by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Musing on News: Facebook Feedback Not So 'Friend'ly?


 A newsstand in Rome...some today don't even remember
when all there were was newspapers!
photo credit: Ed Yourdon

These are just thoughts of an astrologer sitting listening to the news...

Did you hear about Facebook? It got some ‘gotten useful feedback’ over this past (long) weekend.

(That would be ‘long’ in the United States were Martin Luther King Day was this past Monday)

Facebook had been moving into the idea of ‘list selling’ (aka ‘list rental’) – which is a common practice in many arenas. If you use a service, if you sign onto a roster, often enough that company/organization ‘rents’ or ‘sells’ lists of information - including yours - to other companies. Those companies (or individuals) use that information to do anything - from generating statistical bombarding you with combining that list with other lists in order to learn more and more (and more) about you.

So...remember that January 4th Solar Eclipse? It hit the 3rd house Capricorn Moon/Juno of Facebook’s natal chart. Apart from the whole and greater sense of what Solar Eclipses do when they hit your chart with any exactitude (namely, describe a change of life)...this is a company we're talking about, not a person.

Even so, the effects are not so amazing. Eclipses tend to exacerbate the difficult or reveal the flaws with something, all of which may make this whole list selling thing equally distasteful, sure. But amazing? Not at least astrologically.

In a person, the 3rd house is thinking, organization, communication and mentality. In a nation or corporate chart, the 3rd is corporate planning and the company's 'outlook' and its operational intake/outflow of information.

In Facebook's chart, we have three figures of absolute note in this corporate 3rd house: the Moon, Pluto and Juno. The eclipse hit Facebook's Juno and Moon - Pluto was just a lucky bystander.

Or...okay...maybe not lucky. That remains to be seen!

But as noted to reader Annette who just yesterday  morning commented on the Full Moon post – the Moon is always a symbol of values and money. In Capricorn, sign of structure and business, we would immediately go to 'business money' and with all this being in the 3rd house evolve the concept to business money planning...or use of information to create (earn) more money for the business.

As for Juno, Juno is an interesting symbol…the basic image of the mythic Juno is of the protective mama bear who defends home, hearth and family.

And yet...and yet....all is not always so nifty in Greek myth. Those Greek gods are so totally full of human foibles! In the case of Juno (which is actually the Roman name for Hera) we refer not merely to mama bear defender of home and kiddies, we add in a liberal bucketful of shrewish if betrayed wife.

Yes - that Hera (Juno) Wife of chief Olympian Jupiter (Zeus), Juno is not just the consort wife-in-chief, she is by any measure, the classic matriarch of household. So whether we're talking about a man, woman, nation or company, wherever we see Juno, we tend to find a fine-point balance between 'entitled' and 'entitlement.'

So in this Facebook chart, whether Juno is (in the long run) entitled or entitlement is up for grabs - we'll probably learn a lot more at the end of the 3-year solar eclipse cycle. But that as the eclipse manifested Facebook stubbed its toe against something which may have made people feel it was swaying a little towards the entitlement side?

Tres interesting. That this happened as the Sun kept on rolling along and hit first the 'right or wrong' IC point (we all wobble a bit in life!) and then Chiron, a point known to point up our 'oops!' moments?

So of course the news is all abuzz with how people should check privacy policies on websites and how hardly anybody does...and all that.

And yes, we should. And no, we all don't. But when it comes to Facebook....well, should we?

That's where the little Pluto thing comes in. With Pluto lurking just inside Facebook's 3rd house cusp, if Facebook wants to keep user information private, it can. If it decides not to, this is a company likely to do whatever it can to get around the rules.

(LINK to article on Facebook.)

Do we know which company Facebook really is? Well...maybe. If you Google around looking for comments (Google is another data collector, by the by) you'll find comments on Facebook's departure policy.There are even a couple of posts detailing how users need to go through both steps in leaving Facebook since the first only pulls your page down and it's the second which evidently deletes your data from the Facebook computers - the whole process taking a couple of weeks to complete.

That sounds a wee bit Plutonic to me - by which I mean Pluto in the 'controlling' sense. But it all does make sense. After all, users pay no user fee - Facebook has to make is money somehow, right? Without income, how does Facebook buy all those computers (or computer time) and hold the network together?

It just ain't free!

And certainly Facebook isn't the only company which stores, rents or sells data. Not by a long shot.

But astrologically, the interesting thing here is the timing. As the weekend of January 15/16 was coming into being, Pluto ended a sextile to Facebook’s Uranus. Then there was this ‘we’re going to think about all this feedback we’ve just gotten’ announcement which went out at the first of the week - just as Jupiter squared Facebook's Black Moon Lilith as Mercury conjuncted the corporate Moon.

What does that mean? Hold your horses...we're getting there! That means that Facebook’s enormous and seemingly inexorable (Pluto in 3) 'information growth' as having 'connected to an opportunity' (the sextile) with  Uranus as the internet, Uranus as the society and Uranus as networking had done it's job.

Not to mention Pluto sextile Uranus as a rather perfect picture of the seemingly unstoppable word-of-Plutonic-mouth about  Facebook which then broke  through (Uranus) the social consciousness (Uranus yet again!).

And yet, all that ended. And as fast as it ended on the 14th, that particular sort of 'magic' was over. And as soon as it was done, Facebook got a Jupiter/Lilith square: knowledge or knowing (Jupiter) that there is a problem/challenge (square) coming from a Society or Societal Force (Lilith).

And where is Lilith in this chart? In the 9th house - a house of information Gemini, the sign of information.

Oh - and did I mention Lilith is at a "critical" degree? On one hand, this 'critical' degree thing is always intensity. But in the 9th, as concerns Lilith? That's also 'criticism' pretty plain and clear.

Which is rather worth noting, if only because unless Facebook dissolves as a corporation and reincorporates...if it doesn't do that, it's always going to have this 9th house critical degree Gemini Black Moon Lilith.
On the other hand, it also has a Gemini Venus in 9. So in the end, Facebook is either going to be selling lists or doing a lot of retail (becoming a new Amazon for users, perhaps?) or taking on advertisers.

Like we said, it has to be paid for.

 Facebook, Inc - a Delaware Corporation

Interesting also is how part of this Black Moon thing was the 'society' as voiced by the government. Lo, for the many companies which have been selling lists and information, this comes up with Facebook and suddenly political voices in Washington DC are realizing that internet privacy is a problem.

Or at least an impending problem.

Could it be because there are a couple of Presidents and other heads of state on Facebook? Hmmm...

But never mind that. How this all came to ‘light’ as the Moon was moving towards a Full phase in the Moon’s own sign (Cancer) which happens to be the sign of the people? That seems interesting - and apt.

Unfortunately, for those who like short movies, quick resolutions and video clips, you're out of luck. This story isn't going to get resolved this week, this month - probably not even this year. It's going to take Facebook - and others in this 'free to users' position time to defuse (or explode) this explosive informational issue labeled ‘privacy versus corporate profits.’

Three years...we'll have to set our calendars.

During this time, more new realities will surely surface. Already users are beginning to be confronted with the idea that companies just can’t do everything for free. After all - their employees have families which need to eat too!

And Facebook is facing that question too. Evidently a poll has already been taken asking if people would pay a dollar a month to have Facebook and not have Facebook sell their data. Result? So far, much grumbling.

Oh, what’s a company to do?

The 13 Capricorn Solar Eclipse of January 4th (LINK to article) is going to keep raising these issues - in one form after another. And speaking of corporate money, did you hear the chatter on Wikileaks and Swiss bank accounts belonging to well-heeled bankers?

Facebook, Wikileaks, bankers, the internet – this is all about the structure of business and the rights of the individual versus the right to know – the right to own information because its proprietary against the need to make a living. Which is not just this Capricorn Solar Eclipse, but this Capricorn Solar Eclipse at the onset of the Aquarian Age.

Society, income, networking, systems, 
the internet (all technology, actually)...
mass marketing, elitism, information,
freedom, anarchy, universalism,
corporations, rights,
individuality and the group.

In the end, people are going to have to come to some agreements about all this. Money is life's barter and both sides are going to have to re-balance the scales. People have to respect the efforts of those who invest their time, creativity and money. On the other hand, we're entitled to know what gets done with our information. It’s one thing for a company to deliver statistics on 500,000 people, half of whom visit CNN and the other half which doesn’t. It’s a whole other thing to deliver a list of 500,000 names complete with address, phone number and the names of your kids, dog and goldfish.

What this may come down to – in the end – is that we either pay the company for a service and in return get privacy, or we don’t pay and they sell our information.

We may not be able to have it both ways. But if we can’t, should companies be able to?

One thinks not.

In the end, on our side or theirs, the enemy would seem to be greed and entitlement.

But whatever that may be, isn't it interesting that this whole problem is finally reaching public and lawmaker attention via a company called Facebook?

Plus - as a US citizen, it also seems a nice touch that this happened on a weekend dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., a man dedicated to freedom and integrity of responsibility in equal measure. 

So that's my astrological thought of the moment. But at least you know what this astrologer thinks about while doing their everyday things. And with this off my mind that merely leaves Wikileaks and the country of Switzerland (as in, why are their banks so darn famous?) on my desk.

But that’s for another day. Enough of planetary matters. I need to go spend an hour or two relaxing right here on Earth.

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