Many important inventions throughout history received early criticism. People are afraid of change. But Facebook? Yeah, we don’t think that one is getting any better. Economics professor Tyler Cowen thinks otherwise.
If you read a criticism of Facebook, try subbing in the word "printing press" and see if it still makes sense.— tylercowen (@tylercowen) October 30, 2017
As a reminder, Facebook launched in 2004 and spread RAPIDLY. This isn’t like the early days of the printing press. Facebook has been around for over a decade, slowly collecting data about every little detail in our lives. The website knows who we’re friends with, who we’re related to, who we’ve dated, where we live, and what events we attend. And, of course, it helped spread fake news during the 2016 election.
Sure, Facebook isn’t entirely bad. The website allows people to communicate with friends and family who live far away. Its private groups are great. But the criticism against the website is warranted. We don’t know what will happen in the future with all the data the giant, for-profit corporation is collecting.
On Twitter, many people proved that Cowen’s analogy doesn’t work. They did as he suggested and inserted “printing press” in a sentence that criticizes Facebook.
Did the printing press collect data on humans?
I am suspicious of all the data the printing press collects on me. Hmm. No. This doesn't really work. https://t.co/kYClIO1Smj— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) October 30, 2017
Remember when the printing press experimented on humans to see if it could depress them by showing them sad, um, manuscripts https://t.co/42ExgXkGMx— Parker Higgins (@xor) October 31, 2017
The printing press has access to a ton of deeply personal information about me and virtually no regulations on how they profit from it. https://t.co/sP6yLbQ3wr— the supreme court will destroy everything we want (@SeanMcElwee) October 31, 2017
Did the printing press ruin relationships or show you what your exes are up to?
Did the printing press use an algorithm to decide what content you saw? Was it all really terrible?
The printing press ran algorithms to determine who was allowed to see your writings. Like that? https://t.co/IatuJa5gif— Paolo Bacigalupi (@paolobacigalupi) October 31, 2017
Did the printing press make you feel bad about your life choices?
The printing press gives me the distinct impression that I have failed where all my friends succeeded. https://t.co/kArf67VYKY— Kaleb Horton (@kalebhorton) October 30, 2017
Did the printing press distract your children?
Did the printing press send spammers to you?
The printing press keeps sending dozens of big titty spam robots to catfish me and steal my credit card info https://t.co/8HA7AcYVND— Millions Now Posting Will Never Die (@lukeoneil47) October 31, 2017
Did the printing press track your location?
The printing press keeps on checking its location in the background and draining my iPhone battery. https://t.co/vvUiA68Do4— James Chalmers (@ProfChalmers) October 30, 2017
Did an early version of the printing press rate people by their attractiveness?
Hmmm. It doesn’t seem like the printing press and Facebook are all that similar.