If you’re one of Facebook‘s 845 million active users somewhere around the globe, odds are you use your Facebook account for a lot of things, among them keeping in touch with friends, posting photos, and even creating mini virtual farms. The iconic white-and-blue site has become the go-to social network for online identity, amassing more real people and real names than any other public site on the planet. So why not take Facebook’s ID system and use it offline?
From German artist, Internet activist, and member of online provocateurs F.A.T. Labs Tobias Leingruber comes Facebook identity card. The social sculpture takes the form of a very official-looking ID card, the same as any you’d keep in your wallet. But right away some differences are apparent — this card is in that classic white and blue, has Facebook’s familiar typeface across the top, and includes an ID number and a QR code, presumably linking to your individual profile page.
Leingruber’s piece is a commentary on the nature of online identity and the extent to which it has been co-opted by companies like Facebook. Online identity is a relatively unregulated sphere: sure, your passwords afford you some security, but there’s no government body ensuring the validity and honesty of your Twitter or OKCupid profiles like there is your driver’s license. Germany has released a governmental identity system based on PIN numbers that also holds online, but for the majority of netizens, Facebook is the clear currency du jour.
So why not embrace it as a real-life identity system as well? Well, there’s the possibility that Facebook could suddenly become unpopular. Or that it could get hacked and your bank account would be threatened along with your relationship status. Or that companies could spy on the rest of your online activities. There are some good reasons, but that’s why this artwork isn’t reality — yet.
Get a Facebook ID card at Supermarkt Berlin on March 2 or at Amsterdam’s Unlike Us conference on March 16. Once you have it, you’ll never have an excuse not to friend someone you just met ever again. [FB Bureau]
— Kyle Chayka