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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/2/13

Goliath Wins Big - Facebook spikes activist ad

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Guillaume Paumier

I respect entrepreneurs who build something from nothing, particularly the vast class of entrepreneurs in the United States who build small businesses and smaller medium sized firms.  They are the backbone of any employment growth we have with very little help from the government(s).  It's all Wall Street and very little Main Street.  (Image: Creative Commons)

It is natural and probably correct most of the time to impute great skills and intelligence to entrepreneurs who start out with nothing and build huge companies.  The accomplishments of Gates and Jobs are works of genius, undeniably (regardless of what you think of the brand).  But occasionally, someone makes it big who also happens to be a moron.

For whatever reason, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has some group supporting the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.  When CREDO ran their ad with Zuckerberg's image (creative commons) in the ad, it was pulled for lack of proper permissions. (See Think Progress)

This is where the "moron" part comes in.

Unfortunately, Zuckerberg has the legal right to expand his free speech by the volume of his wealth.  If he wants to promote Keystone XL and help kill off humans on the planet, that's his right.

But when he stoops to using the vast forum of Facebook to censor a feisty activist group with a clever ad, that becomes an issue of enterprise and free speech.  Facebook is presented as a public forum, even though the company can deny this through ownership rights.  The public doesn't own the company, ergo Facebook gets to make the rules.

But why would Facebook be so petty.  Who would have seen the CREDO  ad?  Even if it had gone viral, it would ultimately have worked in Facebook's interest by showing that they could take it as well as dish it out, that they were bigger than their founder's political agenda.

What a bonehead maneuver.   Zuckerberg and his minions look petty and a little creepy.  It's a big mistake to deny the ad because of permissions when the image is clearly Creative Commons.  It shows a level of desperation for control that is revealing.

I've been using the internet before it was called the internet.  I even remember the Culler-Fried Online and EDUNET from the 1980's.    I've seen them come and go. Zuckerberg obviously thinks he'll be around forever as evidenced by Facebooks $1.5 billion data center  in Iowa.  For what?  Facebook is the Container Store of the internet.  It's a whole lot of space that doesn't yield much in content.  So they're spending billions for a container for the front line container with content that people rarely look at.

I'm posting this short piece on the Agonist Facebook page.  We'll see if it gets dinged.  Update later.

In the meantime, imagine an alternative to a Facebook dominated internet.  For that matter, imagine an alternative (Vimeo maybe) to, which has become virtually unusable due to popups and intrusive video ads.

Better yet, just use your imagination and write something for The Agonist.  It would be much appreciated!


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