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  • 05.02.17

A Facebook employee says “The Circle” is just like Facebook

The movie, based on the 2013 novel by Dave Eggers, is about a Facebook-type social media giant that turns evil and basically tramples over all of its users’ privacies and freedoms. Sound farfetched? One current Facebook employee simply referred to as “Dan” told the Guardian the movie is “spot on”:

• Some of the parallels between TruYou and Facebook hit home to Dan, a self-described “nobody” at Facebook who asked not to be identified to protect his job. The “overall vibe” of the tech company’s campus, with its constant activities like doga (yoga, with dogs) and visiting Tibetan monks, was “spot on,” he said, as was the general enthusiasm of employees for their employer. “They’re all so happy to be there,” Dan said. “It’s insane.”

• Just as SeeChange quickly devolved from fun and games to humiliation and death, so too has Facebook Live devolved from Chewbacca Mom to live-streamed rape, torture, suicide, and murder. “Those are the sorts of mistakes Facebook would make,” Dan said of The Circle‘s faith in transparency and accountability through constant surveillance, “where they thought they were doing good but couldn’t control it.”

“As far as collecting everyone’s information and monetizing it, that’s already being done,” Dan said. “It’s not some dark, sci-fi dystopia. It’s reality.” 

And that’s a reality that is much more interesting and troubling than the techno-Hogwarts we’re treated to by The Circle. No one elected Mark Zuckerberg for anything, but he has been liked by nearly 90m on Facebook and his power is arguably greater than any head of state.

“If you control information, you can control people’s minds, and Facebook is the one that decides all of this,” Dan said. “[Zuckerberg] runs Facebook. Why would he want to run for president? He’s already president of the world.”

MG