7 Aug 2012, 5:10pm


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  • Facebook Becomes Evil

    Just when an Ermine thinks it’s safe to poke an inquisitive snout out into the open after the disconcerting Ladbrokes double vision along comes another corporation that believes actually delivering something to you in return for your hard-earned cash is all too much trouble.

    Hello fresh-faced Mark Zuckerberg, take a bow, your organ spake thusly to it’s victims future shaftees prospective customers

    Real money gaming is a popular and well-regulated activity in the UK and we are allowing a partner to offer their games to adult users on the Facebook platform in a safe and controlled manner.

    Fantastic. That’s all right then. Fortunately the Ermine has got one of those EU translation babelfish in its virtual mind, and a swift spin of the ‘translate this for me please’ dial brought up this

    Yup, That’s what we really need in this septic isle at the moment. More ways to separate the punters from their money. Crikey, even as Labour’s Harriet Harman and David Blunkett admit they made a cod’s of the gambling reform in 2005 that facilitated the rash of  betting machines.

    What exactly is the point of Facebook nowadays?

    I’ve been trying to work out what the hell Facebook is for these days. It used to be straightforward, you could see what your mates were up to and share photos of inebriated indiscretions. Oh and make the clock in the office go round faster 😉 Then bloody Farmville showed up and all manner of associated spurious garbage, which meant I was bombarded with crap until I found a way to ice these requests. Did make me wonder what some folks were paid for doing all day 😉

    Now you get businesses inciting you to like them on facebook, and all round facebook appears in too many places where it shouldn’t. Like all those blasted strings of ‘social media buttons’. One or two or three might be okay. This is over the top

    Daily Fail social media come-hithers

    Even The Economist wants you to like them on Facebook. And Pinterest, FFS. Have they no self-respect?

    I kid you not. The Economist hasn’t got enough friends on Facebook, poor dears.

    I run using AdBlock Plus so it was news to me that there were ads on Facebook so I had to stop that to research whether Friendzy was real – I thought people were having me on at first. But it’s all too real.

    Facebook used to be useful as social media. It’s becoming a stream of advertising evil – and for me it’s getting to the point where Facebook jumps the shark. Apparently that would mean I self-identify as a psychopath – it has to be admitted the Daily Mail article is more entertaining 😉

    Zuckerberg – “Damn, I usually get my PA to deal with these things”

    Anyway, I guess I’ve found out what the point of Facebook is. To make the Facebook corporation richer, and its original purpose as a virtual noticeboard just doesn’t do that very well. Even if it does project its human face as the gangly and affable down-dressed Zuckerberg who can’t drive an ATM, there is an evil heart beating within. Banned from offering gambling to its US customers, it will insert its money funnel into the Great British Public, bringing Real Money Gaming to a Screen Near You right away. Looking at the ad it will also share with your pals that you are dumb enough to play fixed odds betting.

    FWIW I don’t think they should ban it. Just make it a regulatory requirement that there is a running tally on the website, to the rough effect of

    Friendz Take in the last 24h: 10,998,567

    Punters Take in the last 24h: 00,056,078

    and each time you bet, it posts to your news feed

    HAHAHAHA – JOE LOSER Lost £500 on Friendz Just now!!!

    If you’re too dumb to get it after seeing that, you probably deserve the right royal shafting you’re about to take.

    What do you mean, it become evil? Facebook is always evil! πŸ™‚

    I got rather depressed reading the Daily Mail’s article concerning the suspiciousness of not having Facebook account then I realised that it is Daily Mail, thus do not need to be depressed after all! But the sad fact is that it is most likely will happen once the Facebook members get older and becoming even more inner part of the society.

    I often get the question, “Are you on Facebook?” from my colleagues. And my negative answer always seems to surprise them as if it is impossible for 26 years old not to have Facebook. *sighs*



    Well, there you go. I don’t have a Facebook account myself (being well old) but my daughter and her friends do. Encouragingly, though, they all figured out ages ago how to make it work for them without giving any quarter to the global corporate Facebook grip. The clever ruses they have used to trick the image recognition software, and their other commerce-avoiding tricks, are brilliant (I can appreciate them even if I don’t fully understand them). But these are young people with a healthy suspicion of the motives of large corporations, who are not impressed by ads and pay cash for their stuff. God knows what happens to less savvy folk…

    I don’t have a facebook account as its completely pointless for reasons of ancestry – I literally share my name with 10 000 Chinamen – of which the bulk come from Malaya where Dad was born so this wouldn’t be an odd thing TBH.

    Today these chaps are mostly equally divided between homes in MY and SG, but many stay in the UK for University for some years and a large number also work in ICT.

    A fair few of them look not unlike me (but the bulk are fatter these days – they do like eating in Malaysia but since turning 40 I have decided to watch my weight).

    Even so, the confusion this causes is immense and although often amusing not without potential cross cultural embarrasment and reputational risks (especially given the debauched life I led during the 90s and 00s) – so I make it clear to actual friends that it is way better to try and contact me via the sites linked to good old Blighty that I frequent (its not even that I try and hide my tracks these days as I’m a bit more grown up since the start of my 30s and now 40s..)


    Facebook has always been evil. There was no reason for constructing it other than to feed a money-making marketing machine. There are plenty of internet tools for doing what Facebook does without providing fodder.

    I admit to having an account there for purposes of viewing other accounts, but it is absolutely rigidly locked down and does not use my real name (take that!).

    You’re betraying your age a bit with this article, but if Facebook goes commercial any more they will be getting their just deserts soon enough.

    There are only so many times you can take a friend liking Amazon and Starbucks before you realise that all this commercial infiltration of your personal life just isn’t very cool.

    Facebook is very good for organising group activities, but one day someone will build something better and hopefully they will be a bit less OTT on the commercial side of things.

    Well, your post finally spurred me to deactivate the Facebook account. I’d opened it to see photos from my high school reunion. Thereafter, I rarely used it. I confess that I just don’t get the small-form social media Zeitgeist (Twitter, FB, etc., as opposed to blogs). Once they went IPO, the evil was inescapable. Thanks for spurring me to action!

    IRL ermine can get away with looking at least 10 years younger than what his real age is (I thought he was way younger) and that tune was still on radio airplay even when I grew up..

    there are perfectly good electronic devices to help organise social activities, your friend need only share their name, voice and 10 numbers, they are called telephones πŸ˜‰ OK you pay a usage-based charge but calls are way cheap nowadays and those who are completely inarticulate can use texts…

    in reality (aside from the paranoia some folk have) you need to be doing something *particularly* unpleasant (on the level of as selling late year primary school children “lucky bags” of hard drugs, or using the telecoms network to plan other serious/violent crime) before even the “feds” start monitoring your comms, and its not that easy for the corporates to do this, even gutter press newspapers land up in trouble when they do…

    also forums for specialist interest groups such as electronics, making or listening to loud music, growing things, keeping pets stll exist and are much friendlier and usually less corporate social networks.

    A lot of my younger friends claim to be eluding facebooks corporate side and to *some* extent they are, but its a bit like finding a medium level dealers stash dropped in the gutter because cops are sniffing around the rave, and thinking they have months full of freebies.

    eventually the big boys find out who has “borrowed” their resources, and want, and *get* their payback somehow.

    during the rave heydays this actually happened to some young hedonistic friends of mine, thankfully the end results weren’t as unpleasant as they could have been, but it was a large amount for someone to lose, they got stalked as far as their family home addresses and polite but very large build chaps from socially deprived areas of the UK kept visiting for “friendly chats” with their mums and dads other older more vulnerable relatives until they got nearly all their money back (and these suburban families were sufficiently intimidated not to talk to the “feds”).

    How they achieved this I did not delve *too* deeply into (as the local “feds” mistakenly thought I was once doing similar myself!) but it a good example of the tenacity and intelligence of those involved in an unregulated free market

    Ok there are a few more “feds” watching over the gambling industry but they aren’t too far off from the illegal drugs market – OK even if the dealers take it on the chin (many would for smaller amounts or if /when they get busted and sent to jail), the kids will find that the dealers have shut up shop due to the losses and won’t or can’t sell them any goodies any more which isn’t pleasant when they have got a habit.

    (drugs are bad, m’kay…)

    @all you know how it is, when people highlight one of those things everybody knew but you hadn’t – well, I think most of you jumped to the evilness of facebook a lot faster than me. It took them trying to fleece my fellow citzens to warm me up to it. TBH I found it a useful way to keep up with some friends but it is seriously getting to the shark-jumping point. I didn’t see the ads by using ad block plus, but they seem to be injecting the commercial spam into the very structure of the program now and I’m not savvy enough to see how to can that. I may be following Maus and I’ll try to remember to swtich the lights out on the way out πŸ˜‰

    @Rob whaddya mean show my age – that track was on the radio when I was doing my A levels πŸ˜‰

    @Alex I’m stuck betwen a rock and a hard place on the facebook/alternatives. I’ve only got a skanky PAYG mobile, and I really hate the SMS user interface, plus my phone is turned off most of the time as I still use the landline for my calls. I use my computer for social media and communicating with people, and only when I’m at home (well, was also when at work but that’s been overtaken by events).

    Fewer and fewer people receive emails and act on them in any timely way now, as the have smartphones etc. I could switch to SMS, as you say there doesn’t seem to be too much spam. However, switching to SMS would drive others barmy as there seems to be an assumption anyone with a mobile has it on and is reachable all waking hours. And I really want to avoid that – I don’t want to be always on. So this whole comms has got more complicated post-work than before, and th increasing evilness of FB may push me towards your suggestion. Particularly as I can use my computer to write them. I can’t be doing with the SMS T9 interface, and I don’t want to buy a smartphone and eat the data costs.

    As for people listening in, well, I’m not currently thinking of subverting the system but I’m sure I could think of ways to keep it under the radar. As it is, have at it guys πŸ˜‰ BTW have you read Damien Greens book the Fix? The overall thesis is that there is an awful lot about modern life, including drugs of various types, that is deliberately addictive for people to make money. It’s quite a ood read, it is what sensitised me for the Ladbroke’s rant. He had an interesting take on addiction and availability, observing a lot of Vietnam vets who were hooked on heroin in Vietnam came off without medication due to the much lower availability Stateside at the time. I don’t know enough to know how plausible his takes are on that – he takes issue with the AA once an alcoholic always an alcoholic from his own experience. The book’s a good read, and I’ll never look at a can of Coke in the same way again. \or a macDonald’s, though I was stil working for the BBC in London when I had the last one so junk food is an addiction I’m probably safe from πŸ˜‰

    I recently had cause to venture onto teh interwebs using a browser without AdBlock. It was a shock – I really had no idea that so much advertising was there. No wonder everyone around me seems so tied into the consumerist vision if they’re exposed to all that… +1 to AdBlock. Likewise I’d missed this latest gambling pitch – no great loss there, and I won’t be joining the hordes of losers posting up how much they’ve lost.

    Looking at the image above of The Economist’s social media links, I do have to wonder ‘what were they thinking?’ I mean just look at the first four icons, and speculate how you might pronounce the Twitter logo πŸ™‚

    if i turn off adblock I get lots of ads for pets I do not have! I think Damian Green is some sort of politician and the book is by Damian Thomson. I agree there are a lot of tolerated/encouraged addictions, though with opiates its not helpful to be to simplistic. It is possible to do them and not get immediately addicted though a dangerous game.

    There are *many* different kinds than heroin, strong forms were (and still are) available OTC or via diverted supplies but physically addicted opiate addicts often substitute one for another as a form of self-medication, which can become someone is strong willed enough a way of tapering off and getting clean.

    This would not show up on any lists of folk seeking treatment. Also, Soldiers are normally relatively physically fit and psychologically able to cope with extreme conflict situations, including using subterfuge and misinformation to hide exactly what they are doing.

    another issue often ignored or even fought against especially by more puritanically minded souls is humans *will* pleasure seek – it shouldn’t be ruthlessly exploited, but trying to prohibit this is extremely counterproductive.

    In Holland a large amount of this is tolerated via their still vibrant electronic dance music scene provided the musicians and DJ’s and event promoters distance themselves from open involvement in drug use (unlike ours which are allowed to brag about it on public funded media (but balkanised into graveyard slots on radio) in the interests of “edginess and “yoof appeal”). promoters bankrolling their events via drugs money get busted hard and many years prison, as do younger kids selling dangerous contaminated pills.

    Those selling less dangerous ones get proportionate fines and a strong caution (the combined financial loss and hassle of being in the cells for a bit scares the bulk of them from long term involvement as dealers). fines are used to provided test facilities to warn partygoers against contaminated drugs, and other health service tasks.

    Enforcement is done in such a way that if you act like a high/drunken oaf you will be arrested, but if a raver knows to “doe eens normaal” (as much as you could be when pilled up!) the cops leave them be.

    at the same time producers like the clean cut Armin Van Buuren still fit in as an icon of the Protestant work ethic, and brings in lots of Euros in tax revenue from legal music sales, licensing and taxes from the tolerated events. I’ve listened to him present radio shows in both Dutch and English (sometimes at the same time!) but never heard him whinge about taxes like English artists do.

    and what happens is that ravers slowly grow out of /pillen/, go back to /pilsjes/ and the BPM of the music they listen to drops from 140 to 120 again (hardstyle to trance then progressive house) – but they carry on funding the legit industry and paying their taxes.

    this side of the North Sea we have zero tolerance on dance music events (even legal ones) so kids either end up holding illegal ones and selling drugs to replace the kit the cops confiscate from them, or worse, get so disillusioned (especially in Essex) they start straight on heroin and crack and get addicted rather than the less dangerous party drugs.

    the Dutch approach is often viewed here as “giving in to the hedonists and junkies” but I know which one has less long term damage…..

    @Macs – the world sans ABP is scary. I’d give up reading newspaper sites and go back to using the radio if it woren’t for that.

    I toyed with Ghostery as well, whcih could be more fine-grained, canning the browsing tracking and all the social media plugins, whih seem to slow browsing a lot for me. Sadly the two don’t get on with each other, and I decided a world without ads was more desirable than a world without some ads and any social media plugins πŸ™‚

    @Alex You’re right, it’s Thomson, and I even bought the book πŸ˜‰ Many of the substance adictions he tackles aren’t illegal, he has a long diatribe against refined sugar and industrialised synthetic food/drink. His personal experience of alcohol addiction seems to be straight up. I’ve read the Alcoholics Anonymous big Book and the once an alcoholic always an aloholic didn’t quite rign true for me either there.

    As you say, humans will pleasure seek, that’s not a bad thing in itself but it can lead to a loss of balance. Indeed a lack of balance is probably the root of a lot of current malaise, be it excessive shopping or excessive psychoactive stimulation, it seems a darkness at the heart f capitalism that it is getting better at causing unbalanced behaviour, both in eating and in things like betting.

    I could not agree more. One of the best things I have done is to delete Facebook. And I do mean completely delete it. I do not miss it one bit. I knew as soon as they announced going public that it would become even worse than it already was.

    Here is How To Delete Facebook


    […] media that much, because heck, I didn’t grow up with it. I only tolerate Facebook despite its inherent evilness because if you don’t use SMS or a smartphone there are some people that only have a common […]

    Facebook is an exporter. It is exporting media from the USA. It is a machine which is a media monster and everyone around the world loves it. So what is happening locally is that local media is dying, due in large part because of facebook. Yes it has been dying for yrs because of the net, but the process is much faster now.

    I have just set up a local website for my area and we are competing against facebook. It is a monster. This is happening all over the globe. Instead people could be supporting local media. I dont think this has really come to the surface yet, but in time it will.

    I dont think my idea of crossing a forum space with a magazine on a local level will work in the longterm due to facebook. People are just so in love with exisiting in their own little facebook ecosystem. It would do my head in, to live how they do (but then i am 40 odd).

    I know i am mad to have set up up this local media website, but i didnt fully understand the power of FB at the time (never used it really). Whether it will still be running in a yrs time i dont know, but FB will be πŸ™

    @Colin there’s some hope. Remember Myspace? Most people don’t any more, but I’m eternally grateful to if for relieving the Digger of $580M which he could otherwise have done damage to the world with. Friends Reunited?
    The process of monetizing FB seems to be making it less useful to people. There’s hope for the trunkless legs of Ozymandias to prevail over FB yet πŸ˜‰

    Yes i remember these sites. I just hope FB cocks up and annoys its users a bit more in the future.

    FB has got a hold on people though and you have to admit it is much more serious than past sites. I mean it is used by all the young folk and my generation and even my parents generation. So it has to be acknowledged there is a big reach there and people like it.

    It is very democratic, which people like. they can set up their own groups and run them for a bit. Have a look for your area and i bet there will be an “items for sale in …..” group. Everyone is now selling their stuff on facebook. Gumtree and ebay will notice this effect.

    You really have no idea what a monster it could become. As a blogger yourself you should look at using it. All these blogs out there are effectivley going to become the main sourse of information in the future. The papers are going to be weakened by you all. What you need is a system which can connect you up with a mass audience. Hey presto it’s facebook. All people have to do is LIKE your FB page and every time you send out a blog post it lands into their in box.

    So the creators of the content will be rewarded, but you need to connect up through facebook. Our site is creating content, but we also want the local population to create content like facebook. This is the hard bit which i just dont think will happen.

    Sorry for rambling.

    @Colin great ramble πŸ™‚ I think the trouble with FB is we only have so many hours in the day. FB is getting more an more banal as it pushes the marketing messages into the stream. I can live with pics of people’s dogs and kids. Their rants are fine. But I don’t give a shit that Jane’s just bought a widget at amazon/ebay/facebook local. And it makes it harder to find the posts that are really written by people about their lives, just how FB was.

    That’s the fundamental bum rap with advertising. It screws up the signal to noise ratio in the world. The art for a media org is finding the balance, but the siren song of the £££ seems to lead to overreach in the end.

    I found out at the Leeds meet that I ought to use facebook here. But I’m trying to get less facebook into my life, so I pass knowingly at the moment.

    Gumtree = Ebay, BTW. I can see Gumtree taking the shaft from FB local ads, but Ebay may put up more of a fight IMO.

    yes it is true that the more noise means the less you listen.

    You would create a facebook group called Simple Living in Norfolk, so it wouldn’t be part of your own FB page. Then people find you and like it. When you put an article on here, you simply type on your FB equilavent site “New posting on Tesco or what ever” and add a link to the blog post on this site. People then see it and you get readers from FB coming over to this blog. So you use FB as a sort of megaphone to shout what you are doing on the blog.

    Yes i knew gumtree was taken over by ebay

    I absolutely agree with all this evilness about Facebook
    I can’t understand y ppl don’t realise their personal information sold out to companies that’s so wrong
    And appereantly Facebook monitors you mouse on who your clicking on or what your searching up or interested in … Facebook is like having your own stalker
    I got rid of my account so I’m free and out of danger
    Also research it if u do not agree with me !
    Type in google : why is facebook evil?
    It will come up with lots of things

    […] I’d vented in Facebook becomes Evil, the rant was about the ways it was evil – the symptoms and the cause, but not the […]


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