Prepare to Vomit

emp Are you an American woman? Yes? Then your main problem in life must be the comparative difficulty of being appointed CEO of a major corporation. So obvious.

And how do you solve this problem? Well, you work harder!

Such is the “feminist” pose about to be launched by the utterly vile creature known as Sheryl Sandberg, whom we TCTers have met before. She is the scionette of a Florida eye-surgery empire who converted her inherited advantages talent and labor into a career as a leading data-scraping executive within the corporate marketing juggernaut.

According to The New York Times, Sandberg is about to unleash her solipsistic “project,” which will apparently be called “Lean In.” The idea is that she will be coaching those who join on how to do what she did. That, of course, was to work hard! [Of course!] And now, all her greatness and effort is becoming a social movement!

“I always thought I would run a social movement,” Ms. Sandberg, 43, said in an interview.

Holy pancakes, Batman, these fuckers are way more gonzo than you can even imagine. Orwell is flat out of a job.

Instagram and Exploitation

exploitation A small bit of good news: There has apparently been an “explosion of Instagram bashing” since Monday’s announcement by that Facebook subsidiary that it was changing its membership terms. The change, now retracted (no doubt temporarily), read as follows:

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your user name, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata) and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

In Marxian (and also human) terms, this is quite interesting and important, as it would represent the expansion of exploitation — the seizure of the proceeds of unpaid labor-time — into the realm of social media usage. When and if Facebook accomplishes this trick — and history strongly suggests it will, eventually, if it hasn’t already, people who use its “services” will be doing unpaid work for it as users.

Analyze This!

finger As we TCTers know, Facebook is in the marketing business — nothing more, nothing less. Its reason for existence is to make money by providing other major corporations with a new and improved vehicle for spying on people’s off-the-job habits and preferences.

As such, Facebook is 100 percent subject to the logic of big business marketing, including its competitive, ceaseless expansion and refinement.

Hence, the recent news that Facebook’s subordinate property, the Instagram photo-sharing “service,” has recently started offering Facebook’s real clients access to the new GazeMetrix image analyzer.

What’s that, you ask? Per Advertising Age:

Instagram’s rise is spawning an ecosystem of startups such as Statigram and Nitrogram looking to provide analytics to brands….GazeMetrix’s ability to see what’s inside photos without relying on hashtags to interpret which are relevant is its differentiator.

GazeMetrix is an early stage startup with image-recognition software to let brands track where their logos are being photographed across social media….The idea is to give brands a window into how their logos are representing them, as well as an opportunity to contact users who’ve posted photos of Starbucks cups or cats hugging Coke bottles, and ask for permission to republish them on their own channels.

Of the 25 brands GazeMetrix is tracking, Starbucks is tops in terms of the volume of photos featuring its logo. Runners-up are Coca-Cola, BMW, Monster Energy, Google and Corona.

Translated into English, what this says is that Facebook is gaining the ability to collect data on its victims not only through the words they click on and type, but also through computerized recognition and analysis of the pictures and symbols they post.

TCT wonders: How long until there are Facebook Life Cameras© hung in every home?

Triumph of the Shill

At right, you see photos of a pair of historical sisters. At top is Leni Riefenstahl, maker of history’s most infamous propaganda film. Below Ms. Reifenstahl is Rebecca Van Dyck, overseer of one of history’s most recent propaganda films. Though Van Dyck would undoubtedly feel outraged at the observation, the fact is that she performs exactly the same work as Reifenstahl: Making emotional advertisements for extremely dangerous ruling organizations and classes.

Van Dyck’s new product is the 90-second “emotional spot” she produced on behalf of our friends at Facebook, in her capacity there as VP of “consumer marketing.”

Van Dyck’s dishonesty about the nature of her employer and the motives of her film-making are as breath-taking as it gets.

Regarding Facebook, here’s her explanation to Ad Age:

The film, titled “Things That Connect,” opens with a series of artful, emotional vignettes of people sitting and interacting on chairs — before moving on to other objects and events through which folks come together, such as a doorbell, airplanes, bridges or a basketball game. The point being, that all these things exist, perhaps, to remind us that we’re not alone.

“What we’re trying to articulate is that we as humans exist to connect, and we at Facebook to facilitate and enable that process,” explained Van Dyck.

So, which do you believe, dear TCT faithful? The claim that Facebook is a charity doing social work on behalf of its users, or its founder and CEO’s statement that “Our business is advertising”? Van Dyck thinks you’re too uninformed and stupid to make the call. (She also relies on the fact that the contrast will remain concealed from her film’s target audience.)

The timing of Van Dyck’s psy-op is certainly no accident, either, as it exactly overlaps Facebook’s just-announced (to its real end-users) further removal of restrictions on marketer access to its unprecedented demographic and behavioral databases.

For those who need to look at the car crash, here you go:

Sheryl Sandberg Sucks

sandberg The New York Times today runs a shameless butt-kiss piece on Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Contrary to the thesis of the NYT, which is that Sandberg is somehow a new sort of feminist as well as a “self-made” (a word used twice in the story) business genius, Sandberg might actually be even more odious than either Facebook or its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, both heavyweight champeens in the field of being hard to take.

According to the story, Sandberg considers it her mission to deny the impact of social structure and political policy on women. “[I]n her view,” the Times reporter explains, women “must take responsibility for their careers and not blame men for holding them back.”

Ms. Sandberg sees herself as more than an executive at one of the hottest companies around — more, too, than someone who will soon rank among the few self-made billionaires who are women. She sees herself as a role model for women in business and technology. In speeches, she often urges women to “keep your foot on the gas pedal,” and to aim high.

And, as she engages in such trite talk about “men” and fails to mention social class or the backward state of U.S. family welfare programs, exactly how self-made is Ms. Sandberg?

According to her 2004 NYT wedding announcement, “She is a daughter of Adele and Joel Sandberg of Miami. The bride’s father, an ophthalmologist, is a partner in Eye Surgery Associates, a group practice in Hollywood, Fla.”

Well, there you have it. Aren’t those the same basic conditions facing all little girls? Daddy’s a surgeon and I’m prepping for Harvard — I refuse to slip and have to go to FSU! And baseball starts at third base, right?

And is Sandberg spending her every hour trying to turn Facebook’s billions into better services, as her creepy CEO would have you presume? Um, unless you’re a major Procter & Gamble shareholder, not quite:

Part of Ms. Sandberg’s role has been to cultivate relationships with large advertisers seeking new ways to engage with customers — particularly female ones — online. She was instrumental in signing up advertisers like Procter & Gamble. After several meetings with Facebook, Procter chose the platform for a new Secret deodorant campaign aimed at young women.

“P.& G. wants to be where the people are, and more and more people are spending their time on social sites,” says Alex Tosolini, vice president of Procter’s global e-business unit. “The purpose of our Secret campaign was to inspire women of all ages to be more fearless.”

It’s a message that sounds similar to Ms. Sandberg’s. And it bumped domestic sales of Secret deodorant by 9 percent in the first six months of the campaign and raised Secret’s market share by 5 percent from the period a year earlier.

Glory, glory hallelujah! What great times we live in!