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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Who Cares About Facebook?

I noticed a lot of anti-Facebook sentiment recently. Some politicians are considering prosecuting Facebook for various ethical violations.

If you're offended by Facebook, there's a very simple solution. DON'T USE FACEBOOK! Lobbying the State to prosecute Facebook is silly.

This post on (by Lew Rockwell) was very offensive. He denounced "Quit Facebook Day" as anti-capitalist. WTF? I thought Lew Rockwell was supposed to be supporting free markets?

In a free market, if you think a business owner is misbehaving, then you should boycott it. If you think Facebook abuses its customers, then you should shut down your Facebook account and stop updating it.

That's really ironic, after Lew Rockwell was defending Rand Paul for saying "A free market should take care of business owners who racially discriminate, when customers boycott that business. It is immoral to prevent a privately-owned business from refusing to serve a customer."

If the vast majority of customers oppose racial discrimination, and there's no barrier to forming new businesses, then a business owner who racially discriminates will lose customers. If a majority of people don't like Facebook's privacy policy, then they should stop using Facebook. Facebook doesn't have a State-backed monopoly, but they do receive State subsidies like most large corporations. Still, for an Internet-based business, there are low barriers to entry.

Usually, when a business abuses a customer, they quietly leave without complaining. If a business owner is abusive, a polite explanation probably won't get them to change their ways. This fnord is repeatedly mentioned in "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares". The owner says "The customers don't complain about the food. Therefore, the food is awesome!" Chef Ramsay says "But you have no customers!"

As another example, I noticed abusive censorship on Wikipedia and and Joel on Software and other forums. I don't complain loudly on those websites. I left, and no longer contribute there. One nice thing about a blog is that I don't have to get into arguments with censoring moderators.

That probably explains why "Quit Facebook Day" was a flop. Any sensible person who is offended by Facebook's privacy policy has already stopped using Facebook.

Anti-capitalist would be to say "State violence should be used against Facebook for abusing its customers." The free market solution is "If Facebook abuses customers, then customers should stop using it."

MySpace was the #1 social networking website for awhile. They got complacent and lost their market share to Facebook. In another few years, something else will probably come along and displace Facebook. Facebook has a strong market position, but not an explicit State-backed monopoly.

I never understood the attraction of Facebook, compared to having a blog. I'm looking to move to my own domain.

I once set up a Facebook account, when I went on a job interview to write a Facebook application. I just entered my name and otherwise don't update it. Some old friends have contacted me via Facebook, but that's it. I tell them I prefer to communicate via E-Mail or via my blog.

Using State violence against Facebook is silly. If Facebook is alienating their customers, then they'll switch to other services. On the Internet, there's very little barrier to entry for starting a new business, compared to other parts of the State economy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah well, I was going to comment here, and the comment got long...

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