'Thrives on the income of ignorance'
Thrives & Thrives... Facebook & Experian in bed together too, wonderful!
* You Are the Product - No human enterprise, no new technology or utility or service, has ever been adopted so widely so quickly. The speed of uptake far exceeds that of the internet itself, let alone ancient technologies such as TV or cinema.
* Facebook ‘a business with an exceedingly low ratio of invention to success’.
* But that’s not what the man (Zuk) is really like. He was studying for a degree in computer science and – this is the part people tend to forget – psychology.
* The reason Thiel latched onto Facebook with such alacrity was that he saw in it for the first time a business that was Girardian to its core: built on people’s deep need to copy. ‘Facebook first spread by word of mouth, and it’s about word of mouth, so it’s doubly mimetic,’ Thiel said.
* ‘Social media proved to be more important than it looked, because it’s about our natures.’ We are keen to be seen as we want to be seen, and Facebook is the most popular tool humanity has ever had with which to do that.
* The fact is that fraudulent content, and stolen content, are rife on Facebook, and the company doesn’t really mind, because it isn’t in its interest to mind. Much of the video content on the site is stolen from the people who created it. 725 of Facebook’s top one thousand most viewed videos were stolen.
* This is another area where Facebook’s interests contradict society’s. We may collectively have an interest in sustaining creative and imaginative work in many different forms and on many platforms.
* Facebook doesn’t. It has two priorities, as Martínez explains in Chaos Monkeys: growth and monetisation. It simply doesn’t care where the content comes from. It is only now starting to care about the perception that much of the content is fraudulent, because if that perception were to become general, it might affect the amount of trust and therefore the amount of time people give to the site.
* A neutral observer might wonder if Facebook’s attitude to content creators is sustainable. Facebook needs content, obviously, because that’s what the site consists of: content that other people have created. It’s just that it isn’t too keen on anyone apart from Facebook making any money from that content. Over time, that attitude is profoundly destructive to the creative and media industries. Access to an audience – that unprecedented two billion people – is a wonderful thing, but Facebook isn’t in any hurry to help you make money from it. If the content providers all eventually go broke, well, that might not be too much of a problem. There are, for now, lots of willing providers: anyone on Facebook is in a sense working for Facebook, adding value to the company.
* In 2014, the New York Times did the arithmetic and found that humanity was spending 39,757 collective years on the site, every single day. ‘almost fifteen million years of free labour per year’. back when it had a mere 1.23 billion users.
* If I want to reach women between the ages of 25 and 30 in zip code 37206 who like country music and drink bourbon, Facebook can do that. Moreover, Facebook can often get friends of these women to post a ‘sponsored story’ on a targeted consumer’s news feed, so it doesn’t feel like an ad. As Zuckerberg said when he introduced Facebook Ads, ‘Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail...
* Facebook already had a huge amount of information about people and their social networks and their professed likes and dislikes. After waking up to the importance of monetisation, they added to their own data a huge new store of data about offline, real-world behaviour, acquired through partnerships with big companies such as Experian!
* These firms know all there is to know about your name and address, your income and level of education, your relationship status, plus everywhere you’ve ever paid for anything with a card. Facebook could now put your identity together with the unique device identifier on your phone.