Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Facebook banking?

Are y’all as excited as I am to learn that Facebook is getting into the global banking business?

I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Hmmmm. Is this the same Facebook that let hundreds of Russian trolls come on in and set a spell, wreaking havoc with our elections? Yep.

Baby steps, Zuckerberg. You’re barely out of the witness chair. Is this really the time to launch “Libra,” a digital currency gizmo with an admittedly cool, spy-novel name?

And let me get this straight. Does this mean I now must explain the phrase “digital currency” to Aunt Verlie? Because even after eight years of personal coaching, she has difficulty updating her status (“Prayers for my hemmorhoidectomy”) and sharing pictures of her lunch at the Gardens of Despair Nursing Home (“Where there is no “I” in caring; OK, yeah there is, but you get where we’re going with this…”)

This seems like a fertile ground for scammers. To those two or three of you who feel guilty for hanging up on telemarketers, Libra may be just right for you!

Why can’t Facebook be content with its monopoly on sharing news of friends and family, shaming deadbeat dads and posting horrific pictures of abused dogs and your gross compound fracture–taken in the ER, no less?

I love Facebook, truly I do. But trust it with my banking? That’s a hard pass. I’ve only recently decided Venmo was OK, although I’ve been very careful to monitor my privacy settings and some of y’all should, too.

For instance, how am I supposed to un-see John Q.’s payment to Sarah Z. for a string of emojis that included an eggplant, a medical cross, safety glasses and a heart? What on earth does that mean and how will I ever get back the hour it took for me to ponder it?

It’s entirely possible these words will be read back to me one day between guffaws of laughter from the young folk as I eat stewed prunes and little else. Will I be compared to the skeptics of the ‘90s who were positive the internet would eat our brains?

Facebook claims Libra will be a quick and secure (ha!) way to pay bills in a foreign country for cheap. Who really has a big problem with that? It’s not like most of us have outstanding parking tickets in Lisbon.

Others say this currency revolution makes crazy sense for Facebook because it comes to the table with 2 billion—yes, with a “b”— customers. In the words of one 22-year-old Bay Area overnight zillionaire: “Bruh, it’s gonna slay.” Or so I imagine.

Facebook promises to keep data about financial transactions separate from its data about social networks so Libra information would never be used to target ads on Facebook or Instagram.

Celia Rivenbark

Maybe. But I bet my feed has ads for prunes and parking ticket lawyers when this posts.

Facebook, you’re insatiable. You need to keep a gratitude journal. Sometimes, cheering up people on their birthdays is really enough.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

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