Archives for : facebook

ELLO: A FINE HOW-DO-YOU-DO

With Facebook threatening to delete the account of users who don’t go by their real names, many people—including, most visibly, drag performers and their sympathizers—are abandoning the site and jumping to Ello, the new player on the social media landscape. But they’d be better off looking before they leap. Turns out Ello’s promise of an ad-free, privacy-first paradise is just a chimera: the site was developed with seed money from venture capitalists, which means its subscribers are merely investments to be sold later, when their market value is worth harvesting.

This is great news for Panjea, whose own social-media arm is waiting in the wings to embrace the disgruntled and disaffected—many of whom already have Panjea email and web accounts. Unfortunately it’s this very familiarity that will keep people from looking too critically at Panjea’s own financial backing. The tech giant is notoriously secretive about its investors, but given that its advisory board is heavy on congressmen, governors, and other bureaucratic types, it isn’t too hard to drawn conclusions. When I’ve got the hard goods (and I’m spelunking as we speak), I’ll let you know. In the meantime, maybe it’s time to cut back on social media and cultivate an outdoor hobby. No one can spy on you or profit from you when you’re planting chrysanthemums. Not yet, anyway.

ASSANGE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

As I post this, Julian Assange is on Gawker answering readers’ questions (it’s part of the P.R. push for his new book, When Google Met Wikileaks). As you can imagine, it’s pretty rousing stuff. Example: “One thing you can do, which is quite simple, is treat companies like Google and Facebook as the corporations they are. Lots of people – especially on the left – are aware of the ways in which corporations are exploitative and harmful. But there is a disconnect when it comes to Silicon Valley. Lots of people refuse to buy Coca Cola, but they don’t see any problem with having a Gmail account. I think that is changing lately, but we need a movement to divest from these corporations—which destroy privacy—and to build an alternative internet that isn’t as actively harmful to human interests.” A call to action if ever I heard one. Here’s hoping Apple, Panjea, et all, are quaking in their boots today.

SHARPE: COVER BOY FOR LOVETT’S CORPORATE RUN

Last month I reported that Governor Angela Lovett had hired media guru Kevin Sharpe as her presidential campaign’s “senior strategist and media advisor.” This week Sharpe’s grizzled mug graces the covers of both Time and Wired, where he’s been dubbed “The Architect” for his role in strategizing Lovett’s path to office.

But read the articles and you’ll find something interesting: the only description of Sharpe’s role is that of masterminding the campaign’s online component—and the only specific contribution he’s credited with is…managing Lovett’s page on the Panjea social network.

Sharpe’s past ties to Panjea and its CEO, Victor Ignacio, aren’t widely known—but they’re known well enough for this move to be considered flat-out brazen. We’re being put on notice: democracy is in the hands of the tech titans and their corporate cronies, and this election is about only two things: (1) information, and (2) how to monetize it. When these people get control of the Oval Office, your  citizenship will effectively cease to exist, except as a rhetorical concept. Better get out there and use it while you still can.

SCORE ONE FOR GEN NEXT

Hey, I’m only human; and given the nature of the stories I cover on this blog, it’s natural that I sometimes succumb to despair for our society’s future. But then I come across something like this high-schooler’s blog post. Full Cort Press isn’t distracted by grumpy-cat memes and ice-bucket challenges from seeing what Facebook is really all about. And if she’s savvy enough to grok that, she gives me hope for her entire generation. I’ll be keeping tabs on this kid.