Why I'm Saying Goodbye to 'Facebookistan'

Facebook useful, but Steve Coll objects to company's terms, and more
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2012 1:21 PM CDT
Updated May 27, 2012 3:45 PM CDT
In this Sept. 22, 2011, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles during the f/8 conference in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

(Newser) – Four years and 4,000 friends later, Steve Coll is calling it quits when it comes to Facebook. It's not that Coll doesn't find Facebook useful or understand its appeals. To Coll, quitting what one of his colleagues has dubbed "Facebookistan" is an exercise in citizenship, his protest against the company's dubious corporate governance system (which essentially lets Mark Zuckerberg hang onto power no matter what) and authoritarian terms of service, he writes in the New Yorker. "This seems the right time to leave such a crowded and volatile public square," writes Coll.

"Zuckerberg’s business model requires the trust and loyalty of his users so that he can make money from their participation," notes Coll, "yet he must simultaneously stretch that trust by driving the site to maximize profits." And in the wake of its IPO, the pressure from the profit side is only going to grow. Furthermore, its terms of service, while ostensibly designed to protect users, "obfuscate Facebook’s business strategies." If such a heavy concentration of private power makes you wary, what to do? "Perhaps it starts with exercising citizenship," writes Coll. "I have decided to exercise mine—in Facebookistan, that is." Click to read his entire column. (Read more Mark Zuckerberg stories.)

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