My thoughts on the Facebook IPO

Originally in reply to Gerry Hassan

Facebook is extremely dangerous. The theory from both sides (net entrepeneurs and hackers, basically mirroring capitalists and workers) about information as a commodity is extremely advanced. In brief, computers + the internet allow anyone to copy infinitely and share any information securely and anonymously.

This poses a threat to profit, so far largely in the creative industries. There are two capitalist responses: The entertainment industry favours Digital Rights Management (attempts to make your PC enforce the law whether you want it to or not), ie turning information goods back into regular, controllable commodities.

Zuckerberg is offering a second way. The theory is that by centralising our social interactions through computers they control, they can commoditise data about those interactions, and perhaps even turn social relationships themselves into a quantifiable, tradable currency

I have a more extensive dissection aimed at non-technical left wing people, here: https://mohkohn.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/wikileaks-karl-marx-and-you/

Cory Doctrow sumarises the political implications to a technical audience here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg

Eben Moglen outlines the hacker community’s plan to save us all here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k_cyW7cYOQ

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