“Facebook page that led to Pakistani ban removed,” said the latest from Associated Press (read it at Yahoo! News) this morning. If through some hurriedly viewed news on TV you got the impression that Facebook took down the page, apologized or retracted, then please be corrected: “Facebook said Friday it has not taken any action on the page,” the Associated Press tells us. "So it was possible the creator took it down Friday because the page had served its purpose.”
This may not be the end of troubles for Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. May 31 has already been declared "Quit Facebook Day". No, not by Jamaat-i-Islami (nor by Imran Khan neither). Quite unrelated to the recent controversy over the hate festival, a website has been set up to explain why Facebook may be risky not only for you personally but also for the future of humanity:
"For us it comes down to two things: fair choices and best intentions. In our view, Facebook doesn't do a good job in either department... For a lot of people, quitting Facebook revolves around privacy... but we also think the privacy issue is just the symptom of a larger set of issues. The cumulative effects of what Facebook does now will not play out well in the future, and we care deeply about the future of the web as an open, safe and human place. We just can't see Facebook's current direction being aligned with any positive future for the web, so we're leaving.”
12,677 people have joined the Quit Facebook Day Campaign by "committing" to quit it on May 31 on the website (there were 12,666 when I started writing this post about 15 minutes ago, so the number is increasing by the minute).
This is not even among the bigger troubles that have started surrounding the CEO of Facebook during the recent weeks. Here are some randomly selected headlines to give you an idea (embedded links take you to details):
- Facebook CEO’s latest woe: accusations of securities fraud
- The Social Network Depicts Facebook CEO As 'Sex Maniac'
- Facebook Could Predict When Your Relationship Will End
- Facebook Privacy Issues Spark Internal Disagreement, Challenges To CEO
- Facebook Alternatives: Other Secure Social Networks You Could Switch To
- As Facebook Takes a Beating, a Brutal Movie Is Set to Make Things Much Worse”
- 'Social Network' script: A meaner take on Facebook
Some of these things are tough. Nick Summers on the blog of Newsweek (listed as #6 here) describes a recent Q&A session between a Facebook VP and readers at nytimes.com as "insincere at best and Orwellian at worst" and foresees even worse consequences when the movie gets released on October 1, portraying Zuckerberg as "a borderline autistic, entirely ruthless conniver." Other problems faced by him since April 21 and listed in this article include “a letter of concern from four U.S. senators, a filing with the Federal Trade Commission by 15 privacy groups, grave op-eds from the influential people at TechPresident, Wired, Thomas Baekdal, GigaOM, and elsewhere, helpful information to make sense of Facebook's evolution, including a timeline from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a clever infographic from an IBM researcher, and the launch of an idealistic NYU startup, Diaspora.”
Arguably, the role of Facebook in the recent controversial cartoon campaign was also different from YouTube and Wikipedia — and hence the general resentment among Muslims is mainly directed against Facebook and not so much against the other two websites that got banned in Pakistan in this context.
If the conclusion on which Muslim users of Facebook have arrived is similar to what the webmasters of Quit Facebook Day are stating on their website (“We also don't think Facebook has much respect for you...”), one wonders how it would seem if millions of these Muslims also join the campaign and unanimously quit Facebook on May 31 — especially if they seal their lips about the offensive cartoons, blasphemy and all other matters at least until then and unanimously start chanting, “Just like the webmasters of Quite Facebook Day, we just can't see Facebook's current direction being aligned with any positive future for the web, so we're leaving. Nothing more to say (at least till May 31)!”
Such a thing would require extraordinary self-control, discipline and goodwill. Faith has produced such qualities on certain occasions but even if Muslims miss the opportunity, other problems surrounding Mr. Mark Zuckerberg are not pointing towards a very bright future either. Remember what James Bond says to the bad guy in The Living Daylights? “If the Russians don't get you, the Americans will!”