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Look out Al Qaeda bitches, Facebook's comin' atcha

Fundamentalists, drug lords quiver before mighty Zuck

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Facebook can save the world from the power of nightmares and the threat from Osama bin Laden's minions, or so reckons its founder and CEO (...bitch) Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg has a history of making outlandish claims for the world-changing powers of his website (see the "next 100 years" of media). His latest fantastical musings are a worthy addition to the canon.

During a keynote interview yesterday at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, the young droid, with his embarrassment circuits firing on behalf of his interviewer (see below), indulged in a classic bit of web 2.0 fairytale telling. We'll let him do the talking:

Some youths in Lebanon spend a lot of time with their Imam, or local religious leaders, and a lot of time studying under this person because they believe in that religion and they don't have other options. But on the side, they will also go out with their friends and get drunk and try to meet girls - all the things we think are normal in the west.

Now, because of Facebook - we heard a story a few months ago - people are connecting with their friends that went to Europe so they are understanding and broadening their horizons of what is going on in the world. So they have more empathy for what is out there in the world and a changed outlook.

Words fail us, mostly. But we will point out that Facebook and its ilk are simply communications media built on pre-existing technology. They can equally be used to learn about the world, and to disseminate propaganda.

The Zuckerberg plan to unite the religions followed a PR-briefed anecdote about how Facebook's success in co-opting its users to translate it into other languages is empowering anti-FARC campaigners in Colombia. You know FARC, the ruthless leftist cocaine racketeers that the US government has spent billions trying to undermine via the CIA, with negligible success. Well, take this, pinko: someone's set up a Facebook group saying you're a bad man.

Apart from his musings on global terrorism, Zuckerberg's SXSW showing was notable mostly for the audience heckling the interviewer, Business Week web 2.0 doyenne Sarah Lacy. By all accounts they thought her style was too soft and boring. She said "screw you" and then patted herself on the back for having the courage to go to a free mediatastic booze-up later in the day. Fake Steve Jobs has the soap opera here.

Our own Otto Z Stern gives his inimitable take on Lacy's recent contribution to TV technology journalism here. ®

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