David Mitchell on Facebook: “Listen guys deal with it. When you are getting something for free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product”

David Mitchell is not, by his own admission, on the technological cutting edge.  But this gives him the perspective that allows him to really nail Facebook in a way that the Scoble’s of the world might miss.  Read his column published in this Sunday’s The Observer.  It is very funny, as you would expect, but it has some spot on observations.  Thus:

… when Facebook signs a multimillion-dollar advertising deal with drinks manufacturer Diageo, there’s not much parents can do except complain and stock up on Hello Kitty cocktail glasses. Facebook points out that alcohol-related pages are only accessible to users pretending to be over 18 (those pretending the opposite really cheapen the brand) and says: “We care a lot about people, young and old.” We’ll be the judge of that, HAL. It didn’t say: “Listen, guys, deal with it. When you’re getting something free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”


Facebook isn’t aspiring to be Cable & Wireless or AT&T, major players within a medium; it wants to be the whole telephone network.

Read it and chuckle.

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