“Give anyone the power to share anything with anyone.”

Image of Mark Zuckerberg and a big title:

Image by Eric Risberg/Associated Press from The New York Times The Unstoppable Facebook.

**Give anyone the power to share anything with anyone.**

That’s what the (open) Web does, Mr. Zuck.

And yes, this is but another hint at the FB issue: Conquering the Web. FB is in fact becoming the Web for something like a billion people on Earth. And growing. Why the inconvenience of Googling a Web address (URL anyone?) if you can have it without leaving FB?

Why the inconvenience of opening the actual, fresh, rich webpage of a newspaper, if you can have it condensed within FB? Moreover, you won’t read the things you dislike. And you won’t have those evil links that distract you into going away from the (monetized) page.

Zuck and FB are the new Web, and lest we don’t preserve it, the Web will be over–at least in the version we love. Zuck’s Internet.org project is but a shameful act of putting up a free portal for everybody, except you get to it through FB, and this way you contribute–as poor as you may be– to each cent coming in to enrich the lords of this machinery. Which is a lot. I read (“How much money did you make for facebook last year“, Quarz.com) that each FB user gets them $11.96. Multiply this by 1+ billion, and you get the outstanding revenue amount of $18,000,000,000 for last year. Of course, our eyeing its page is valued much more in the US than in Asia, some 8 times more, actually. So, the question is not really about FB making all that money, but that in doing that they are closing the Web and making it another thing. What I find worrisome is that they do so while we applaud happily liking cats and babies. In another post I will look into the tunnel effect typical of platforms like FB: Even though you may subscribe to a variety of pages or even newspaper throughb FB, it is their algorithm that decides what you will stumble upon in your timeline, and not you. Also, beyond your loss of control

is the shrinking of scope: You do lose those articles at the periphery of your interests or those that are adverse to your opinions. But we leave that to another post. You know something? I wonder why we are still so attached to the ad-based revenue model and haven’t been able to come up with another business model to sustain income?

But last, I think FB is being a bit hypocritical when they say

Give anyone the power to share anything with anyone.

Because this is a slogan: The Web was born and is built to do precisely that. But FB is the Web for many, and that’s the issue.

BTW, in doing this post I found this nice graph of FB’s revenues per user and I so discovered a gorgeous repository of data visualizations: Atlas. Check it!


Also published on Medium.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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