Facebook is huge, and getting bigger by the day. What’s more, its tendrils have begun to find their way into everyday life with some websites using Facebook Connect for users to login, and even using the social network to serve court summons. More and more it’s getting hard to stay away from Facebook and its somewhat odious terms of service. German Internet artist Tobias Leingruber is keenly aware of Facebook’s omnipresence, which is why he went ahead and made himself a Facebook ID card. And he’ll make you one, too.
The card is modeled off Facebook’s color scheme, and includes (of course) your real name, Facebook user name, the country code Facebook uses to discern different nations, the date you joined the social network, the unique user ID number Facebook assigns its users, and a QR code linked to your Facebook page. It is, in short, a physical tie between the user and their online identity.
Leingruber’s creation is far from accepting of this brave new reality. Rather, his ID cards are a pointed critique of how users are becoming increasingly comfortable with corporations “owning” a piece of their identity. He writes:
Governments like Germany have released new passports that offer online identity checks as well, but they will likely never succeed with their technologies given the already existing structure of Facebook, powered by lazieness (or convience). The other way around though – A future where a Facebook Identity becomes more important than any governments’ doesn’t seem unrealistic. This possible future is already half-way there.
He challenges people to use their Facebook ID cards as an act of protest, saying they should present it to anyone that wishes to confirm their identity. After all, Facebook has an enormous amount of personal information, and is in some cases even more useful in confirming someone’s identity than standard ID. The only real difference, Leingruber seems to want us to realize, is the validity carried by a country’s name on our identity — rather than a website.
Leingruber finishes his introduction of the Facebook ID with this stirring line:
The user’s next battle is about nothing less but who controls your identity, and we still might have something to say about it.
For those looking to fight that fight, or perhaps just want their own Facebook ID card, simply seek Leingruber out at the Unlike Us Conference in Amsterdam or Supermarkt Berlin. More information can be found on Leingruber’s site.
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