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Columnists

On the social

James Cary

Cary

IMPORTANT FACEBOOK NOTICE: PLEASE CUT AND PASTE THIS INTO YOUR STATUS:

FaceBook has changed its default privacy settings. They did this without telling anyone and so now anyone in the world can see that you're hungry and want a biscuit, or view an out-of-focus picture of your cat by a bar heater. This is gross violation of users rights and governments, employers and advertisers can find all about you and target their marketing accordingly. But this can be prevented. Simply go to your settings, at the top right, above the advert for internet dating (despite the fact your status indicates: Married (LOL)), go to 'User settings' and then 'Information' and double-click 'Privacy' while holding down the space bar, ensuring your computer is plugged into this mains at this point. You should see an information box that says the following:

Hello, Britishers. FaceBook here. We're like a usable, friendly, pastel-coloured version of the internet. Thanks to us, you can magically link up with friends all over the world, old school buddies, work colleagues (why?) and take a good look at someone you fancied when you were 15 now that they're 37. Whoa. Scary. You could have married that. But here's the amazing thing. You can do this without having to write any Java script, Html or MaxiCom 9. There's no such thing as MaxiCom 9. We made it up. But you had no way of knowing about that because you don't know about computers, do you? But we do. And we built FaceBook. Using Maxicom 9, for all you know. And you know what else we did? We wrote a smartphone app so you can use this social network 24/7. Some of you do seem to use it 24/7. Get a life! Ha ha (joking). And do you know how much all this cost you? Zero pounds. So let's talk about that for a minute.

The fact is, we need to pay for stuff and we're pretty sure you won't pay a monthly subscription. That would be the simplest and neatest solution. A few pounds a month doesn't seem much for something you use quite a lot and that keeps you in touch with the people who make life worth living. Like, I don't know, a phone? But you want everything for free. Even though you must know that nothing really is free. Your NHS isn't free. It's free when you use it, but you're paying for it. Boy oh boy, are you paying for it! (About £8000 per person per year. And you think our insurance system is crazy (which it is, LOL).)

Someone, somewhere is paying for everything. And, yikes, do we have bills to pay? Programmers are not cheap. The upside of being a socially outcast geek is a whopping pay cheque. The fact they choose not to spend any of that money on decent clothes, healthy food or personal hygiene is not our concern. Then there's the eye-watering bandwidth bills, and huge energy-guzzling server centres that we built all over the world. And yes, now we have investors and shareholders who aren't just expecting to get their money back but would like something like a return. And one of our investors is Bono. And you don't want to see him when he's angry. He clicks his fingers and people die.

So, we're trying to make money because you're not giving us a dime. (Do Brits have an equivalent of a dime? Hey, I just read the word 'dime' out loud in British accent. LOL.) That's why we're always trying it on with the privacy settings. That's why we're trying to link other apps to FaceBook. Because we think, somehow, this will make us some money.

That's why we linked to your Spotify account and told your friends when you were listening to 'Rollercoaster' by B*Witched. I don't know why you're so embarrassed about that. They were a perfectly decent girl band and pretty good role models for little girls. (They wore denim, didn't they?) And talking of Spotify, loads of you give those dudes £5 a month. Why can't we have that? Man, you people.

So, that's why we want you to click this box below. By doing so, you are agreeing with the following statement:

I understand that FaceBook is free. But I'm not an idiot. I understand everything has to be paid for. And so, I understand that I am the product. And so I will stop whining.

Thank you.

James Cary