. So-called "social networking" leaves me totally stone cold and I wouldn't be seen dead indulging in such a puerile activity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stop it, Now!

Jeez, get over yourself!

It's a tool, it can be used for good or for being fecking mindless twat. Most people on it are fecking mindless twats but a huge number of people make an effort to understand it and use it as a useful tool to promote contacts. I've met so many great and inspiring UK photographers on FB, some of whom I'm planning to meet up with this year. I can keep track of my favourite metal bands, getting discounts for gigs sometimes or special offers on releases. I don't have time to trawl and track 57 different websites everyday, I turn everything off on FB and I get entities I am interested to report news to me once a day in one useful place.

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Yawn

Thats all.

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We just need to man up (and woman up)

"""In short, we’ve become our own policemen. Zuckerberg's great empowering hides that he’s helped usher in an age of conformity. One we’ve really created for ourselves. """

Maybe we just need to all grow a pair, and just say what we think. The illusion of unanimity would soon fall away, and with it the pressure to conform.

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Re: We just need to man up (and woman up)

Ah, the Reg forums - that great repository of insight into the human condition.

just say what we think. The illusion of unanimity would soon fall away, and with it the pressure to conform

Yes, there's a plausible theory of subjectivity. Pity all of history, sociology, and psychology (and these days a decent bit of neurobiology) suggest otherwise.

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Waffling Follows

Sorry, bit long winded but this article struck a bit of a nerve with me! I personally relate to the point on political beliefs. I made a post on facebook disapproving of certain tory cuts (e.g. to housing benefit in London). I got a torrent of abuse because I dared to express a partly left wing opinion while working (at the time) as an IT consultant in the insurance industry which somehow meant I was a hypocrite. It is really weird how facebook does seem to be enforcing conformity within social groupings.

For example, I have a group of "proper" left wing friends on FB who slavishly post every article from the Guardian comment section even when they don't particularly make much sense or conflict with statements they have made themselves. It seems if you identify yourself with a certain group or tribe you have to mindlessly believe everything that group believes. If you are more right wing, you don't seem to be able to "support our troops" and be in favour if immigration for example.

Even on trivial matters dissent is not encouraged. I identify myself mainly as an alternative rock music fan but I don't like Radiohead. I swear people have almost defriended me over statements like that!

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MMmm. Only those people who cared about their image and what their friends said before FB will care now. Because they haven't changed, and neither have their friends.

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Anonymous Coward

"In short, we’ve become our own policemen. Zuckerberg's great empowering hides that he’s helped usher in an age of conformity. One we’ve really created for ourselves."

Only if you are too weak or chosen to live in this fantasy world.

Fakebook is a mental illness!

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I think they are dreaming if they believe that there are only 7.9 million duplicate or fake accounts. Everyone I know on FB has at least two accounts besides their real name one. I have 2 myself and no real name one.

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I totally agree. My own wife created herself a Facebook profile to "see what it was all about", but she created it under a fake name with fake details.

There certainly are real-name profiles in that hive of scum and . . oops, wrong train of thought - there are real-name profile in Facebook, but I doubt that they are even a majority.

Not if you take into account the pet profiles, the fake name profiles, the multiple-account game profiles, and the business profiles. Heck, there may even be a profile or two for famous landmarks.

There are real people who post in there, but the only way you can be sure is if you already know the person in Real Life (tm).

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Say hello to my alt-persona.

Fully fledged in digital terms, and entirely separate from the real me.

Even the real me has firewalls between types of digital contact (email, social media, gaming, etc).

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Anonymous Coward

Facebook - A Class 'A' Drug

for a good number of people. (Other similar Social Media Drugs also exist)

To borrow a WW2 Saying

'Careless Facebook costs lives'

That should be enough to get it removed from the internet.

Someone created a bogus profile in my name. It took me more than 18 months to correct the damage it caused me. That is why it and all others like it should die a horrible lingering death.

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Sir

"Facebook "gamified" this voyeurism. Your friend count and timeline are a constant reminder of your score."

"The only winning move is not to play."

-Joshua

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Re: Sir

Have thumbs up, sir. All this gnashing of teeth, rending of garments is a bit more than FB deserves. If you want to play and be the product, so be it. If you don't want all those wonderful <sarc> cat vids and pics, and all the drama, don't play.

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't there a third vector at play here?

I like this article insofar that it indeed highlights some fallacies and highlights the age of consensus as behavioural model (a model which makes me glad people like Jack Nicholson exist, grin).

There is, however, a third vector at play (IMHO): this assumption that it is actually good to share and the unrelenting pressure to do so. We are absolutely BURIED under "share" options. Worse, it's even integrated into operating systems so you have to be very careful that you don't share by accident, and by that I mean publicly, not with the NSA..

I have, as yet, to discover an instance where sharing is indeed recommended. Twitter? No, thanks. Facebook? Nah. It may have to do with profession: by their very nature, the companies that make their income by creating an online "presence" like marketing and PR outfits may indeed seek to live online, but for instance lawyers, advisors and doctors are as absent as they should be. Anyone tweeting "RIP appendix LOL" should be struck off, but you thankfully need a brain to legally approach an anaesthetised body with anything sharper than a penknife (and my hat off to you all).

I've tried the Facebook thing - it doesn't work for me. First of all, I am aware of how fickle public life is (just be a named knowledgeable commentard here and see how many people seem to have a need to spout opinion based on nothing more than an at best passing acquaintance with the topic at hand and magnify that x100 to get an idea of the unspecialised version of online life), secondly, I take the Groucho Marx approach to groups (not interested in any club who accepts me as a member :) ), and thirdly, as I am well aware of gaming theory I didn't do the "friends" numbers thing. If it floats your boat, be my guest. Just don't bother ME with it, or worse, try to impress me with it.

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Conformity

Well I think we are all different.

Except for the person reading this obviously.

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Re: Conformity

You have reminded me of some of my favourite scenes in any movie..

<Brian>"You are all individuals"

<Crowd>"Yes, we're all individuals"

<Brian>"Now FUCK OFF!"

<Acolyte>"Err, how should we fuck off oh Lord?"

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Re: Conformity

<Brian>"You are all individuals"

<Crowd>"Yes, we're all individuals"

<Single man in Crowd>"Er, I'm not"

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Fortunately it is still possible to be non conformist by being non facebookist. The established media does tend to assume that "everyone" uses social media and can't survive without. Fortunately it is still possible to exist and interact in the flesh, in the real world.

We may not have "quite" got to big brother watching, but certainly we are at "rather large cousin" level.

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Fortunately it is still possible to be non conformist by being non facebookist

"You may decline to conform by following the rules I have prescribed."

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Not me matey. Life is thoroughly imaginable without facebook.

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Meh

meh

I read one day that two UK daytime TV personalites had retired after 25 years.

I had never seen them!

It will be the same for facebook.

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Welcome to your age of conformity Facebookers.

I'm the one with the unimaginable life laughing at you from the sidelines.

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JDX
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It's good you accept your place is on the sidelines of society. I mean really, when a computer nerd LIKES a social tool that's the time the owner should be worried.

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I doubt Facebook makes people conform, it's just a glorified email/IM chimera. It more likely highlights the fact that everyone already conforms in some way or other - even the crowd mocking from the sidelines!

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I concur with you, JonP. It is not Facebook that makes people conform.

It's the conformists that flock to Facebook and revel in conforming together.

I revel in letting them conform outside of my horizon.

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They scare me

"... there’s rather more comeback to giving spoof data to Facebook than giving it to the police or the NHS."

That's right. The last thing you want is a late night visit from the Facebook 'user corrections unit'.

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What a load of boring rot

No, not FB. All the "non conformists" who despite being unique have posted almost carbon copies of the same template "I don't confirm, I never use FB, it will fail". Ironic really.

I bet you all have blogs where you complain about the narcissism of posting on Twitter and FB too.

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Re: What a load of boring rot

Phooey My JDX.

some of us made a positive decision NOT to get involved with FB, Twitter or anything else like it.

I have other things to do in my life besides constantly checking who has said what about someone else or what they had for breakfast or one of a gazillion inane things. Frankly, Id rather watch paint dry than use those forms of social media.

To use an Americianism,

Perhaps you might like to get out of your Mom's basement from time to time. There is a real world out there that existed long before FB and will exist long after FB is dead and buried.

But if you like FB Mr JDX then great. Get on with it. I won't see you there in a million years. Each to their own. C'est la vie.

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Re: What a load of boring rot

It being an Orlowski piece, instapost was turned off, so as far as I could tell, I was the first and only poster.

I posted -not as a wank about what an individual snowflake I am- but to protest the piece's underlying assumption that FB is essential to modern life and that everyone must use it. It ain't so. Not for me, anyway, and apparently I am not alone in this. In my opinion facebook offers nothing that email can't solve and comes with a large wad of downsides to boot.

For the record, no blog or twitter either.

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Re: What a load of boring rot

Quote

I bet you all have blogs where you complain about the narcissism of posting on Twitter and FB too.

No we don't. So who's speaking a load of old rot now? Don't answer that or it will get censored.

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Re: What a load of boring rot

the piece's underlying assumption that FB is essential to modern life and that everyone must use it

What text evidence do you have to support this fascinating inference? It seems to me a rather imaginative reading of the article.

Of course, the article isn't half as interesting1 as the comments. Between the self-deluding warriors of an uncontroversial and uninteresting non-participation on the one hand, and the smaller faction that believes instruments and institutions have no effects beyond their use by individuals on the other, it seems the Reg readership largely believes themselves insulated from society (but nonetheless find it necessary to waggle their supposed uniqueness in everyone's face). A beautiful bunch of uncritical, unreconstructed Enlightenment subjects here.

At least Orlowski isn't so naive as to believe mass culture has no effect on the conditions of his existence. Society may be a lousy game, kids, but it's the only game in town. And you can't post here and be a hermit.

1Particularly given its remarkable historical blindness about the social organization of European modernity and the Enlightenment. Orlowski even invokes the latter as a contrast to Facebook's gleeful panopticism, in a remarkable bit of double consciousness.

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Facepalm

Nothing here either...

"I bet you all have blogs where you complain about the narcissism of posting on Twitter and FB too."

Nope. No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, forum or blog. In fact, I think I'm dead.

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Joke

Yep...

...I checked you out on Google+. You're definitely dead.

PS

Google+. If people don't stop putting spurious punctuation in names, e.g. Google+,Yahoo! etc. it's going to be hard to tell the difference between an apps list and a line of APL.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nothing here either... @Ketlan

"Nope. No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, forum or blog."

Or so you say. Stll, have to prove your Reg reader credibility by making a comment against social media you can't back up, eh? Must ... fit in ... with the crowd ... (Goes for all the others saying the same thing - just picked you to respond to.)

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Unhappy

Re: Nothing here either... @Ketlan

Sorry, I can't respond. I told you, I'm dead!

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Re: Nothing here either... @Ketlan

"Or so you say. Stll, have to prove your Reg reader credibility by making a comment against social media you can't back up, eh?"

How do you go about proving something isn't there, exactly? How about you prove they exist?

The 'weak spot' in your list for some naysayers is probably LinkedIn...I should imagine that some of the naysayers do have a LinkedIn profile to use for getting work. Nearly got one myself for exactly that reason, but decided not to in the end. I suppose you'd call that hypocrisy; but there's a difference between releasing specific information for a specific purpose and just generally spaffing everything over the internet just because.

I've always maintained that the best way of making sure that information doesn't come back to bite you is to do your best to make sure that it isn't there in the first place. We're still finding out the myriad ways that seemingly innocuous information can appear and fuck you right up, so it makes sense to me to try and limit the attack surface.

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Alien

All your Face are belong to us

The opinions outlined in the comments here are very interesting. The Vulture community has a much higher proportion of technoliterati than the general population, yet all who have spoken out are speaking out against Facebook. Are we not expected to love that technology, our metier, has wrought such social change? Although I might be hamstrung by the fourth dimension on this one, not a single person has commented that Facebook is a universally great thing.

Were I not mired in apathy, I would be tempted to rewind and visit the comments section around the time of the birth of Facebook. I feel sure that at least one or two of the nay sayers today would have very different opinions about Facebook being the next great thing.

So why is it we have all turned on Facebook? Is it because it hawks all that we hold private? I think not - that was always on the cards. I'd say it was because everything that set us apart as a group - from OMG and LMFAO to checking our message stack every 10 minutes - is now utterly mainstream thanks to Facebook. How is it that "online" is now the 9th most uttered word on radio*? Never mind that Facebook has eaten our privacy, it has commercialised our geek identity.

* ok, I made that one up, but you get the picture

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Re: All your Face are belong to us

For the person in the right job and with a smidgeon of paranoia (OK, maybe more than a smidgeon), the implications of FB have always been obvious. It's personal data that some other bugger controls. Obvious enough to avoid it initially (or at least lie back and take a "let's see" attitude before committing). Subsequent information (user-abuse in privacy policy changes; the beacon thing; the stats on FB-generated divorces; other people being arrested because of stupid stuff they posted; the advertising creep etc. etc.) has done nothing but confirm the initial impressions.

Bear in mind that a lot of the above has been in industry news, that is likely to be missed by the majority of the public, or if it did make the mainstream the implications are likely to be missed by people who just aren't used to thinking of data in that fashion.

As to why everybody is turning on FB; the reasons are fourfold:

1) Experience. Early naysayers were worried about data abuses that could happen. Now pretty well every way things can go wrong has happened to somebody and -in part due to FB and the way news travels now- people know about it. Stories that once were the domain of tech sites are now mainstream because so many people use FB and have a vested interest.

2) Snowden. His documents have caused a much greater public awareness of just how much data is being haemorrhaged; and what the possible consequences can be.

3) People are realising that facebook fuck-ups apply to them and not just "that bloke that clearly deserves it". So it's not just bank robbers boasting of their wads that can come a cropper...that photo of you huffing on a bong a decade ago can torpedo your chances of getting a job here and now. Ten years later. There are consequences.

4) Finally, FB haven't helped themselves. The IPO in particular and the subsequent "features" introduced to try and monetise have made it very, very clear just who the product is in this relationship. Public perception of FB as shifted from it being "my thing" to it being a commodity with a price. That price isn't money, but it is a price nonetheless.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All your Face are belong to us

Apart from being in a 'certain industry' and also having a healthy dose of paranoia, there is one thing that made me spurn social media.

I learned the hard way that the internet has a very good memory.

Under a previous name I sent an email to an august body relating to the internet and stuck my beak in good and proper into their business.

That email still sits in the archives. I wrote it for the very best of reasons, but upon reflection it probably didn't do a lot of good other than stir up a storm in a teacup.

I still do the odd stupid thing for the best of reasons, but I try not to do it under my real name anymore, I have a wife you know. ([Do] you know what her name is?)

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Anonymous Coward

Am I the only one?

I find Facebook useful. I could live without it, I did for many years before it came along. But I have a diverse community of friends, in different parts of the world, and I like being able to peek into their lives and keep up with what they're doing. Whereas before you'd lose touch with people over time and distance, now I'll find I'm commenting on something written by someone I knew at university and haven't seen in the flesh for a decade or so. It's kind of a way of touching base: many of the people I have on there aren't close friends, but I think of it as a bit like the electronic equivalent of bumping in to them in the street now and then.

And then of course it's great for distributing stuff to lots of people at once (pictures of weddings, parties, gigs, etc), or organising and event. Of course there are other ways of doing all those things, but Facebook provides a convenient single place to do them all.

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Trollface

A message from your anti-Facebook association :

BOOOO ! HISSSS !

Thank you for your attention.

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Anonymous Coward

...

"A message from your anti-Facebook association :

BOOOO ! HISSSS !

Thank you for your attention."

You're welcome. Consider it charity towards someone seeking the attention. Make a point in future - then you can have the satisfaction of knowing you earned it rather than got it out of pity :P

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What a good thought-provoking article.

As someone who could reasonably claim to have been at the forefront of electronic communication (my first on-line presence was a CompuServe account) and can also claim that if not for this, I might not have got married (said account being the main way I kept contact with my future spouse from the other side of the world for over a year), I feel that personal communications are so well served by email that I never got into social media very much. I keep contact with my social group by individual communications as opposed to giving them all access to my day-to-day activities. Has this resulted in a loss of closeness with 'friends' I don't see very often? Not for me personally, but maybe for some people this is a big deal.

However, I never really considered Andrew's point that the very open-ness of your on-line opinions leads to conformity any more than it would when talking to people on a face-to-face basis. I know that I tone down certain opinions when with friends who don't share those opinions so perhaps this is more to do with the fact that people seem to ignore this filter when posting on-line; the vitriol from all sides in comments sections is evidence of this. Into this space I suspect there are relatively few people who take it upon themselves to patrol and police their 'neighbourhoods' - it is just that they seem to be ubiquitous simply because the rest of us put up with them.

Food for thought certainly.

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electronic communication

I keep contact with my social group by individual communications as opposed to giving them all access to my day-to-day activities. Has this resulted in a loss of closeness with 'friends' I don't see very often? Not for me personally, but maybe for some people this is a big deal.

The thing about Facebook that works for them is that it requires no ownership or knowledge of the internet, and because "everybody" is doing it, they are motivated to learn how to navigate the software. So yes, I understand why it's a big deal for some. They could achieve the same thing without joining somebody else's walled garden - they just don't know that.

Closeness with friends and ability for long lost ones to find you can easily be done on an individual basis without Facebook. It is just that few people are willing to use the tools unless they are fashionable. In my opinion this is a serious social problem, and it is the one that Zuckerberg has addressed for them.

As someone who could reasonably claim to have been at the forefront of electronic communication . . .

I think that there are many here who fall into that category. In reading the comments, I'm surprised at how many of them don't seem to believe that the tools which I would assume are so obvious to them, are not applicable to the discussion about Facebook. In fact I have a feeling that they don't really understand what could, or could not, be good or bad about Facebook. They just have an opinion. Yes, I too think that the article was a good read.

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