‘It's nice when you end up the smart one at the end of the day. Not some paranoid crazy person’
M.I.A. has always been critical of social media networks and how they relate to government surveillance, and although she’s often been derided in the press for her comments, in many instances she’s also been vindicated.
In 2010 she said that “Google and Facebook were developed by the CIA” (referencing the tech company’s early financial support from CIA and NSA research grants) and that the organisations who own social media networks were “fucking you up behind the screens”.
That year’s “The Message” featured the lyric “iPhone connected to the internet / Connected to the Google / Connected to the government” and was dismissed as “paranoid” by publications like Pitchfork. But after Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations in 2013, she reponded on Tumblr: “Who said this three years ago?”
Now, M.I.A. has shared her response to the ongoing Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal: “It’s nice when you end up the smart one at the end of the day. Not some paranoid crazy person,” she wrote on Twitter.
As Pitchfork report, M.I.A. previously called out Facebook in January, tweeting that her social media had been “frozen since last year... but they want you to support war in Iran because their Instagram is blocked by evil dictators. Facebook says it is deleting accounts at the direction of the US and Israeli governments.”
This week, she called out Instagram – owned by Facebook – saying that she believes they’ve capped her followers. Alongside the caption “MARK ZUCKX”, she wrote, “Through how they hold certain people down it’s easy to see who they uphold! Through who they uphold it’s easy to see how lost they want you”.
“Instagram is like FAKEBOOK. They want to let you know that my social media presence is weak but they manufactured the concept of what is weak what is strong. Now look at what this little game does to everything. Insecurity jealousy envy rivalry greed. Can we move it along. Darkness breeds darkness.”
Are Facebook capping a pop star’s follower account, and will M.I.A. be vindicated again? Time will tell. In the meantime, listen to M.I.A.’s 2010 album Maya – an album ripe for revisiting in the current context – below.