SOPA Opera

Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Facebook or Google When They Come Out Against SOPA

mark zuckerberg Why You Shouldnt Listen to Facebook or Google When They Come Out Against SOPA

Cares about you, kind of. Not really.

Yet another Important Internet Person has come out against SOPA, the controversial legislation that would put the power of a kill-switch in our totally computer-savvy government’s hands: The Zuck.

You should not listen to him, nor commend him, nor care. Why?

Posting to his public Facebook profile, Mark Zuckerberg writes:

The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet’s development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.

The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet.

Pro-Internet! That sounds nice. Zuckerberg then links to Facebook’s page detailing all of their political stances on piracy bills.

Just don’t forget: Facebook’s only against this piracy bill because it could affect them in a not-nice way, not because of how it might effect you. If that were the case, they’d be advocating for your rights while policing their own biggest problem, privacy.

Considering the FTC is now probing Facebook over potential privacy violations in the new Timeline feature, and considering that un-tagging one’s self on Facebook is now basically an act of sedition (given how difficult they’ve made it to do), and considering that Zuck himself has noted “The Age of Privacy” as “over”, do you really think Facebook cares about you? Not so much. But they definitely don’t want the government up in their business, which is the actual reason a gigantic, money-making business like that would oppose SOPA, as opposed to the ostensible reason they’re giving: That this is all for You, The User.

Google, pretty much the same deal. At least they’re trying to educate the public on the various ways in which they violate your privacy through a new ad campaign, something—like cigarette companies admitting their products give people cancer—that’s good to have out there, even if it is long overdue on arrival.

When you look at companies opposed to SOPA, simply ask yourself two questions:

Do they stand to lose money?

And then:

What kind of money do they stand to lose?

With a company like Wikipedia—who thrive off of donations and is an essential part of a movement like open-source technology—people with good intentions stand to lose well-intentioned money. If their autonomy and freedom is muted, Wikipedia isn’t just a moot website, it’s a moot idea. If Google (a public company) and Facebook (soon to be a public company) were to be shut down or restricted by the government for SOPA compliance, the inevitable result is a downgrade in your experience, potentially costing their respective businesses some coin. At the very least, compliance with a massive government law like this costs money. Nobody likes spending money that doesn’t make money, especially when it comes to government compliance. It’s a giant pain in the ass (just ask Goldman Sachs!).

In the end, SOPA isn’t great for You, The Internet User. But it’s especially bad for They, The Internet Money Companies.

Remember this as they keep shoving their party lines down your throat.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek

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Comments

  1. MercuryPDX says:

    Enemy of my enemy is my friend or something….

  2. Reid Davis says:

    Now shall we examine the primary proponents of this bill, the MPAA and RIAA? Shall we follow the money there, hmm?

  3. Brittanyhiggins3 says:

    What about the people trying to pass this bill? Money! They don’t give a rats butt about us. Atleast facebook, wikipedia are trying to raise awareness not censor the intenet.

  4. Brittanyhiggins3 says:

    What about the people trying to pass this bill? Money! They don’t give a rats butt about us. Atleast facebook, wikipedia are trying to raise awareness not censor the intenet.

    1. Foster Kamer says:

      I agree. See the comment above.

  5. ugh, terrible post. Thumbs Down. Of course Google & Facebook are trying to protect their businesses   -duh. Why wouldn’t they?  Frankly, I’d like to protect their businesses, too.  A company wont just stand united against a political view to be controversial…hence why Apple has kept silent.

    1. yes,, i agree.

      this is terrible post

    2. Foster Kamer says:

      Hey Katelyn – 

      I’m sorry you didn’t like the post. I agree: I don’t think a company would stand against a piece of legislation simply for the purpose of being controversial or attracting press. The reason I wrote this was because it’s important to keep in mind that these companies and the public’s interest happens to be aligned on this issue, and yes, it’s obvious that these businesses would want to protect their interests. 

      That said, unilateral praise of a corporate entity—especially ones whose business models are built around the continued erosion of our privacy—is a slippery slope to go down, and one we should keep in mind as we applaud their efforts. Again, I think the distinguishment between Wikipedia and Google/Facebook is important: Wikipedia—built on donations and an ideal of open-source technology— has far more to lose by going dark for a day than Facebook or Google. Facebook posted a message. Google changed their banner (which they also did for Pac-Man’s birthday). Look who took the most action.If you’re arguing that furthering awareness of these companies’ respective intentions  is inherently a bad thing, I think we’re going to be on different sides of the fence on this.

      Thanks for writing in, 

      – Foster.

  6. Dead666cat says:

    if sopa passes we should make our own internet and forget the gov

    1. Foster Kamer says:

      Not a bad idea! Not sure how it’d work though. But certainly thinking outside the box.

  7. Matthew says:

    “When you look at companies opposed to SOPA, simply ask yourself two questions:

    Do they stand to lose money?

    And then:

    What kind of money do they stand to lose?”

    This is a very simplistic analysis. There are multiple sides to this. For one there has been intense lobbying on both sides of the issue from Old Media vs. Internet companies. Your question though fails most spectacularly in the fact that this lobbying battle isn’t about the Old Media or Internet companies or Facebook’s end users or privacy.

    It’s about Congress’ cash cow for their campaigns. By pitting two huge Industries against each other they raise a shit ton of money from the lobbying efforts to push them one way or the other. Do you not see the huge incentive a politician has to be a borderline vote on this issue? If they are borderline in either direction then they will get lobbied intensely and wait for it…PROFIT. That’s right Congress is profiting off this contentious battle and perpetuating it for that sake.

    1. Foster Kamer says:

      Your analysis off this is far more craven and cynical than my own. It’s also, to be fair, probably more accurate. I only say “probably” because we can’t get into the minds and intentions of our nation’s politicians, but I’m generally inclined to agree with you. Occam’s Razor, right? The simplest explanation is usually the most likely; in this case, yours would fit that description.