Since this could be the last blog post for the foreseeable future, I thought it might be a place to drop those smaller stories about Facebook that pop up now and again, stories which on their own are not quite deep enough for a full blog post, but might be interesting to readers presented as a kind of odds and ends thing.
First up: when on Facebook, why not lie? This Forbes article certainly makes the case that you can avoid data mining, info-jacking and other privacy issues by basically telling completely made up details about yourself. In the case of one man, software developer Kevin Ludlow, he basically tries to overwhelm Facebook with an avalanche of mostly invented information. Using the life events feature on Timeline, he has:
“explored a dozen different religions, had countless injuries and broken bones, suffered twice through cancer, been married, divorced, fathered children all around the world, and[…] even fought for numerous foreign militaries….”
And he claims he is getting far fewer ads targeted his way. But, as others point out, there are problems here: he may be fooling the bots, but aren’t human observers (such as future employers) going to reach unwanted conclusions about his mental health?
Another Facebook issue is a growing perception that the site has misogynist leanings, or at least doesn’t discourage them. Recently, a campaign was begun to remove a “12 Year Old Slut Meme” from Facebook (photo NSFW due to language). While not overtly advocating violence against “12 year old sluts”, this page nonetheless walks a dangerous line and can be seen as encouraging harassment of young girls at the very least. An article on Huffington Post states: “The page, which posts photographs of girls and women so that others can comment on their sluttiness, has more than 200,000 likes. Based on the comments, the photos appear to be in use without the consent or even knowledge of the girls and women featured.” So far, Facebook has not responded to the criticism that this page violates their cyberbullying rules. It seems they can assign it the tag of [Humor] or [Controversial Humor] and everyone will be fine.
As the HuffPo writer points out, there’s a good possibility Facebook has a blind spot about misogyny since the website’s own origins were (as The Social Network screenplay writer Aaron Sorkin himself points out) “born during a night of incredibly misogyny… comparing women to farm animals, and then to each other, based on their looks and then publicly ranking them.”
Okay, we’re almost at our word count limit, so I’ll leave it there, and hope we’re able to bring you more of these roundups in the future. In the meantime, please talk to everyone you can about SOLOS and donate or encourage others to donate (or both!) so we can resume our fascinating explorations at the intersection of youth, families, ethics and digital culture.