Over the past few months, Facebook has been accused of many things: of causing people to reveal too much information about themselves, for example, with implications for their careers, university prospects and financial security. It's been accused of unlawful invasion of privacy by revealing what people have bought online. It's been accused of plagiarism, in a lawsuit alleging that Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for the site off some bigger boys when he was at Harvard. It has been accused (mainly by me) of making the internet an infinitely duller place, by insisting that people use their real names and only 'socialise' with people they already know.
Facebook has been accused of all these things. But, to my knowledge, it had never been accused of being the cornerstone of a CIA-funded, neo-conservative, libertarian plot to destroy the real world and replace it with a virtual one.
Until I read this article in the Guardian today.
Now, when you see the words 'CIA-funded', 'neo-conservative' and 'plot' in the same place, it's usually in the kind of loony rant that claims that G. W. Bush orchestrated the Sep. 11 attacks, or that Donald Rumsfeld is hiding a load of oil in his back garden until everyone else's runs out and he can TAKE OVER THE WORLD.
But even the wildest conspiracy theories about Bush and his cronies are trivial compared with what Facebook is allegedly up to. Get this:
"...by his own admission, [Facebook board member Peter] Thiel is trying to destroy the real world, which he also calls "nature", and install a virtual world in its place, and it is in this context that we must view the rise of Facebook."
Crikey. 'Destroy nature', eh? I don't think there's anything casual about the use of the phrase 'the rise of Facebook' there, either. It's meant to call to mind the phrase 'the rise of Fascism'. Facebook isn't a social-networking site, according to the Guardian; it's a giant, ultra-right-wing experiment in mind control, and we're submitting ourselves to it willingly.
If we don't do something about it quick - the journalist suggests reading Keats's Endymion, but don't do that; it will only serve to reinforce Facebook's evil premise that people are only too happy to do whatever they see other people doing - soon the ultra-capitalist libertarians will have lured the entire planet into their virtual world, where Nature doesn't exist, people and their relationships are merely tools to be exploited for material gain, and profit is the only motive.
Sound familiar? I can't decide if it's Brave New World or Bioshock. Either way, it doesn't make Facebook sound very nice, does it? Looks like those of us who stuck with blogging were right all along.