March 14, 2013
Janet Warren Likes Walmart
Janet Warren was one one of those impossibly wonderful girls.
Not just pretty, not just smart, but nice and pleasant and friendly. Often her father would have letters to the editor published in The New York Times. She was a cheerleader with actual cheer.
Naturally, she had no idea I existed. But she lived in the next building, and her sister was friendly with my sister.
I was in Los Angeles once, years after high school, and I saw her in a popular restaurant. She was with a group of obviously high-performance individuals, and she was the star of the crowd. I studied her from across the room. She was in her early 30's and had an ethereal almost-hippie, almost-executive look and manner. I found out, years later, that she had been the producer of some pretty important movies.
Years passed and as circumstances sometimes unfold, I had occasion to have lunch with her. I explained to her who I was, and of course, she didn't remember me. She was still lovely in that way that women over 50 can be lovely if they dress simply and tastefully and don't have surgery and don't try to be 20.
She had adopted a child. She was active in many organizations that worked for social justice. She was no longer an active producer, but still had great poise and presence.
We exchanged a few emails following our lunch. I wanted to become friends, but after a while she gracefully stopped emailing, saying she was too busy. I knew what that meant. Several months later I was surprised when she friended me on Facebook.
Lately, on my Facebook page, I find ads that tell me that "Janet Warren Likes Walmart."
If there is one thing that I would bet my house on, it is this -- Janet Warren does not like Walmart. In fact, I would bet she has never set foot in a Walmart. I'd bet that if she knew Walmart was using her to sell their wares, she'd be horrified.
But that's what Facebook does. It uses you, without your specific permission, to create advertising for its clients. You are the leverage. It's not like a testimonial in any other medium where they need a signed release to use your name and likeness. Facebook has rigged the system so that if you are somehow connected to someone who said something about Walmart and you happened to "like" what they said, well then as far as Facebook is concerned you like Walmart. And if their algorithm likes you, then you are now the new spokesperson for Walmart. Congratulations.
This is not healthy. It is uber-false advertising. It is not ethical. Our billionaire friends in the tech industry try to pass themselves off as high-minded visionaries. In fact they are turning out to be corrupt and unconcerned about our rights and privacy.
Janet Warren does not like Walmart. But Faceberg is trying to build an unscrupulous empire by claiming that she does.