Perhaps you’ve heard that before. Perhaps you’ve seen this (hilarious) image:
But OH MY GOD relax! All that’s really being sold is a marketing profile of you. Never before in history have you ever been given so much in return for such information. Yes, before, it was obvious, when you filled out an entry form to win the beautiful car parked behind velvet ropes at the mall, that you were exchanging your address and phone number for a 1 in a million chance of winning the car. Now it’s not so obvious, but it’s the same thing and the service that Facebook provides is nothing short of amazing. Much better than a 0.0001% chance of winning a car.
So, yes, Facebook is free for perfectly capitalist reasons. It’s ok. Really.
All the other complaints in this article about how FB threatens to Zuck up the human race? They’re legit, but singling out Facebook is overreaching. These problems are the inevitable outgrowth of our increasingly connected technological environment. It was always going to be the case that we’d start to abuse that easy connectivity just as we abuse easy access to food. See Diseases of affluence on Wikipedia.
You might as well blame Cisco.