Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters. The company is planning an IPO for May 18.
If you'd like to hear no end of dime-store philosophy and quasi-futurist blah-blah about our glorious networked future, then you really need to watch the video that Facebook produced for its IPO roadshow. It's designed to get investors excited, so bear that it mind while you watch tight t-shirt Mark Zuckerberg and his merry soon-to-be-millionaires hacker band outline a world in which billions of people spend considerable chunks of time providing Facebook with immense amounts of free content and labor in exchange for having their activities sold to advertisers.
I've conducted some informal surveys about this issue — the free-labor-and-content-being-turned-into-$100-billion thing — and found that, for the most part, people who use Facebook either haven't given that question any thought or don't care. They may be acting out of their economic self-interest, but the counterargument I generally get is that Facebook produces a product that they love and can't avoid using.