When I started Facebook, I built it around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. When you share more, the world becomes more open and connected.
Except the Middle East.
Look, it’s great that everyone thinks I’m responsible for a bunch of has-been despots having to hop a redeye to Caracas. But if whatshisname in Corporate Communications sends around another link about the Facebook Revolution, I’ll plotz. Ten years ago, Filipinos got sick of Erap Estrada’s same-old-same-old and revolted. Was it because of the smart mobs and their cellphones? No, those guys would’ve run Estrada out of Manila if they’d had to organize by standing in the street and yelling. Which they did.
Likewise, the gang in Cairo did just fine when Hosni Mubarak, born in the hand-crank telephone days, cut off their Internet so fast the NSA is still trying to hire him as a consultant. People knew what to do: Show up in Tahrir Square and throw rocks at the cops. You don’t need Facebook to figure it out. Meanwhile in Libya, it’s turning out exactly the opposite. I hope no one was enough of a dumb fuck to think that if they changed their Group setting to Secret, it would keep them from getting shot. (On the other hand, I keep hoping Gaddafi is dumb enough to turn on Share My Location.)
I don’t mind when people say Facebook is the most awesome thing ever and I’m a genius, because it’s true. But the same schmucks who blab about how Facebook equals freedom turn right around and whine that America is going to hell because the government is corrupt and the masses have been brainwashed by Fox News. And where are those moron masses? They’re all on Facebook, right now, sending me Mafia Wars requests. I can only connect people. I can’t make them smarter.
Photo by Jonathan Rashad on Flickr