April 21st, 2018
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I think a very inconvenient and ugly truth is slowly dawning on Facebook and society in general: connecting people at mass is bad. Facebook may go down in history as the next Big Tobacco or Big Fast Food that touted new innovation as a mass utopian relief, only to be later debunked as charlatan science
Zuckerberg has always touted Facebook’s core mission as “connecting people throughout the world.” The mission is so fervent you get socially deranged executives like Boz who boast about “connecting people at all cost… even if someone gets killed or bullied” [paraphrased here]
Technologies change throughout the ages, but human societies in general don’t. Like it or not, part of what makes a society work is that the people you interact with have some similarity with you culturally and that interactions have costs – in the form of reputation.
If you lie everyday, you’ll be known as the liar. If you are prone to anger attacks, people don’t want to be near you. If you set a fire in your village, you get condemned or thrown in jail. The threat of social stigmatization helps regulate bad behaviors.
Facebook completely strips away all of that. It forces human beings to interact in an unnatural and inhumane way, which is that almost anyone in the world is allowed to attack your conscience and upset you. Your immediate circle is suppose to be small and protective, whereas Facebook opens you up to attack on all sides, putting you at the whim of whatever the public is feeling. You’re assaulted with ideas and emotions you cannot possibly process fast enough as a human being.
It’s situations like these where a fair amount of liberal arts training can help engineers like Zuckerberg understand that human beings are not statistical models. Your data set may suggest that the more “connections” people make, the more satisfied they feel. Just like mice who find out that pressing the lever and getting an injection of chemical feels very very good. It completely ignores what it means fundamentally to form a coherent society.