There’s no one to punish Facebook if Facebook fails. Facebook’s trying to head off regulation by doing this, this transparency effort. But ultimately, transparency doesn’t matter. The same practices will occur. Facebook is committed to being a factor in global politics. And it not only wants to make money off it, more importantly, it wants to matter. Facebook wants to be the place where we conduct our politics.
Here’s what I don’t understand: Vaidhyanathan says this and much worse about Facebook, but also, in the same interview and elsewhere, discourages people from leaving Facebook. “By removing yourself from Facebook, you remove yourself from the concern. If you are active on Facebook and you watch how people relate to each other and how it affects you, you can be sensitive to the larger condition.” I don’t see how this follows. I don’t see why you have to be on Facebook to critique Facebook, or to see the damage it does. I ditched Facebook in 2007 but that hasn’t “removed me from concern” about the social and political damage it’s doing. Is Facebook really going to be responsive to people who stay on it no matter how foul it becomes?