Facebook's bizarre 1 billion users video

October 4, 2012: 2:40 PM ET

A clip celebrating the company's major milestone makes some analogies that are, well, weird.

FORTUNE -- For a "branding video" that ultimately says a whole lot of nothing, there is nevertheless much to pick apart in Facebook's (FB) celebration of -- supposedly -- hitting the 1-billion-user mark.

"Chairs," the video begins. "Chairs are made so that people can sit down and take a break. Chairs are for people and that is why chairs are like Facebook."

Left on the cutting-room floor: "Skin rashes. Skin rashes happen when people touch the wrong plant or react adversely to a chemical. Skin rashes affect people and that is why skin rashes are like Facebook."

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One could do that all day. And Facebook nearly did. Besides chairs, the video tells us, Facebook is like "doorbells," "airplanes," and "bridges," because "these are things people use to get together." Facebook is also like staring vacantly into space, because that's a thing that people do when they're alone in a room. That didn't make it into the video either.

But here's what did: Facebook is also like "dancefloors," "basketball," and "a great nation." A great nation, you see, "is something people build so they can have a place where they belong."

But who needs a great nation? We have Facebook! Never mind that it wasn't built by "people" so they can have a place where they belong, but was built by what has become a giant corporation so the giant corporation can have a place to serve advertisements. And never mind that great nations are composed of citizens (with privacy rights) and are governed by the rule of law, while Facebook is composed of consumers and is governed by the rule of pleasing shareholders.

"The universe." It "is vast and dark and makes us wonder if we are alone. So maybe the reason we make these things [chairs, basketball, great nations, Facebook] is to remind ourselves that we are not."

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Maybe. But if "we" built Facebook to remind ourselves that we are not alone, why is this video filled with people interacting with each other in real life (and interacting with technology -- an iPod! -- in only one quick shot)? It almost seems like Facebook is trying to remind us of what the world was like before Facebook. And as depicted here, it looks like that world was pretty wonderful.

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