Technology, Films, Nonsense

CIA and Facebook

Posted by kraftymiles on March 17, 2008

OK, so I’ll fess up to this from the start. I LOVE conspiracy theories. Absolutely love em. Give me an awkwardly put together set of facts with no definite outcome and I’ll start looking at the possibilities. It’s probably because I’m an analyst that makes me so interested in em, after all, it’s my job to look at complex problems and offer solutions.
The latest one that I’ve read this week is that the CIA ponied up a bunch of cash for Facebook. No, really.

First a commentary about conspiracy theories in general; they need to have an unanswered question or two as the basis for them. Something has happened, there is an explanation, someone comes up with an alternative. Simple really, and it also means that you can make a theory out of anything at all. See that corporate logo? That was the result of a pact with the Freemasons. Of course it’s always the freemasons. ;o) I’ve met a few in my time and they are all middle managers trying to do some good in their otherwise boring lives. But then I would say that wouldn’t I? That’s the other part to a theory, that if you don’t believe it then it’s because “That’s what they want you to believe”

The most “Famous” theories are the obvious ones, 9/11 was not an act of Al Qaida; that we never went to the moon, some secret group or other rules the world, and the JFK assassination. In terms of whether or not they are true, well, that’s debatable, after all just because they are theories, doesn’t mean that any of them are not the correct theory. Did we go to the moon? I would say so, Buzz Aldrin and John Glenn have some pretty good quotes on the matter and I believe that one of em may have even lumped a theorist when told outright that they hadn’t gone up there.
UPDATE: you tube linky of the above
Some of them are fun in my opinion (such as the fact that the Bilderberg (?) group rules the world. Honestly, that group has John Major in it and he couldn’t rule the UK when he was in charge, let alone the world). Some of them are more insidious usually the ones where great loss of life is involved.

Anyway, let’s have a look at the Facebook one in more detail. So the theory is that the CIA put up a bunch of cash for Facebook, or even that they had a hand in starting it in some way. On the plus side for the theory, Facebook for all it’s attempts at internationalisation is an American website. Bebo is far more popular outside the US and FB doesn’t register at all in countries where English isn’t the first language. Orkut is massively popular in India and Brazil and that’s what, well over a third of the population of the globe? So all that data on American citizens would be very useful to the American Government, be it CIA, NSA, FBI, the Rotary Club, whoever.
The CIA do indeed use Facebook to recruit staff through the group at
(This might not be there, I’ve left FB now, so haven’t checked in a week or so)
There is also reference to it on the CIA website.

Not of course that this is https:// ;o)

Now, throw in some ‘facts’ to the case. FB got its first round of funding from the former head of PayPal, Peter Thiel. The second round came from a VC Firm headed up by James Breyer who, in turn, was formerly chairman at “National Venture Capital Association” with Gilman Louie of In-Q-Tel the VC arm of the CIA. (In-Q-Tel by the way, specialise in “Data Mining technologies”. Gotta love that really. Don’t believe me? Well, head on over to their home page at Sample recent news article quoted below:

Today Asankya, which provides optimized transport of high quality streaming and twoway traffic over IP networks, launched at the DEMO 08 conference in Palm Desert, CA, January 28-30. Asankya’s unique technology solution solves common challenges associated with rich media content delivery such as buffering, pixilation and lengthy downloads, enabling end-users to experience all forms of real-time content in its true original form and without interruption.

Nice one for field agents that one, being able to securely stream high quality video from over the web.

You see how if you follow the trail long enough then you can find the CIA. Actually in my job, then the thinking is always to “follow the money”. Or more correctly “Can we charge for it?”

So, final point, is Facebook a CIA front? Nah. Are the CIA invested in it? Probably, but not on purpose. Could the CIA use the data? Most definitely, especially al those photos that FB host – they’ve got to be a boon to anyone working on face recognition software from high quality streamed video…


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