By Peter Gill
MENLO PARK, Calif. — In its ongoing effort to connect everyone and everything in the universe, Facebook on Wednesday unveiled Finbook, a social networking website adapted to serve aquatic life. With more than a trillion potential users living in the earth’s rivers, lakes and oceans, Finbook could eventually overtake Facebook as the company’s most valuable asset and recognizable brand.
“Up till now our business model has accommodated only one species—people—and we love people but there are only so many of them,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Do you have any idea how many other animals are out there, especially in water—all those weird and lonely fish and fishlike things, with no good way to talk or meet. Our goal is to connect all life, not just toolmaking bipeds.”
Finbook boasts a feature called “Fishing for Friends,” which allows socially isolated aquatic creatures to bait a virtual hook and troll for imaginary pals or buddies. When caught and brought into the user’s make-believe boat, the pals and buddies can then be categorized in a variety of ways, such as friend or family, freshwater or saltwater, vertebrate or invertebrate, and so on.
Another feature lets users “ask for” or “beg for” love and approval from registered organisms by clicking on any of the following options in a drop-down menu: false praise, prefab hugs, hollow love, feigned adoration, spontaneous lifelong closeness, etc.
“People have needs,” said Zuckerberg, “but so do krill and squid, cod and sea horses, eels and trout, clams and whales. With Finbook we’re moving aggressively to serve customers who may look different from people but who, at the end of the day, are not so different from us. They dart and wiggle, float and worry, devour sushi to forget the day’s trouble, and generally prey on smaller, oblivious fish in order to make a killing—just as we do.”