[afnog] Another Perspective - Kentik's View on the Facebook Outage

Mark Tinka mark at tinka.africa
Sat Oct 9 05:48:41 UTC 2021

On 10/9/21 02:29, Markus Akena Wipfler wrote:

> No argument there. But FB is not for free. We are the product. We pay 
> with our privacy.

I know making this statement of "being the product if it's free" has 
gained a lot of popularity in recent years, but for me, it doesn't 
track. It sounds clever to say, but it's wrong.

Yes, you are giving up some things by being a patron to a service that 
you do not pay money for. But Facebook is not the first product where we 
have done these things. "Free with advertising" has been a model for a 
very long time, long before Facebook, and long before the Internet, in 
which there is no indication that users are treated like "the product".

Downloading Linux or UNIX OS's, for example, is generally free. You 
certainly aren't the product there.

True, paying for a service does not guarantee that you will be treated 
better as a customer, or in the case of this topic, have better 
reliability. But it could, indeed, introduce a new dynamic toward that end.

> I don't use any FB services apart from Whatsapp which I only use coz 
> of one family chat group :)

Doesn't matter - you are still in the Facebook family, even if you use 
just one app of theirs to chat to one person. Perhaps, even especially 
for :-).

> Where is this need coming from? Is it in our nature, or are we exposed 
> to subliminal life long programming to keep the hamster wheel turning?

I'd say it's largely driven by stock market culture. Shareholders who 
invest in your company do so because they believe that their investment 
will appreciate at the point they want to cash out. So you need to grow.

Then there is top executive compensation. They are measured on 
performance by stock price and earnings growth. So to remain employed 
and increase their own compensation, they need to grow.

In heavily capitalist societies, where taxes are generally derived from 
the growth of corporations, growth is a never-ending target. In 
societies where a large portion of the population is either employed by 
the gubbermint or on welfare, corporate growth may not be as important.


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