One of Facebook’s biggest sins is against language

Tech culture has taken normal words and repurposed them as a new form of jargon

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that his company is investigating every app with access to the Facebook platform in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Video: CNN

Facebook is guilty of many things, but leaving aside the vast, scandalous surveillance programme it has created while apparently knowing everything about its “users” and little about its app developers, one of its biggest sins is against language. Corporate language is all terrible, of course, but wrestling with tech rhetoric is like trying to wrestle with a cloud. You know it’s there, it’s so visible, but you can’t grab it. 

The latest Facebook disaster, a scandal so immense that it should, by rights, bring the whole thing crashing down, provides us with an opportunity to examine Mark Zuckerberg’s awkward communication up close. It’s often the case that a company with a particular purpose finds that difficult to personify. And so, Zuckerberg can’t connect with people.

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