Grado de dificultad: 3. Por el idioma. El tema es difícil también, pero nos implica a todos.

Modern comedians and very old times clowns

Back in the Middle Age, clowns were the only ones allowed to tell the truth, making people laugh with what not to do.

I had the idea of a post about Facebook for quite a long time, but always postponing it because I was missing an entry point. Then I recently watched this monologue of John Oliver, on his HBO program, “Late Week Tonight. Here is a YouTube video of it (it´s 20 minutes long though, but not boring at all):

The Myanmar crisis

This video talk about Facebook and more precisely about a crisis this corporation indirectly triggered in Myanmar.

It may be easier to understand if we remind you that this country was former known as Burma (fatherland of Aung San Suu Kyi, and infamously ruled by a bloody dictatorship (and still economically is).

Taking the example of the Rohinyá people persecution, John talks of a “Report of the independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar” were it is stated that, quote, “…Facebook has been a useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate…”

The facts described in this HBO program are accurate (cloaked under John Oliver’s humor).

Facebook, the big bad wolf

We can say many things against Facebook:

  • That this corporation is greedy and irresponsible, check!
  • That it despises our privacy and our security, check!
  • That Mark Zuckerberg is a regressive religious fundamentalist, hidden under a philanthropist reputation, check!
  • That Facebook is, consequently, intolerant with normal people, while it is lazy with dangerous behaviors, check!
  • That Facebook is unethical and Pharisee, check!

All of these concerns, raised by the behavior of this corporation and by that of its Senior Officer, has of course to be proved.

Note: On a more serious level, Facebook’s CEO had to testify before US Congress and EU parliament

The Facebook problem

Actually, even though all of the above happened to be partially or completely true, this would not be the main problem. More exactly, there are 2.23 billion problems with Facebook, which is the number of active Facebook accounts around the world.

This figure is almost 30% of the world population, which is around 7.6 billion humans. This is a lot people, and I am among them…

I am not an old facebook user (except for my age), because Facebook has a corporate “policy” I used to reject. However, there is no excuse to throw away almost one third of the humanity.

This is the other side of the story. As John Oliver puts it, following a Myanmar teacher, “Facebook is a toilet”, making a special emphasis on the fact that toilets have a flush system, when Facebook does not.

In cruder terms, Facebook is full of s—. But here is the thing: this s— , we all put it there, not Facebook.

Consequences of this enormous audience

A first consequence is that Facebook, being a private corporation with a money-driven agenda, is not well equipped when it comes to face non-technological complications of this size (actually, no one is). It is, by the way, a common weakness shared by every big corporations.

In addition, corporations are not known to be democracies.

A second consequence is that, because of the size of its users base, everyone is using Facebook as an “amplifier”. Putting frontiers to this situation is an entirely individual and personal election, a very difficult one.

John Oliver says it too, repeating what many people have been thinking for a while: Facebook is an “Echo Chamber” that resonate with all our fears and rages. In an “Echo Chamber” of that size, any manipulation quickly takes destructive proportions.

How to correct that?

Even opponents of Facebook (like me) have to recognize it: we can´t simply get rid of it, because we would have to create something (the same thing) to replace it. Therefore, it is a “devil you know” situation (about Mark Zuckerberg, this is still debatable).

Facebook only has a corporate and narrow view of the human behavior, which becomes exponentially complex when the population involved grows beyond a point (a long past one). What they are guilty of, is to have create this gigantic Pandora Box, that needed very few effort to open itself alone.

But they are not guilty of who we are. They exploited it, yes, but they are now overwhelmed by their creation. Make no mistake: Mark Zuckerberg has no idea on how to get back control of his billions-heads-monster.

Do you want to know who has this power? Look in a mirror. There is no alternative, we have to learn how to control ourselves (and not everyone will). This will take time.

Knowing is the first step, long before beginning to have answers. In addition, there is this rule of strategy: “Knowing what to do can be difficult, on the other side, knowing what not to do is far easier”.

Back in the Middle Age, clowns were the only ones allowed to tell the truth, making people laugh with what not to do. John Oliver is a new era clown together with many others, all around the world. It is amazing to see how clearly they show us what not to do. Maybe we should listen to them more seriously (but not too much).

A small gift to finish. The following link shows in real time how the world population is growing.

As a very last remind: In the Pandora Box Legend, all the evils escape the jar, but one last thing remains. Some call it hope, some call it “deceptive expectation”, it is entirely up to who is looking in that jar. I already know what I see, and you?