I have no idea who these people are. When I searched Wiki Commons for “Facebook,” I got pictures of gorgeous landscapes in Bejing and pictures like this, none of which made any sense whatsoever. Is this a Facebook conspiracy? to delete photos of itself on a public domain image repository? Is that a ridiculous thing to say? Not if you saw Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley two weeks ago, like I did. I’m here to tell you: Facebook is creep city.
(Also, I can’t login to my public page, so all of these posts are going unseen unless you’re a PaperGirl subscriber. Could you drop a line to a fellow reader that I’m back and better than ever when it comes to typing? I’m trying to get the problem fixed, but as Facebook appears to have no actual customer service, this has been difficult.)
One of the stops on the road trip was Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, as you may know, is not really a valley, just a region in the Bay Area where for every 9,000 startups there is one that makes it and the one that makes it makes billions of dollars, like Uber.
Facebook, too. Facebook’s headquarters are in Silicon Valley, and my friend and I thought it would be fun to check it out. Facebook affects our lives in significant ways; why not see where they make the profiles of all those donuts? We actually went to the Googleplex, first and rode around campus on Google bikes until someone caught on that we weren’t employees and we thought we’d better jam. Google was cool because we could actually bike around the campus a little, but unless you have a friend or family member to get you a visitor pass, you should probably skip a trip there. You can’t go anywhere you would really want go, like Sergei Brin’s helipad.
Then it was onto Facebook headquarters and I’m here to tell you: never go there. Never go there not just because you can’t get in but because it’s terrifying. The building, first of all, is chillingly nondescript, all smooth walls and smallish windows. Is it a privately funded medical laboratory that tests things (read: brains)? perhaps a Quantico’s satellite building? Maybe it’s where they make the big red buttons folks push when they detonate atomic bomb. Someone has to make those things.
People were milling about outside, snapping pictures and generally clogging the walkway to the door and when they got to the door, they turned around immediately and clogged their way back. Because no one gets into Facebook. No one can enter the vestibule, so no one can enter the lobby — not even for the bathroom, which I know because I asked. I could’ve whipped out the “I Can’t Wait” card I carry from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation that allows me to use a bathroom pretty much anywhere (i.e., the Gap) if I really need to. It’s great fun to watch a snide salesgirl go from, “Sorry, there are no public bathrooms,” to a panicked, “Oh, sure, yeah, come with me” change of heart.
Anyway, Claus and I saw this “visit” was going nowhere, so we made our way past the security guys to the parking lot. I swear, there was a small fleet of camouflaged golf carts at the side of the building where our car was. Camo. Because Silicon Valley (and the Facebook campus) has a lot of tree lines. Look, I realize Facebook and Google aren’t there to entertain tourists; these are places of business. But the citadel thing left a nasty taste in our mouths.
Surely, there will one day be a Facebook theme park with a Zuckerberg Zipper rollercoaster and an I Like This Castle; when that happens, the tourists can get their Facebook photos at Facebook, something that would be so popular I’m surprised Facebook hasn’t done it, yet. Until then, I’m Mary Fons, reporting: Facebook is watching you, but you can’t look.