Thursday, September 07, 2006

ABC Blames Clinton For 9/11

by Robbie Republican, Guest Blogger

A new movie miniseries produced for ABC contains scenes that depict Clinton administration officials failing to take out Bin Laden, and, surprise, surprise, democrats are getting their panties in a bunch about it.

I hate to state the obvious, but Clinton, ahem, didn't take out Bin Laden. He failed. Just like he failed his marriage when he had oral sex with that Christ-killer.

Now, some people might say, now Robbie. Didn't you say back in 1998 that Clinton was just going after Bin Laden to distract from the Monica Lewinsky scandal? Didn't you tell the American public that Clinton was trying to "wag the dog?" Didn't you urge Republican members of congress to ignore afghanistan and focus on the sex scandal? Didn't you and Republican Senator Dan Coats question Bill Clinton's credibility?

In fact, you might say, isn't it true you didn't think Bin Laden was that big of a threat?

I don't remember. It was a long time ago. What I do remember is this. Bill Clinton invited Bin Laden to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom. Osama stayed three days, on one of them, receiving a massage from Vice President Al Gore. Then Bill let the terrorist leader leave out the front door.

Now, you may say, "hey, I never heard about that." Of course you didn't. The media is owned by liberals.

I keep hearing everyone blaming Bush for 9/11. But Bush only had only been in the presidency for 8 months. That's barely enough time to decorate the oval office. And he was on vacation most of that time. So how could he possibly be expected to pay attention to a report with a title as ambiguous as "Bin Laden Determined to Strike In US"? Sure, the evidence that Bin Laden was behind the USS Cole bombing didn't mount until Clinton was already out of office, but the attack in Yemen happened during Clinton's presidency, not Bush's. Gw couldn't be expected to get revenge for something that happened on Clinton's watch. Come on.

Sure, we haven't taken out Bin Laden either, even with all the info we've learned from torturing people and our extended war on terror. But we're not too worried about him. Osama's not our problem. He's Clinton's. Let Clinton clean up his own mess, I say. We'll go after important targets, like Cat Stevens.

Anyway, I'll be watching ABC's fine piece of propoganda. It's important the TV-viewing public learns all the ways the democrats could have possibly stopped 9/11. Like, they could have used their time travel devices and killed Bin Laden's grandfather. Or they could have dropped some nukes in Kandahar. Or they could have sent Monica to Bin Laden's headquarters to suck some information out of him. The possibilities were endless.

Keep up the good work ABC. And God Bless America. By which I mean white christian people.

Adam responds: Why is ABC fictionalizing anything? 9/11 wasn't dramatic enough? Thanks Robbie for blogging, but your viewpoint, is, er, a tad biased.
The Facebook Riots

It happened on a Monday morning. September 5th. Labor day.

The day the riots began.

All across the country, college students, most a day away from beginning their fall semester, were waking up and logging on to the popular social networking site, Facebook. Since it's inception in 2004, Facebook has grown to 9 millions members across 40,000 different college and regional networks. In that time, the service had remained virtually unchanged from the blue and white, simple layout it was born with. Unlike MySpace and other social networks, Facebook added new features slowly and quietly, features that mainly focused on improving search capabilities and adding photo albums.

But on September 5th, everything changed.

"You've probably noticed that Facebook looks different today," Facebook developer Ruchi Sanghvi wrote on Facebook's blog. "We've added two cool features: News Feed, which appears on your homepage, and Mini-Feed, which appears in each person's profile."

"News Feed highlights what's happening in your social circles on Facebook," Sanghvi explained. "It updates a personalized list of news stories throughout the day, so you'll know when Mark adds Britney Spears to his Favorites or when your crush is single again. Now, whenever you log in, you'll get the latest headlines generated by the activity of your friends and social groups."

The backlash against the News Feed and Mini Feed system was swift. Half past noon on the 5th, the "Students Against Facebook News Feed" group was started on the site. By noon Thursday the group had swelled to 571,970 members, who had posted nearly 3,000 discussions about the new system and more than 35,000 "wall postings" critiquing Facebook's decision. Today more than 150 groups have popped up on the social networking site, protesting the "New Facebook." (Full Disclosure: Including mine).

Zuckerberg defended the move on the Facebook blog. "We think they are great products," he wrote. "We are listening to all your suggestions about how to improve the product; it’s brand new and still evolving."

Apparently, that doesn't placate some people. Zuckerberg's personal phone number was posted on several Facebook message boards.

Comments left by users range from "Why does Facebook insist upon FREAKIN ME OUT!" to "WTF, facebook has officially gone stalker crazy n it needs to stoppp!" Many have questioned why Facebook didn't simply ask them what they wanted.

Facebook user Matt B posted his complaints on the "Students Against Facebook News Feed." discussion board. "You feed us shit from Corporate donations, im assaulted by generated adds [sic] by allposter, and now you add this gargage [sick] without asking? how about a poll that the nonvoting demographics would actually vote in next time. WHO'S IDEA WAS THIS?"

There are people who think the changes are a good thing.

Dan G., a facebook user, commented on the blog Marc's Voice. "Personally, I like the changes. However, my friends list is small - it really is only my friends, and so to me everything in the feed is interesting. The people who have huge friend lists have suddenly realised that they’re broadcasting to the masses."

"I can’t believe none of this picked up in testing though. They did test it, didn’t they??"

That question remains to be answered. Was product testing done? Is this simply a "New Coke" style debacle that Facebook's creators will learn from and then revert back to status quo?

More to come.
Zuckerberg Speaks!

The man who created Facebook... I mean stole it... has responded to The Facebook Riots in a way that recalls the words of such great leaders as President George "Iraq is Peachy" Bush.

We’re not oblivious of the Facebook groups popping up about this... And we agree, stalking isn’t cool; but being able to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives is. This is information people used to dig for on a daily basis, nicely reorganized and summarized so people can learn about the people they care about... You don’t miss the photo album about your friend’s trip to Nepal. Maybe if your friends are all going to a party, you want to know so you can go too. Facebook is about real connections to actual friends, so the stories coming in are of interest to the people receiving them, since they are significant to the person creating them.
This is pretty naive. Maybe Mark really believes only tight, close buddies are friends on facebook. But that would mean he has no grasp on what he has created. This is not simply a "friend tracker". Facebook is a social tool, useful for interacting with aquaintances, coworkers, intriguing strangers. Not everybody's "facebook friend" is a good friend. Therefore, we don't want every single thing we do on facebook (and the time we do it) recorded in an easy in-your-face list. It's unsettling. Sure, these kind of things were available to see before... but they weren't like "BAM" in-your-face. The need to dig offered some level of comfort. Now the veil has been lifted. And its making alot of people uncomfortable.

If I want to know something, I'll seek it out. I don't want to be confronted with every minute detail of my high school classmates life every time i sign in. And I don't want them to be confronted with every minute detail of my life evrytime they sign in. The new feature makes me, and everyone else reluctant to ever update our profiles. How is that good for facebook?

Let me put it this way. When I put a photo up, I want the friends who are interested enough to "dig" to see it. I don't want every Tom, Dick, and Harriet to see it when they sign on to Facebook. Also, check out the previous post. Sometimes its better things stay buried.

We didn’t take away any privacy options. [Your privacy options remain the same.] The privacy rules haven’t changed. None of your information is visible to anyone who couldn’t see it before the changes. If you turned off your wall to non-friends, no one who is not your friend will be able to see a post on your wall. Your friends can still see it; it hasn’t changed. Secret groups and secret events remain secret from other people. Pokes and messages remain as private interactions. Nothing you do is being broadcast; rather, it is being shared with people who care about what you do—your friends.
More naivete... especially in that last line. Zuckerberg doesn't seem to grasp the concept of "Facebook Friends" and "Friends." He doesn't seem to acknowledge that there's a difference in making information available and making it prominent. At the very least, this should be an "opt-in" system. Preferably, the idea should be scrapped altogether. It emphasizes the downsides of facebook (lack of privacy), and makes people reluctant to use the service. How is that helpful?

We’re going to continue to improve Facebook, and we want you to be part of that process. Test out the products and continue to provide us feedback. Use your privacy settings so you can feel most comfortable using the site.
I'm sure there are some who love this feature. Mark Zuckerberg may be one of them. But let those people do what they will. Just let the rest of us OUT. We want no part of it.

One final note. Privacy settings on Facebook are complicated and "all or nothing." Most of us are ok with having our entire profiles revealed to our facebook friends (even those we don't know that well). But having them broadcast as "NEWS," is very disconcerting.

I started a Facebook group, ironically. "Mark Zuckerberg Ruined My Innocence When He Changed Facebook." I feel that's the most accurate way of putting it. We've never before been so aware how much someone could tell about us from a simple, unadorned profile.

The world suddenly seems a very scary place.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This Just In...

On Facebook News!

Event: Effie M. is attending Patricia's Surprise Birthday Party. 9:44am

Um... I guess it's not a surprise anymore!

Yet another example of the New, Terrible Facebook.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Keep It Simple Stupid!

This morning, I logged onto Facebook, as usual, expecting to see the familiar white space with blue trim, the times new roman font black text alerting me to any new messages or pokes I may have received.

Instead, I was confronted with a blunder that could spell the end for Facebook, if its users feel the same way I do:

Stalkervision 2.0

I was told, after logging in:

1:17pm James M. and T'shawn C. ended their relationship.
12:30pm Melissa F. is getting her life together.
11:50pm T. Bahri is attending Heidi G., Dhvani G..
11:02pm Courtney F. and Kory L. are now friends.
10:42pm Ross B. is no longer in a complicated relationship.

Immediately, I was like, "Whoa Nelly." Then I was like. "This is some scary shit."

Sure, people have always revealed this much info on Facebook. But unless you were actively monitoring James M.'s page, you wouldn't really notice he had broken up with his girlfriend. If you weren't scanning Courtney's list of friends every five minutes, you wouldn't know she and Kory met each other. If you weren't constantly looking at Ross's relationship status, you might have assumed it was still "complicated."

It doesn't stop there. The information Facebook lays out on its front page is startling.

What events people are attending (whether or not you've been invited to those same events)
What groups people have joined.
What wall messages they just sent.
What friends people just added.

The info has always been there... but unless you were a crazy ass stalker, you probably wouldn't have noticed.

Yes, that's right, Facebook has made it easier for crazy-ass stalkers!

My mother always said that efficiency, when practiced by authority, can result in tyranny. Inefficiency is part of what gives us freedom. In the past, the inefficiency of Facebook meant I could add a potential hookup to my list of friends without my other potential hookups noticing. It meant that I could change my relationship status without that guy who randomly requested my facebook friendship on his quest to get 1000 friends knowing about it. The inefficiency of facebook meant that I could, on one boring night, make jokes and comments on the walls of 5 different people without them knowing I had also written to others within minutes.

Facebook calls their new system "News Feeds" and treats all new updated info as "Stories." Click on the graphic of a broken heart and you'll be treated with a list of breakups among your friends.

It might be reasonable if Facebook friends were indeed your friends. But Facebook doesn't work like that. Sure, you have your close friends on facebook, but you have aquaintances as well. And even perfect strangers. The new system means that these not-so-close friends will immediately be alerted to your every move on facebook.

You can choose the option of "hide story"... but can only do it one item at a time. Every time you do something, you'll have to go back to your profile and click "hide story" to prevent the whole world from knowing you just posted a wall message. And if you hide a story that includes one of your friends, people will still be able to see it unless she or he hides the "story" also.

Frankly, the options to retain a level of privacy (or at least, obscurity) on Facebook are inefficient, while the Facebook front page, with it's handy list of every facebook detail is all a bit too efficient. The new system doesn't benefit the true friends of people (who will certainly know when a relationship has ended or whether their friend will be going to a party). It benefits stalkers. It benefits rubberneckers. I reiterate, it's not that Facebook has necessarily revealed anything new, but rather, they've inadvertantly created an startling portrait of the disturbing breaches of privacy social networking sites tend to downplay.

I, for one, will be watching what I do on facebook more carefully.

Unfortunately, everybody else will be watching me too.

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