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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Anti-Facebook Revolution

Face-to-Facebook is a project by Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico. The two artists stole one million Facebook profiles, filtered them through face-recognition software, selected their 250,000 favorites, grouped them by facial expression (smug, climber, funny, easy-going etc.) and uploaded them to a custom-made dating website, Lovely Faces.
Facebook is too crowded to be a home, claim Cirio and Ludovico, and too familiar to be a street. It's an "eternal, illusory party." And they decided to crash it.

Facebook sent a message too - a cease-and-desist letter - because the artists (activists, pirates, assholes) had raided their data.
Mark Zuckerberg knows exactly how wrong this is, having pillaged Harvard's system back in the day to create his Facebook prototype, FaceMash.
Facebook's privacy controversy last year piqued the collective consciousness about online security. On Facebook and many other sites, we re-embody ourselves through data and surrender our data bodies to the powers that be.
A lot of people find this terrifying and a lot of people don't. A lot of people care, but aren't sure why and a lot of people don't care and aren't sure why. I, for one, while not so perturbed, also know that future me is often disappointed by present me's decision-making. I am therefore withholding judgment.
But Google hasn't.

Facebook Resistance is plotting the insurrection. The plan is to scramble the website's homogenized layout, which tidied the messiness and creativity of a Geocities or a Myspace into a 2.0 repository of economically valuable data.
"It's like if everyone's living room had the same Ikea furniture," said Tobias Leingruber, the artist spearheading Facebook Resistance.
Already one million people, Leingruber claims, have downloaded the plug-in and "disliking" is part of their Facebook reality.
Other viral acts of vandalism in the works include custom wallpapers, a gender spectrum slider, the ability to list multiple romantic partners and to manically graffiti your friend's wall.
Some of the ideas are political, while others are as pointed as a kid with a crayon. But the idea is to restore fundamental principles that Facebook, and other sites like it, threaten: The importance of being anyone and not just someone, and of taking control of your online identity, before someone comes along and tags you as "smug."

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