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Technology & Innovation

In Defense of Facebook

Responding to Zadie Smith's recent criticism of Facebook, Jonah Lehrer says online networks are evidence of our humanity—our drive to be social with one another.

While I’m sympathetic to many of [Zadie] Smith’s critiques of Facebook—the site is easy to eviscerate—I think she’s making a similar mistake, and is obsessing over the incidental details of the technology (the upholstery of the carriage, so to speak) while ignoring what really matters, which is that underlying need to connect with other people. Technology has an impact. Facebook is a fascinating and perplexing phenomenon. But I have enough faith in our relationships to know that they won’t be obliterated by a few ads on a website. When Facebook is over, when we’ve moved on to a new social technology with a new way of monetizing our connections in exchange for free storage space, what will remain is what always remains: human nature.

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