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Thread: Facebank & The 'Libra' Currency

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    Facebank & The 'Libra' Currency

    Why we should fear the dawn of Facebank: After taking your personal data, now Facebook wants to control your money by issuing its own currency called Libra, writes the author behind The Social Network

    'Yeah, so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard just ask. I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SMS [text messages]. People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They “trust me”. Dumb fucks.’

    So wrote Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to a Harvard classmate in 2003, in messages that came to light years later.

    At that time, an early version of what became Facebook was merely a university social website, nothing like the unruly megalith it is today.

    In Zuckerberg’s vision, users will buy Libras with their home currency and then spend them on goods and services in his online world. It should also be easy — and cost next to nothing — to send Libras to other people via Facebook-owned apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp

    But even then the future boy-king of the tech world was talking about you and me — all 2.4 billion of us who willingly offer our lives, personal information and data into his company’s hands every day.

    That anecdote could be dismissed as the idle boast of a pampered undergraduate. Yet, I believe it provides a telling insight into the way Zuckerberg’s mind works and the chilling extent of his ambition.

    And this week, that ambition took a stark new turn as Zuckerberg unveiled his latest innovation: a digital currency called Libra.

    Let me take things back to basics. What is money? Money can be described as a system of confidence. A paper banknote is worthless in itself: but you and I can both believe it has value because it is backed by the state.'

    Some people have similar faith that global corporations such as Facebook, Google and Apple have the reach and resilience to successfully back a currency. Certainly, some large companies are more financially stable than certain countries.

    But we know what happens to any financial system when confidence drops out of it: runs on banks, economic collapse, chaos . . .

    In Zuckerberg’s vision, users will buy Libras with their home currency and then spend them on goods and services in his online world.

    It should also be easy — and cost next to nothing — to send Libras to other people via Facebook-owned apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

    Sounds useful? Well, perhaps: until you understand the potential for this technology to increase Zuckerberg’s immense power to previously unimagined levels.

    Over time, a system such as this will likely grow ever-larger and more pervasive. There may well come a time when life will be practically impossible without a Libra account. At that point, a corporation will have assumed the role and authority of a currency-producing superstate.


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