Unfortunately, it says something stupid.
By now you’ve probably heard about the baby named Facebook. If you haven’t, crawl out from under your rock and turn on the news. You won’t be able to make it five minutes before being barraged by stories of Social Networking and how it’s changing the Arab world, one revolution at a time. As a result of the recent historic political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, one particularly grateful man in Egypt decided to name his new daughter “Facebook” in honor of the social networking site’s role in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the long-ruling former Egyptian dictator.
This is a beautiful sentiment, and really quite a statement about the power of social networking to bring people together and give voice to the masses, but is strange to say the least. Perhaps it’s easier to swallow if you’re a non-english speaking person, enchanted with the sound of it, or enthralled by the meaning given to it by the overthrow of an oppressive dictator. Perhaps to an Arab speaking person Facebook is no less awkward a name than Taj Mahal or Africa is to an American. Facebook is incredible. I’m certainly not trying to deny it. It has allowed communication between people like no tool before it even came close to doing. And yet Facebook is a company, not a charity. It’s no different from naming your child Microsoft or Halliburton. It’s extremely cool that through Facebook these revolutions were organized and information was distributed, but to make it your child’s namesake is, in this author’s opinion, a bit much. Maybe I’m just afraid that Mark Zuckerberg already has a big enough head, and people naming their children after Facebook will only serve to inflate his ego more and further fuel his drive to take over the world.
Ten years down the road, people in Egypt will remember this uprising and they will remember the actions in Tahrir Square that led to Mubarak’s departure. Many of them will likely remember that Facebook was integral in the organization of these revolts. But will Facebook still be a hero? In the next year or so Facebook will be going public and Zuckerberg will likely be one of the wealthiest men alive. Facebook will grow and expand. It could become huge. Ten years from now when Facebook owns your mortgage, provides credit cards at a high rate, and buys up and out spends smaller businesses, will the citizens of the world still hold it in such high regard? If Facebook is as loathed in 2019 as Microsoft was in 2003, would anybody have the guts to tell you their name was “Facebook”?
Facebook has played an amazing role in a still-unfolding series of political awakenings in the Muslim World. The website will be much-discussed for many years, but the company is still very new. Its future is uncertain. Ten years from now, will Facebook be as revered as it is today? This author thinks not.