Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez can't put one foot in front of the other these days without either finding a new form of steroids in his pocket or dropping a mea culpa for his "stupid" use of banned substances to juice up his game in while in Texas.
Naturally, the New York tabs are having a field day and by and large, baseball fandom is whipping itself into a tizzy of righteous indignation that MLB's golden boy could be a dirty, lying juicing cheater. Evil in pinstripes - though some would argue putting on the pinstripes makes a man evil, but I digress.
But I'm not here to stone A-Rod for his moronic transgressions in the hot Texas sun in the first half of this decade - I'm here to thank him for saving 175 million people from themsleves.
Are you a Facebook user? Yeah? You owe the Yankees $100 million man a big "thank you" for leading another rich guy to the well of truth and justice and serving up a giant syringe of the good stuff. The rich guy in question is Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, the omnipresent global social media site where 175 million people go every day to wax poetic about what they're doing right now, send out virtual flowers, tout the daily cause celebre and, of course, poke their friends and neighbors.
As you may have read, Facebook went pinstripe-wearing, steroid-shooting evil on us recently by introducing a new Terms Of Service statement that basically gave it right to keep your original content after you "deleted" it from your page and do whatever it wanted with it. So those 21st birthday photos of you naked in a ditch and ill-advised video rants against the boss would live on in infamy in whatever form Facebook deemed most useful to it.
The Web immediately moved to draw-and-quarter the site. Groups who traded original work - authors, musicians, photographers and the like - started to promise a boycott in droves. Hellfire rained from the digital sky as we as a people learned that everything we post to a third-party site on the Web may not, in fact, be save for only us after all.
And here's where our hero A-Rod rides in to the rescue. The sorry song-and-dance he's been putting on for the last week - not to mention buckets of negative digital ink - seems to have gotten to Zuckerberg, who posted a "my bad" blog entry Tuesday headlined "On Facebook, People Own and Control Their Information," where he says they have seen the light and are in the process of amending their draconian new TOS and, while doing so, will revert to the old draconian TOS - really, you should give a read sometime to what you sign off on.
As Zuckerberg says in his post:
In reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment.
So you see, a giant Web media company is just as answerable to the will of an angry mob as a wealthy-beyond-measure ballplayer who admittedly cheated and got away with it. A few "sorrys" and "we'll work to get betters" later and all is well and good and we can go on to business as usual.
So the next time you think about hurling a verbal barb at poor Alex Rodriguez, step back for a moment and ask yourself if any compromising Facebook photos of you are a little safer today because of his suffering at the hands of the mob. And maybe, just maybe, you feel a little sympathy for a freedom fighter. That feeling, by the way, is very similar to a needle in the butt, if you're wondering.