One cannot go online today without eventually being asked to accept a set of so-called Terms of Service. These "terms" are actually legal contracts between the user and the online service provider, despite the fact that users never get a chance to negotiate their contents and can even be entirely unaware of their existence.
Ticking the box, “I have read and agree to the Terms,” is one of the biggest lie on the web today. Almost no one really reads the terms of service they agree to, despite agreeing to various terms on a regular basis. Whether subscribing to a free or paid service or app, a user must agree to pages of legalese despite the fact that many users ignore them and blindly click “I Agree” without understanding the contractual obligations they’re committing themselves to.
In this project which was part of Infographic course led by Roni Levit in the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design I took the content of the “terms of service” of the leading online services that we use on a daily basis (Including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tinder ect.) and i printed them on a standard A4 wide scroll with a standard legal contract font size and type. After printing this so called terms, I hanged the scrolls in the gallery at the academy, added the amount of words and the time it takes to read each scroll. My main goal was to emphasis how small, helpless and harmful are we against this giant corporates.
Out of the almost 8 billion people in the world, just over 2 billion have Facebook profiles. That’s one-quarter of the world’s population. To give you some perspective, according to the international organization WaterAid, one-third of the global population doesn’t have a toilet.
With those kinds of numbers, it’s fair to assume that most of us have some kind of social media presence and that if we have a specific social media profile, that profile is Facebook. Facebook launched in 2004 and rapidly spread across the globe, supporting almost every language out there. While becoming the most popular social platform in the world, Facebook has faced complex internal policy decisions like how to balance freedom of speech, on the one hand, while protecting its users on the other.
In this project, I’ve tackled this dilemma. Using Facebook has become an integral part of our lives and for many, a significant way to communicate with others. Not many know, but Facebook has rules, and these rules include a set of guidelines that control how we can behave within the platform. This is a rare example of a multi-billion dollar commercial company that is dictating to 2.3 billion people worldwide how they should behave and what is and isn’t moral. This notion brought me to ask myself the question: should a commercial company decide what is right and what is wrong for over one-quarter of the world’s population?
Facebook is aware of the ethical challenge this question poses and invests a tremendous amount of energy, time and resources in answering it. Although many of us believe that a super smart artificial intelligence algorithm is moderating Facebook’s content, this is only partially true. Even with today’s technological advancements, an algorithm still isn’t good enough for ethics and morality, and that’s why Facebook employs, via third-party channels, 7,500 people to comb through and clean up the world’s biggest junkyard. These employees, usually based in developing world countries like India and the Philippines, review millions of data items per day. As they review, they have just a few seconds to differentiate between right and wrong, and decide if to ignore and keep a piece of content live, or if to hit delete.
Facebook is trying hard to be portrayed as a neutral, safe company for its users, and claims that its “Community Guidelines” were formulated by human rights specialists, academic experts, and users. One year ago, the British daily newspaper The Guardian gained access to Facebook’s internal documents which outline the real way Facebook is moderating content. Learning the real review process might make us wonder at what stage human rights specialists are involved.
In this book, I’ve aggregated Facebook content. The book begins with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s 6,000-word manifesto on how Facebook is contributing to the world, and is followed by Facebook’s official “Community Guidelines,” which teach us, on a very high level, how we should behave. This is coupled with unofficial content leaked to The Guardian to articulate the moral rules that we are all obeying. Warning: This book contains extremely disturbing graphic visuals that can shock, offend and upset.
The Alchemist is a concept title sequence based on the book by Paulo Coelho