I logged onto Facebook this morning and the first post on my news feed was a picture of a dead guy with his brains blown out. Now I have the image of this man's inner mind ejected over the concrete, with his body plastered in blood, haunting my being. There are some images you cannot forget and will forever see on the insides of your eyelids, and this is one of them. Come to find out that Facebook has been hacked and millions of profiles are being flooded with images of hardcore porn and violence, and I just wasn't lucky enough to see the porn.
After I spent some time frantically trying to scrub clean my memories in the shower, it got me thinking about Facebook and what it is really all about. Yes, we use it to connect to other people, brag about our accomplishments, boost our perceived intelligence by quoting people more intelligent than we are, pretend you remembered someone's birthday, and sometimes over-share our feelings about a breakup... but there is something more to Facebook. Something as addictive as it is sinister, as profound as it is superficial.
Because Facebook began as an exclusive network for Ivy League students, it has miraculously been able to maintain its cache even though everyone and their mother is on it. Literally... your mom is probably pressing the "like" button on a picture of a kitten about to fall into a toilet right now. Because of its origins, it is probable that Facebook will only gain cultural relevance in the years to come. It has managed to avoid the traps other social networking sights failed to protect themselves from like becoming corny -and has such a stranglehold on the market that no one can really compete. Who wants to have to check another platform when you already have Facebook, even if you were invited to Google+?
Whether the cyber attack on Facebook was orchestrated by Anonymous or some other disenchanted group, the message is clear. Someone wants to terrorize the users into taking a moment to question how we are spending our time, and there is nothing like a picture of a dead baby or an anal gang-bang to make you stop and think for a moment. This visual terrorism also seems to be a protest aimed at the founders and employees of Facebook -- and at the controversy surrounding privacy issues. Of course there are privacy settings and ways to make your account more secure, but there are still some dubious tactics in place. For instance, even if you are logged out of Facebook it will still track every page you visit on your browser, store all information ever posted even if you have deleted it, and has also become a world wide photo identification data base, to name a few things.
These violations, although not publicized through Facbook, are becoming mainstream knowledge, yet how many of us are ready to abandon the outlet our profile page has become? The question then becomes, where is Facebook going to take us, or where are we going to take it? Although I was not quite ready to be exposed to a gruesome murder when I was actually looking to see if any one posted a video with some child singing a Lady Gaga song, it made me think of how potent and valuable this tool could really be. There is vast potential for organization on our part, like a nation-wide ban on a certain company, a collective push to elect an honorable politician, or we could just continue posting status updates of what we ate that day. It is painfully clear that Facebook has become Big Brother, but is there a way for us users to transform it into Big Mother? After all, Facebook is nothing without us, and we have a lot more power than we are currently exhibiting. Now if you will excuse me I am going to post this article on my Facbook page and I hope you will do the same.