Man Blames Facebook for AIDS, Among Other Claims

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While some users may huff and puff about the new Facebook privacy settings, one user in particular is so fed up that he wants to have his profile removed from Facebook all together. His method for going about this social media suicide mission? Getting kicked off.

Humorist Adam Clem found himself tired of Facebook’s prying eyes, noting an unnerving sensation upon realizing Facebook’s similarities to counter-terrorism work. His first strike against Facebook was updating his profile status to read “FACEBOOK HATES ISRAEL.”

Quite a bold statement indeed. Intended with humor or with a mere desire to earn a bad reputation, Clem is dabbling in some very hot water. The attention Clem could gain as a result of his little prank could bring down the wrath of law suits, fines or other citations. While it’s unlikely to go that far, Clem’s inflammatory statements could be taken with a certain seriousness.

With over 350 million users, it was rather difficult for Clem’s status update to stand out. So he upped the ante. A day after his first strike, Clem updated his status several more times, aiming at the Facebook CEO directly. Making even more bold statements, one of Clem’s status updates claims that “Facebook CEO Jeffery Zuckerberg stole the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign from the gates of Auschwitz, then installed it in the FB cafeteria.”

If those statements weren’t enough, Clem also wrote that Facebook created AIDS to eradicate black people, among other things. If Clem had been bold enough to make a direct claim to the true Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, I might actually be a little more upset at Clem’s actions.

While it’s evident that Adam is seeking ways to avoid severe legal consequences for his stunt, I still wonder if this the best way to go about the ridding of one’s Facebook profile. Granted, there are several privacy issues around the way Facebook handles the deletion of user profiles. It’s tricky to void your Facebook profile all together, and Facebook doesn’t like to give you up too easily. On top of this, Facebook has made changes to its privacy settings, making profile data public by default and offering a less transparent process around limiting access to user content.

But risking the possibility of legal troubles seems to be the least desirable option towards getting rid of your Facebook profile. Setting up so many red flags with the hopes of being removed from Facebook doesn’t seem worth the stigma of being antisemitic. Maybe that’s just me.

Nevertheless, Clem’s attempts to raise the alarms at Facebook remind us of his cause–ultimately alerting the world as to Facebook’s ability to know a great deal about us as individuals. Should Facebook ever decide to wield its power regarding its knowledgeable data base, it would have to be during a time of great acceptance on a consumer level. As Facebook tried to ease its users into such a relationship with its Beacon program, Facebook quickly recognized its limits in terms of what it can and cannot do with user data.

The subtleties in social networks’ applied knowledge about you as in individual, however, is something that remains controversial and a little bit creepy. What seems to be strictly business for the companies looking towards such monetization may be a personal intrusion for that individual. Finding a decent medium ground will be a difficult and ongoing task in the coming years, with social networks helping to balance several aspects of the relationship between businesses and consumers.

Comments

  1. says

    Hello Kristen,

    Thank you for referring to me as a humorist, and thank you for giving thought to what I’m doing over at Facebook.

    By now it should be apparent that my arsenal of inflammatory statements is considerably deeper than accusations that Facebook, and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, harbor anti-Jewish tendencies. Catholicism and Islam are in my quiver, as are politics and sex and gender roles. What I’m doing is not difficult: collecting various show-stopping statements from across the cultural spectra and associating them with Facebook, in the hopes that they’ll notice and kick me out. I’m not stupid, so my japes have skewed towards the absurd or demonstrably ridiculous. I might as well accuse Mark “Jeffrey” Zuckerberg of flying to moon and jerking ___ onto the American flag left on the Sea of Tranquility. Come to think of it, I will. I doubt that I’m on Facebook’s corporate radar screen, but if I am, it’s because I’m besmirching their brand name, not because of any specific thing I’m writing. If what I’m doing makes someone consider the sad fact that there are quite a few people who subscribe to the theory that a government engineered the HIV virus to kill black people, that’s good, but not what I’m after. (Will Smith, for one, went on record years ago as being an adherent to the aforementioned theory. On camera, no less.)

    What I’m doing is, first and foremost, a joke for the amusement of myself and my friends, and when I tire of it, which will probably be sooner rather than later, I’ll pull the plug on Facebook myself. I should note that most of my friends are Facebook users and not one of them shows any sign of taking up arms as a result of what I’m doing. If I can’t influence my friends, I can’t get my hopes up about impacting the monolithic edifice that Facebook has become. I’m no Ahab; I’m closer to Ahab’s older, more reasonable brother, Steve: “Oh, you know what? Fork this whale. Hard about, men! It’s back to Nantucket and whoring!” “Hurrah for Captain Steve!”

    I must confess to some surprise that Facebook hasn’t at least cleared its throat. If I had a subscription to, say, mac.com, and used my page to announce that Steve Jobs blows goats, I think I’d be told to desist rather quickly. In that regard, the salient difference between mac.com and Facebook is that Apple takes money and provides a service; Facebook provides a service, but takes its money in the form of personal information, detailed and pre-sorted, which can be sold to highest bidder once Facebook figures out how to do that legally.

    If they’ve noticed what I’m up to, and I doubt that very much, my continued presence might reflect the fact that they want to hold on to my personal information. Kicking me out would be like throwing money (or potential money) away. They don’t want people to quit, and they make it difficult to do so, but they don’t want to discard people, either. Corporate Facebook’s combination of tone-deafness and sneaky behavior would be poisonous if they were a subscription service. That they behave in such ways when they are wholly dependent on users giving them the benefit of the doubt with personal information is quite astounding, and further proof that a Harvard education (Zuckerberg’s) ain’t all that.

    Thank you for reading, and for making me think.

    Sincerely,
    Adam Eli Clem

    Note: Slight edit for “colorful” terms by PB

    • Phil Butler says

      Hey Adam, I am pretty much with you on the Facebook value proposition. Written about it many times. I almost did some writing and analysis for one of their supportive blogs not too long ago. Glad I did not now as the job appeared to be more of a suck up detail as much as anything else. If anyone thinks conspiratorial thinking is somehow meaningless? Well, conspiring is kind of what humans do isn’t it?

      Always,
      Phil

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