This from the Evening Standard yesterday, entitled ‘Just What Is Privacy in the Era of Google and Facebook?’, and discussing the gradual erosion of personal privacy, brought about by society’s obsession with empty, unearned (and certainly not merited) fame and the seemingly unstoppable fixation on all things social media. As I think I’ve said before, it is eeee-ville.
The thrust of Mr Greenslade’s piece is not new. I’ve posted about it before, and as I am in no way an original thinker, this means that better and weightier pundits than I have had a go as well.
In brief, our society’s need for validation, expressed through the lust for Warhol’s 15 minutes, the desire to be Cheryl Cole or Alex Reid, the need to be orange and blond and falling out of Krapz nitespot in Basildon, clutching a footballer or a glamour model, in a drunken state of undress, to be papped and red-topped – this, combined with the arrival of social media and true (if unregulated) freedom of expression, has given people the motivation and opportunity to reveal far more about themselves, to far more people, than they ever have done before.
And, as we all know, it comes back to bite you on your fake-baked bum. The girl who got fired from her job for complaining about it on Facebook, the NHS staffers who played the ‘lying down’ game at work and posted the pictures, the Dixons shop assistants who set up an anti-customer page and wondered why they got caned.
But the Standard article reminded me of something far more sinister than the antics of the idiocracy and the cretinarchy. It ran the quotation attributed to your friend and mine (dear blog snorkellers), the unwholesome – and somehow unsavoury – Mark Zuckerberg, who said that he no longer believed privacy to be a ‘social norm’.
This is the man who is in charge of (apparently) a virtual nation that, were it a real country, would be the world’s third-largest. If it were real, he would be a dictator – he already is, in point of fact. And he is telling you, oh foolish of facebook, that he no longer believes privacy to be a norm. What he’s actually telling you is that you no longer have a right to privacy. (Google seems to believe this as well – if you aren’t aware of the Google story (because of some unfortunate circumstance like being stuck down a mineshaft for the past three weeks), then might I suggest you Google it?) (Irony, d’you see?)
Actually, many of you may not have a right to privacy. You gave it away when you posted your holiday snaps on a photo-sharing site. But the point is, you made that choice.
Now you and I are having the choice taken away. Some pasty geek is telling us that privacy is no longer the norm and 400 million people are having to accept that point of view.
Or you could, I suppose, take radical action. And close your Facebook account. Go on.