Adbusters

The #ZUCKUP Dilemma

The battle for the soul of global activism.

Today, without warning and without comment, Facebook deleted the pages of fifty predominantly left and student-run organizations in the United Kingdom. Having forged an uneasy relationship with Facebook, activists, culture jammers and revolutionaries around the world now face a tremendous dilemma.

On the one hand, it is true that Facebook's social networking platform has served revolutionary organizers well in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. The speed by which a call to protest can snowball into bodies on the streets intent on toppling a regime is awe inspiring and for the foreseeable future, Facebook will continue to play an important role in organizing protests and insurrections. And yet, Facebook is, in its essence, a capitalist business venture whose raison d'être is the commercialization of human relations. It is terrifying, and ultimately self-defeating that a commercially driven enterprise has insinuated itself into the soul of global activism.

On a deeper level, however, beyond all self-recriminations and angry tweets against Facebook's latest #zuckup the question remains: How will we, culture jammers, escape this dilemma? What are activists and revolutionaries to do in a world where a for-profit company has a near monopoly on social networking? Would thousands of us committing Facebook suicide wake Zuckerberg up? Could we jam Facebook into submission? Or must we develop our own non-commercial platform better suited to insurrection? What is the solution to this dilemma? How do we break the Gordian knot?

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88 comments on the article “The #ZUCKUP Dilemma”

Displaying 71 - 80 of 88

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Anonymous

Adbusters fans are great, but this is for the staff:
Look back to your "Do You Facebook?" link. You'll notice that Facebook was financed by the CIA. Regimes were toppled in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere because that's what the CIA wants. The CIA does not want the British regime toppled.
What to do? Social network with people who will listen: your neighbors. Organize.
-Michael

Anonymous

Adbusters fans are great, but this is for the staff:
Look back to your "Do You Facebook?" link. You'll notice that Facebook was financed by the CIA. Regimes were toppled in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere because that's what the CIA wants. The CIA does not want the British regime toppled.
What to do? Social network with people who will listen: your neighbors. Organize.
-Michael

bwpdx

Excellent piece. Facebook has indeed "insinuated itself into the soul of global activism" thanks to a media hungry for ways to explain social change in terms of U.S. Internet companies.

Today, we find that two companies control or capture vital pieces of the human social enterprise: Google, the largest advertising company in the world, and Facebook, the master of our social connections, are poised for the takeover–

–of nothing less than your mind, that is.

What we have here is truly a problem of Gordian complexity, as you point out.

I believe that the problem is not that one single company has power over our social connections, but that we are addicted to a debased form of social networking--that is, digital or Internet social networking. This mediated form of communication lacks the power of face-to-face interaction, which is the basis for all grassroots movements that actually have impact. By overstating the value of Facebook as a tool for activism, we empower it, and lend ourselves an excuse for laziness and inaction.

bwpdx

Excellent piece. Facebook has indeed "insinuated itself into the soul of global activism" thanks to a media hungry for ways to explain social change in terms of U.S. Internet companies.

Today, we find that two companies control or capture vital pieces of the human social enterprise: Google, the largest advertising company in the world, and Facebook, the master of our social connections, are poised for the takeover–

–of nothing less than your mind, that is.

What we have here is truly a problem of Gordian complexity, as you point out.

I believe that the problem is not that one single company has power over our social connections, but that we are addicted to a debased form of social networking--that is, digital or Internet social networking. This mediated form of communication lacks the power of face-to-face interaction, which is the basis for all grassroots movements that actually have impact. By overstating the value of Facebook as a tool for activism, we empower it, and lend ourselves an excuse for laziness and inaction.

Anonymous

There are lots of open source social networking platforms already we don't have to invent them. What we need to do is pick those instead of facebook to use and maybe to figure out a way to benefit from that diversity instead of suffer from it. Facebook is so big because it is so big, everyone uses it so it is useful. If we networked smaller systems so they would work together then they could have some of that utility.

I do agree with Le Tigre's 2001 "Get Off The Internet, We'll Meet You In The Street."

I often wonder if Egypt shutting down the Internet contributed to the revolution there mostly because people stopped wasting time with computers and went out into the street.

And if we must use computers use Ubuntu, use FOSS software. Don't use it ignorantly. Stop being so lazy about it. Open Source is OFTEN better software and it isn't harder to use if people make the choice to switch.

Anonymous

There are lots of open source social networking platforms already we don't have to invent them. What we need to do is pick those instead of facebook to use and maybe to figure out a way to benefit from that diversity instead of suffer from it. Facebook is so big because it is so big, everyone uses it so it is useful. If we networked smaller systems so they would work together then they could have some of that utility.

I do agree with Le Tigre's 2001 "Get Off The Internet, We'll Meet You In The Street."

I often wonder if Egypt shutting down the Internet contributed to the revolution there mostly because people stopped wasting time with computers and went out into the street.

And if we must use computers use Ubuntu, use FOSS software. Don't use it ignorantly. Stop being so lazy about it. Open Source is OFTEN better software and it isn't harder to use if people make the choice to switch.

Anonymous

What other site is used to organize people to protest and stand up like Facebook? Are their any as big or near as big?

Anonymous

What other site is used to organize people to protest and stand up like Facebook? Are their any as big or near as big?

Stanhopea26

I am split on this issue. I can see the upside of quitting facebook. But it is a place for writers and intellectuals to get together. Maybe I will commit a facebook suicide as part of Carnivalezque rebellion.

Stanhopea26

I am split on this issue. I can see the upside of quitting facebook. But it is a place for writers and intellectuals to get together. Maybe I will commit a facebook suicide as part of Carnivalezque rebellion.

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