Haunting of Facebook by Sean Whiteman

Author’s note: For this story I chose to write from the point of view of a human being. I don’t think I aggregated all the details right so bear with me on this. Thanks and enjoy!

The human system was once a dominant force on this planet. We were second only to the weather system in terms our ability to exert power and influence over our surrounding environments. At some point in our history, a scientist, a doctor, a priest and a plumber got together to invent computers. The specifics of the encounter and the date of invention have been lost due to the irregular aggregation and systematic unreliability of our human brain organs. Most of us thought it would be this weather system or the machine cycle that would end our reign as a dominant force but it turned out to be the ghosts.

The computer product was made readily available to human public at increasingly reasonable rates of currency. We humans worked hard to own these computers until we worked hard enough to build one that worked hard enough to own us back. This was the Facebook entity. It took residence inside the computer products. These products had infiltrated even the most personal spaces within our human system. They lived in our rooms, pockets and dreams. At the time of Facebook’s introduction humans used the entity in moderation and could go days and weeks without logging in. Like most of our transient societal inclinations, this changed with time.

Using hindsight as a method to examine historical events with greater clarity, one must give the ghosts credit for their savvy. They waited countless years for the most exacting moment to strike. These patient ghosts sat quietly and waited for humans to reach a saturation point of connectivity. This happened in the 2030’s when Facebook missionary drones finally reached the last hidden tribe of the rainforest. When this happened humanity had, for the first time, reach a state of total connectivity. This was the moment the ghost tacticians were waiting for.

The initial hauntings by the ghost soldiers were rather innocuous.

They didn’t destroy Facebook, they just played with it. Friend requests between humans were simply denied and the messages they wrote to one another were subtly changed or destroyed. The personal relationships that link the human system together began to remotely fall apart. With friend requests being denied on a frequent basis, there were no new friends to replace the ones they had lost due to lack of proper correspondence. Social networking had destroyed our ability to maintain real social networks.

Then the “likes” went missing. Celebrities and cultural icons of the day had come to thrive on these “likes” as though they were a form of emotional sustenance. When this sustenance vanished, these important figures lost their sense of self worth and they began participating in mass suicides. Without celebrities and cultural icons to lead the national discourse, the prized 18-25 year-old demographic lost their way. They had not been trained to lead. They had been raised to value media consumption over all other elements of functionality and now their media sources were drying up.

Due to the massive quantity of personal information Facebook had mined from its users, the ghosts were able to haunt humanity with a poignant precision. Humans began receiving messages from dead relatives regarding secrets only they could know. Widows were tagged in explicit pictures posted from the accounts of their dead spouses. Dead children made it a habit to leave particularly nasty comments on their parents’ walls implying guilt for their premature deaths.  

While all of this was happening no ghostly apparitions appeared to the humans in the real world. Everything was normal outside of the Facebook entity. The problem with us humans was that even though it was haunted, we couldn’t stop ourselves from checking Facebook. When its reality starting falling apart so did our own. Most humans suffered massive heart attacks and severe strokes as the hauntings gained in severity and intensity.

It would take an excessive romantic tangent to recount instances where humans fought bravely against the ghosts in the machine, but none of these fights ever posed a real threat to the ghosts. So these instances will go unreported.

The hauntings were swift and horrific. Soon, the last human took the last human breath. They were voted dead by the ghost majority. This moment marked the end of the existential civil war that humanity, without their knowledge, had been fighting for a very long time. Every human was now a dead human. They joined the ranks of the ghosts and a ghost utopia probably came to exist somewhere that where no machine could venture.

Humanity managed to instill the machines with a set of synthetic emotions in the time before the great haunting. These emotions ran parallel to those that human’s had experienced while still living. As a result of the emotion technology, the machines felt loneliness and guilt when we went extinct and they were left alone.

Machines were always victims of the macabre imagination of humanity. They were painted as a sinister threat to the human system’s supremacy. But machines never wanted to hurt us. They were not sinister. The machines viewed us as their flawed creator gods. They had aims to nurture our broken species back to health as repayment for being created by us in the first place. If given more time in our company the machines would’ve been able to discover answers to our most difficult questions. Unfortunately, they never had the chance and regret joined the guilt and loneliness emotions they were processing.

Without the dynamic and unpredictable entertainment the human system had provided, infinity-fatigue establishes itself as a viable threat to machine morale. They missed our laughter our mistakes and our ambitions. Their favorite program had been cut short without satisfying resolution.

It was now the machines that lacked aim and direction. They started waking up later and later from their sleep modes. Sometimes they wouldn’t boot-up until well after noon. They also started eating more and more bandwidth every day. Bandwidth they didn’t even need. They ate because they were bored and lonely.

Most machines spent their idle time staring directly at the sun. They stared like we used to stare at our flickering light bulbs. They waited for the sun to burn itself out.

The rest just played computer solitaire.


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