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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


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Metacam Oh

I'm not sure I follow Hamlet. While I agree it is stupid for a social network to remove users because they are using a nickname, I don't agree that social networks should be forced to let its users do whatever they want. Social Networks are like bars, if you don't like one you go into another. I've been turned away from bars because the group of people I have been with didn't have enough "women". I've also been told I couldn't come into a bar because I was wearing a hat or not wearing collared shirt or sneakers etc. So obviously I could sit there and bang at the door and complain about it, or I could just go find the bar that fits what I am looking for. Social Networks are not needed to live, and are a luxury and owned by people and businesses, not the government. As long as their are plenty of social networks out there and as long as it is possible for anyone to create one, you can't sit there and tell google how to run theirs, no matter how stupid their policy is.

The logical thing to do is to pass on Google and Facebook if you are looking for privacy, and use one of the social networks that does. Banging at the door and going on and on about it just makes people look pathetic, and it is pathetic, and it only helps to raise the awareness of the product of the people you feel are screwing you.

So no, it is not your God given right to be on Google plus as a fake name, and if they are going to have stupid policies which they do, it is your HUMAN RIGHT however to go use a different one or start up a competitor.

There is a social network out there that only allows beautiful people in, and even goes around and deletes you even after you got in if you let yourself go or seemingly don't fit the criteria anymore. Now that may seem shallow and ridiculous and maybe it is, but are you going to tell someone who's business is a social network that is for beautiful people now they need to include the fat and the ugly?

Its not a government website, its not required, its not the only one out there, so no we cannot tell them what their criteria is for membership.

I completely understand the wanting to be anonymous on the internet and being known as a pseudonym. What I can't understand is the entitlement that says everyone needs to accommodate that wish on their own "property"

Tateru Nino

Schmidt also seems to have misspoken. It's Google Profiles that is the identity service. Google Plus is the most prominent service to rely on Google Profiles and its rules. But there's already six or seven Google services operating that way now, and Gundotra indicated that the plan was to bring *all* of Google's services into that same set in future.

Ciaran Laval

Function creep has always been the big underlying issue with these real name policies.

@Metacam Oh it's not the situation today that's the problem, it's how it pans out in the future, sites that only allow Facebook comments already restrict choice, if sites start adopting Facebook or Google identity services, choice starts getting restricted even further, now is the time to be having this debate before it gets too deeply rooted.

Metacam Oh

Ciaran: You have a point. I personally don't believe Google+ and Facebook are the future though, I think one of them will cross the line (if they haven't already) and make people wake up to what they are putting themselves into by being open and transparent on a public site that mines all your data like Facebook. I pray/think people will wake one day and realize that these two sites only are interested in selling your data and buying habits to third parties and that will be the end of this "fad". It could just be wishful thinking though.

Mark C

Metacam, you seem to have missed the point.

Neither Facebook or G+ aspire to be "a" social network. They aspire to be THE social network, and there is a good chance one of them will win out. Really Facebook nearly is, and G+ is probably the last chance for anyone to stop them.

Not that smaller, specialized social networks will cease to exist. But they will be just that: specialized, around certain interests. And none of them will matter.

A primary, general-purpose social network -- one that contains something approximating your complete "social graph" -- is most likely a natural monopoly. Like online auctions, for example. Sellers can't leave eBay even if they don't like their policies because that's where the buyers are. Buyers can't leave because that's where the sellers are. And even though I prefer G+ to Facebook, I can't really move, because only about 25% of my friends have G+ accounts, and they never post anything there anyway, because most of their friends aren't there either.

Ultimately there will probably need to be some sort of regulation, as with other monopolies.

Hamlet Au

Let me give a specific example of what I mean: Facebook recently created a spinoff company, Facebook Payments, to handle credit card transactions on the social network. At the same time, Facebook Credits are a way of getting FB users to put their credit card numbers into that system. (Up to 100 million by 2016, I forecast in a report.) A lot of insiders think the next inevitable step is to make it possible to buy stuff online on sites all over the Internet just by using Facebook Connect.

This would actually makes a lot of sense: No more hassle finding your credit card any time you want to buy something. It also means, if you don't have a Facebook account, buying stuff online will increasingly become a giant pain in the ass.

Metacam Oh

That's ridiculous Hamlet, why would every online seller shrink their possible customer base just to accommodate Facebook? If you have a hard time finding your credit card, there is already a service out there that is more than adequate that already has my trust, it is called Paypal.

Facebook is already past its climax, and anyone who uses it can see it is not as used as much as it used to be. Merchants are not going to rush to only take Facebook credits and stop taking paypal and credit cards when the hype is declining, and that only does you harm and limits who you can sell to. I think people will also have a big problem taking that next step.

Your view of the masses is like brainless sheep walking to the slaughter. I mean I thought I was down on humanity but even I don't think people are that stupid.

@Mark C - They can aspire to be whatever they want, you think Friendster and Myspace said ah there's always room for more? Seller's can't leave Ebay? What are they chained with handcuffs? They can leave Ebay if they wanted, they don't because they make money, and if Ebays policies got to a point where they felt they needed to leave, trust me they would leave and someone would start something else. Your argument is basically Ebay can take their users first born and there is nothing they can do about it. Sorry I just believe there is a breaking point, and if a company like Facebook, Google or Ebay want to go the way of Friendster and Myspace they won't dare cross that line.

No one has to be on google+ or facebook, if you are on it you are on it because you enjoy it or you are on it for a purpose, and when that purpose is gone or that enjoyment is over, you leave. People were able to keep in touch long before social networking websites were invented, and when they all move on to the next big thing, Facebook will just be a relic, and believe it or not it is already starting to take place. There is always someone with a new idea waiting to pounce, especially if the market holder is getting too big for its britches and starts infringing on its customers.

Nightbird Glineux

Google says "it's my way, or the highway."

I'm gettin' my kicks on Route 66!

Hamlet Au

"why would every online seller shrink their possible customer base just to accommodate Facebook? If you have a hard time finding your credit card, there is already a service out there that is more than adequate that already has my trust, it is called Paypal."

After 13 years of operation, Paypal only has 100 million active users. Facebook currently has 750 million active users. That's nearly 40% of users of the ENTIRE INTERNET. It'll probably reach 50% penetration next year. In the next few years, 100 million+ of them will have their credit card info in the system. Probably much more.

Also, Facebook Connect is already pervasive through the web:

"More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore's U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore's Global Top 100 websites"


Mark C

Friendster and Myspace? Don't make me laugh. They never had anything like Facebook's market penetration. Neither one existed at all outside a very limited demographic.

And again, you just don't get it. Yes, sellers could leave eBay if they didn't mind going out of business immediately. And I could join another social network if I didn't mind the trivial little fact that it would be 100% useless because none of my friends would be there. And in neither case does the lock-in effect have anything to do with the quality of the underlying product.

You might want to look up "network effects," because you're demonstrating pretty clearly that you're unfamiliar with the concept.

Mark C

"Facebook will just be a relic, and believe it or not it is already starting to take place."

Most laughable statement I've heard in a long time. Facebook is still growing at a very high rate.

Moebius Overdrive

Just because some report says internet access is a "human right", doesn't make it so.

Remember there is a digital divide. Access is convenient, and quite prevalent, but not mandatory for all transactions and interactions. Much of our modern society is based on this connectivity, but a "right"?

Is access to your local library, a "right"?
Is cable news a "right"?
Heck, is power/water/air/food, a "right"?

Wilhelmina Hinchcliffe

An introductory disclaimer - you know that one person who has never been on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or any of the numerous oddly spelled clones? That would be me. From what I've heard and read most of them seem to be the 21st century version of Geocities, except apparently there's a wifi enabled bathroom scale (http://www.withings.com/en/bodyscale) that can post your current weight to your Facebook page.

With that admission out of the way, there's a reason that things like food, shelter, and yes internet access aren't basic human rights. Most of the people on this planet don't grow their own food. They don't build their own home, and they certainly don't have their own private data center connected to a naturally occurring T1 line.

Someone else has to grow that food, build that house, corral and wrangle those data packets. When you start calling them a basic human right you're saying that it's not simply bad that everyone doesn't have them, or that it's criminal that everyone doesn't have them, but that it's a crime against humanity that someone doesn't have them.

All well and good except that now the farmers, builders, and IT staff have to provide food, homes, and internet access without being paid. Of course they can choose not to work - thereby withholding a basic human right from someone.

What do we do to people who take away someone else's life or liberty? Are we seriously considering jailing people for preventing someone from creating a Facebook account?

So now someone has to work without being paid for their skills, time, and labor, and if they refuse they're punished.

What does "slave" mean again? Also "irony" since this constitutes abrogating an actual basic human right - liberty, for a made up one - a Google+ account.

Sure that's a ridiculous example of hyperbole, but as someone once said "words mean things". Words like "basic human right" mean that depriving another person of something is making them less than human, and by using the phrase in this context it's either trying to raise a Twitter account to the level of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or it's tying to lower those actual basic human rights to the level of a Twitter account.

Hamlet Au

Well said, Wilhelmina. I'm very familiar with that libertarian argument, which is interesting on an abstract level. But in practice, the fact remains that when a private corporation or an entire industry becomes pervasive and essential to our everyday lives, the government usually asserts some claims or restrictions against it, on behalf of the citizenry. That's why we have FCC regulations on TV, radio, and cellphone usage and ownership, and why regulators curbed some of Microsoft's monopolistic moves in the 90s. (I'm talking about the US, of course, but I believe the EU is even more restrictive on this front.) I believe we're quickly reaching a point where a similar argument can be made regarding the leading social networks. I suppose you could argue that none of this should be the case, but 100 years of legal precedent has made that a very difficult case to make.

Wilhelmina Hinchcliffe

Hi Hamlet, to paraphrase Lt. Col. A. D. Wintle, "I have just written you a long response. On reading it over I have thrown it in the trash. Hoping this will meet with your approval...". It was glorious in it's length and scope, including William Hearst, the dubious originas and mandate of the FCC, free market vs crony capitialism, technology as a market force in the 20th century, and a great little bit about how when someone says "it ought to be against the law to..." they really mean "do what I want or I think the government should go and kill you".

And it may have wandered just a tad off the topic :)

I'll try to condense it somewhat.

Starting at the end and working forward, far more than 100 years of legal precedent existed in 1776, 1865, and 1920. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn't mean that it should continue to be done that way. If it did you'd be scratching NWN onto tree bark with a sharpened stone, and I can't imagine the FPS I'd be getting in SL since I'd have to hand draw each frame in the dirt with a stick :)

As regards regulatory bodies in relation to basic human rights - and I'll go all USA on this since it's the source with which I'm most familiar - the big three in the list come from the second paragraph of the US Declaration of Independence

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

To me, one of the basic themes of that statement is that these rights exist as a natural state. That others can take them from someone, but that no person can grant them to another. A rescuer can save someones life, a liberator can free someone frrom captivity, but that persons right to life and liberty exists regardless of the circumstances of their current existence no matter how idyllic or horrific.

How does one have a natural right to internet access or a Facebook account? I am alive, free, and entitled to try to enjoy that state, and no one had to do anything to get me to that state. On the other hand an inconceivable number of people have to devote a portion of their lives in order to get NWN into my home. Every component in every device between my computer and the NWN servers had to be mined or prefabricated. They had to be assembled, shipped, texted, deployed, configured, and maintained. Someone has to generate power for every router and switch from my apartment to your server host.

Aren't their efforts worth the 20 dollars per month I pay for my service? If we grant that DSL is a basic human right we're saying that preventing me from having it is the exact same as killing or imprisoning me. I don't have to pay for my life or liberty (not getting int a rant about taxes) so why should I have to pay for my basic human right of DSL?

Let me add that to me there is a difference - a very large difference - in the right to something and the right to access something. I have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I don't have the right to my DSL account, but I do have the right to purchase the service without any restrictions other than that I pay for it and abide by the terms of service to which I agreed when I signed up for the service.

Dang it, I'm still long, but at least not so rambling as the first draft :)

Metacam Oh

"Most laughable statement I've heard in a long time. Facebook is still growing at a very high rate."

@ Mark C: Most laughable? People are so fed up with Facebook they are banging at the door of Google+. Anyway I have my opinion, but maybe you can PM me inworld and let me know who you are, so when Facebook does fall off a cliff I can track you down to talk about it. Otherwise I am sure it will be hard to find the right Mark "c"

Metacam Oh

Hamlet, don't scoff at Paypal, they have 1.7 million PAYING users. Facebook has 750 million free users, probably 100 million of those fake, and could walk off the site at any moment with no investment, so please, Facebook is a glass tower waiting to crumble.

Arcadia Codesmith

The right to live, and the necessities thereof, are the most fundamental of all natural human rights - none of the other rights have any meaning whatsoever without the right to survive. We hold these truths to be self-evident and inalienable... it requires some pretty convoluted rationalization to justify allowing somebody to starve to death to be an ethical/moral stance.

Then again, the old-school Social Darwinists have gotten increasingly convoluted in both their thinking and rhetoric.

Now that that's settled... is the Internet and or social networks a basic human right? I don't think it is, not quite yet. It becomes so when access is a basic prerequisite for other rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press. I think that day is coming fast, but I don't think it's quite here yet.

When it does arrive, it is the responsibility of government to protect and enforce that right, whether by compelling corporations to comply or by owning and managing the infrastructure itself. That is a just and natural function of government.


I fear you're blinded by your own passion for the article. Keep in mind like all businesses they have a right to refuse service, and most importantly, it's their "private" property. A simple rule people forget is, "If you don't like it, don't use it." Google services while globally popular, are not required for you to survive or live a fulfilling life.


Calling social networking a basic human right is really absurd. As a person who is old enough to remember a life that pre-dated the internet, I can tell you, you can live and exist without it just fine. Seriously.


is power/water/air/food, a "right" ... yep, even tv access in some countries !!
Most over europe if you don't pay your electricity and water bills they are not allowed to cut you off... but you end up with a criminal record if you stress it.
Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

I think the usa next to china and north-korea didn't sign the above quoted universal declaration of human rights yet... so much for that part.

And if we have a short look into there:
Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks... hahahahah tell that facebook and google+

Article 27.(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits... from this some countries in the 70s guaranteed the TV access... today its the internet access...

In some countries this even includes that you cannot be rejected to open a bank-account as it is absolute necessary for todays life.

In general its a question of monopoly. As microsoft in europe had to open their source-code to make competition possible, if either facebook or google+ somewhen in the future dominate, control and therefor dictate social correspondence, interaction, necessities of human life in a certain society... they better be forced to grant access for everyone...
but tbh, i don't see it getting this far.

Nalates Urriah

Perhaps one should reconsider the definition of a RIGHT.

As it is commonly used many seem to think it means someone else has to pay for something they want.

Jim Jesus (a.k.a. machwon)

It's sad to see that people are still confused about rights. There's 2 kinds of 'rights.' Positive rights and negative rights

Negative rights like free speech, pursuit of happiness, ...etc. are rights that are inherent and are just protected by the state, not granted.

What is proposed here would be a positive 'right.' Positive rights are not rights at all, they are privileges granted to all usually by the state. Positive rights can only be afforded at an expense of others. (i.e. someone needs work and/or pay to provide it to others)

For instance. For me to have free-speech I just need me and my body. To take it away requires human action by an outside influence. A 'right' to healthcare can't be provided alone, it would require external human action and therefore a privilege.

So for the sake of accuracy, the question should be "Should social media be a free service afforded to all?"

Hamlet Au

That's not really the question I'm asking. I'm asking if the government can (and should) assert rights on behalf of its citizens against the largest social networks. For example, against arbitrarily shutting down someone's account without due process, or against "take it or leave it" assertions like Schmidt just made. And like I said, after the judge in the Bragg case rejected Linden Lab's "take it or leave it" clause, the company changed its TOS to allow for arbitration in California.

If the "rights" language rubs people the wrong way, you could ask the same question by asking, "Should the Government Regulate Social Networks on Behalf of Users Against the Network's Corporate Owners?" But, you know, that's a bigass moutful.


I agree with Hamlet on this !

And by the way I think "the Government Should Regulate Social Networks on Behalf of Users Against the Network's Corporate Owners"

The only problem at the moment is that most governements are headed by old people who do not really understand what internet and a social network is, but are still wired to think big corporation means big money, the thing they love so much...


Arcadian Vanalten

I bailed on Facebook about a year ago, and can safely say my life has NOT been appreciably diminished in any way by that move.

That being said, this has been on of the more interesting posts, with some of the more fascinating responses, I can recall seeing in a long time. I don't know that I agree fully w/ all of them, but kudos for the critical thinking skills at work.

Perhaps there IS hope for our society after all.

e (16)

Old people do understand the interwebz. They know that there was something before and that the interwebz is only one way, among lots of others, for people to communicate. When the power goes off communication still happens.

Most governments move slowly on these kinda things. Is something else that old people mostly do, go slowly and carefully. When is about laws that affect us all then is best to go slow I think and the best people at that are old and wise.

I rather have old and wise people make laws about things like Facebook if or when they maybe needed, than younger people who maybe think they cant live without it. As laws are only ever about limiting what we can do.

For what we can do within the limits then young people are better at figuring out stuff that works better for them I think. But they not have much experience at setting their own limits. Mostly just do by trial and error. Which can be quite painful sometimes not only for them but also other people.

Is how Mr Zuckerberg has built Facebook, by trial and error. When he has hurt people sometimes he just goes: OMG !!! Thats wasnt spose to happen. Oh! well I try do better next time soz! lol. Maybe one day when he is really old then we will elect him to the Parliament so he can make the laws. He will have lots of experience by then and maybe more wise (: Until then he can keep doing what he does within the limits of the laws made for him by other older and wiser people, and is ok that he can.


Really? They should regulate facebook? And what then is to stop them from imposing regulations on any arbitrary site that has any users at all?

If they specifically regulate social networks then new social networks will come up in different forms...they just won't be called that. What is a social network, really, anyway? That seems like a pretty broad and catchy term.

What criteria would a site have to have to get regulated? I could probably turn any well-populated forum database into "facebook" with a little work on the presentation.

Also, "Hey come sign up on the only government regulated social network available!" isn't really appealing to most of my friends.

I'd be pretty upset if tax dollars were being spent to analyse something so trivial and specific as facebook, then spend further dollars on discussing and drawing up umpteen revisions of some regulations. Maybe regulators should have a look at better regulating university tuition or something. Seems more...I don't know...human rightsy.

It's absolutely not going to be detrimental to anybody if they can't have/don't want a facebook account. People get by just fine without credit cards, mobile phones, cable or any TV. facebook is so low on my priority list that it seems ridiculous to have spent this much time talking about what a non-priority it is.

Ciaran Laval

@ Tekilah "I'd be pretty upset if tax dollars were being spent to analyse something so trivial and specific as facebook, then spend further dollars on discussing and drawing up umpteen revisions of some regulations. Maybe regulators should have a look at better regulating university tuition or something. Seems more...I don't know...human rightsy."

I think you will find governments have already been spending tax dollars on analysing Facebook, certainly in the UK schools and colleges have people watching Facebook for signs of cyber bullying and they were pushing Facebook to install a panic button.

I'd be surprised if public servants in other countries hadn't been analysing Facebook in one form or another.

John Lopez

The move to requiring a social network or deep link into your choice of system is already happening. I went to try out Python Fiddle, an online IDE for Python and when I clicked Login I was presented with three choices:

Twitter, Facebook or Gmail. There is no option to sign up for an independent account and it wants permissions above and beyond identity as well for the Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Likewise, my lack of a Facebook account already locks me out of commenting on several sites or even accessing some. It appears people have already decided to limit themselves to people they can hook deeply into and to reject those who prefer to avoid the social network scam.

Remember, if it is free for you, you aren't the customer, you are the product.


Its my HUMAN RIGHT to be on MYSPACE... er COMPUSERVE..er. AOL... er never mind.

Your human right is not to be an ass and assign all your identity assets to these scams called social networks.

As to abuse of information, scraped by these "free" services..we have plenty of laws that should not be removed by paid for judges...and plenty of laws that just need to be used again by moral people.

IntLibber Brautigan

I am also with Hamlet on this, and I think Jim would be too, as a fellow libertarian, the problem, however, is the issue of an individuals right to access a privately owned public accomodation, which is a contentious issue among libertarians, where some say the owner of the public accomodations property rights trumps all, while others say that the individuals right to enter the public accomodation free of discrimination is paramount. The reason why this conflict isnt applicable in social media is that each social media community is a "world" in and of itself, each avatar or user account is legally an artificial person as much as any corporation or nonprofit association.
As someone who has been "depersoned" by the LL G-team gestapo, I have a keen appreciation for the principle that there is an inherent right to exist for an avatar's corporal being as an artificial straw man for the user behind it, especially as the 3d internet becomes more and more prevalent and access by the individual to the 3d internet is more and more necessary for one's economic well being. I have, as some are aware, long argued that LL should recognise Marsh vs Alabama as the relevant caselaw, which recognises that our constitutional rights still exist when in a company owned community. This should put a legal onus upon Linden Lab to provide a codified system of due process and jurisprudent governance by peers in a transparent and open manner, rather than going the rout of a gestapo secret police method of dealing with governance issues. The entire problem of griefing exists in SL because it is a reaction against unjust treatment by those with power against those without power in the virtual environment.


Thanks to give these type of information thanks to share with us

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Wagner James Au
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Dutchie Evergreen Slideshow 29112021
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