Facebook and Goebbels?

Friday, I posted an article about Facebook, in which I quoted Sean Parker, a former Facebook executive, giving a warning that social networks have the power now to alter society and not for the better. One day after that, the Canadian ‘National Post’ ran an article in which this same Sean Parker is being mentioned, but also someone else who was involved in the startup of Facebook: Roger McNamee.

McNamee is also quite critical about Facebook, but that is not my point this time. What is interesting is the way in which the National Post published this article. McNamee is being quoted as saying: “In order to maintain your attention they have taken all the techniques of Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels, and all of the other people from the world of persuasion, and all the big ad agencies, and they’ve mapped it on to an all-day product with highly personalized information in order to addict you. We are all to one degree or another addicted.”

Interesting, to see the name ‘Goebbels’ mentioned here. As soon as you are able to link someone or something to anything related to Hitler, then you have set the tone: this is bad, this is very bad. But is that really true? Is Facebook really conscientiously copying practices of Goebbels, and indirectly of Hitler? If we have a good look at this quotation, we will notice that Goebbels in his propaganda made use of techniques which have been used and are being used by all other people from the world of persuasion and all the big ad agencies. So, the name Goebbels could just as well have been left out.

However, what the National Post does, is taking the name Goebbles and putting it in the headline. Now it must be clear: Facebook is bad, it works like the Nazis did. Although I agree, that the goal of Facebook is not to build communities but just to get power over all its users, I also believe that this is the goal of all big business and their attempts to advertisement. Facebook is no different.

Yes, as I stated in my previous article, it is important for us to be aware of the dangers of Facebook, and we must know how to make a good use of Facebook. However, also in addressing the dangers and fighting our enemies, we must obey God’s commandments and there is also a ninth commandment which speaks about not condemning rashly and unheard. And that is exactly what is happening here in the way the National Post is presenting their article about Facebook. Let this not be the way we as Christians argue.