By Christian Chen, Staff Writer
Ah, Facebook, the wonderful social media platform that allows you to reconnect and interact with friends, post pictures and videos of your best memories in life, and…the beginning of a real life totalitarian society?
For those of you who do not know what I am speaking of, “The Circle” is the name of a book (turned into a film in 2017) that imagines a dystopian company that has total control of internet traffic in order to better serve users and advertisers, a world where everything you do and watch is seen by other people with almost no privacy whatsoever.
The story in both the movie and the book is a work of fiction, but some people say the movie and book have become a rather sinister reality. Some have claimed that, like “The Circle,” Facebook will, hypothetically, eventually have cameras everywhere too. You could still be tracked even while not using the app. People will first start streaming what they like. Not long after, being watched could become inescapable. As you well know, the platform tracks other pages with their “like” buttons and other tracking methods. Facebook will show you how many people are nearby with both beacons and location services. Instant articles let publishers make Facebook content without leaving the site and chat bots could promise to deliver all your info through the messaging system.
Some people have gone so far as to say that the movie and book both match up quite closely to reality to the point where it’s almost “spot on.” One Facebook employee has claimed that, much like the Circle’s interest in the democratic voting process, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has embarked on his tour of all 50 states. Furthermore, He has recently touted Facebook’s power as a tool to boost voter registration.
Then you have Facebook Live, which already allows you to see everything. Much like the Circle’s SeeChange app, Facebook Live was intended for good, but it has also been used for evil, with people recording torture, rape and murder on the application, in addition to positive actions in life. From this, people have concluded that, although “The Circle” is a work of fiction, Facebook may become its very real and equally terrifying counterpart.
Even though I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the movie (though I haven’t read the book), I must say that the premise behind the story, though it could be plausible, may not happen for another twenty or thirty years. It’s not like Facebook will get that powerful in a year or two. Like I have said before, “The Circle” is just a work of fiction. Some aspects may be similar to reality, but I doubt reality will totally turn out like the movie would.
If anything, Facebook may not even reach that point in real life at all. All I can say for now is, it is scarily close to the scenario presented in “The Circle,” but not that close.