M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

FB censorship, here we go again…

May 8, 2022
MThomas

Right. So I quit Facebrat a couple years ago after I got fed up with the self-righteous, arrogant attitude of its founder Mark Zuckerberg and its blatant stealing and selling of personal information of its users.

And also because I was wasting hours and hours each week reading meaningless Facebark posts on my smartphone (so I deleted the app, which I strongly recommend you all do to prevent the company from tracking your location, then selling that info to the spam industry…although you’re probably going to be tracked via BlueTooth anyway if you keep it on).

But after my mother passed away, and while I was still away from family, friends, and colleagues and living in Montréal, I couldn’t take the isolation.

And also a teacher’s group based at the McGill University (William Shatner’s alma mater!) named BILD asked me to join a FB Group.

So I rejoined and vowed to avoid posting anything about religion and politics, and to focus on the things that matter – food, family, and occasional humorous events.

Until I foolishly wrote a casual comment on my brother’s post:

“Americans are idiots.”

Within hours, Facebot flagged this comment as “hate speech.”

I registered my disagreement. The algorithm thanked me for my input.

It then proceeded to dredge up an image I had posted back in April 2020 – a sarcastic meme featuring a bottle of cleaner fluid that a former US politician suggested might be ingested somehow to defend against the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Facebent program then announced my FB account would be “restricted” for 28 days, because I had “violated community standards” with “repeated posts in the past year.”

(By “restricted” the program means that my posts will show up at the bottom of my friends’ feeds — horror of horrors, I might get fewer “likes.” However will I survive.)

Now, I understand that the big tech companies such as Facebonkers and Tweedledum are under a lot of pressure because of January 6th (among other things).

But this is just plain childishness.

Does calling someone an “idiot” qualify as “hate speech”? (I am American, FWIW, so does this mean I hate myself?)

Does posting a sarcastic image mean that I am responsible if someone doesn’t understand the humor and actually tries to drink a toxic liquid in a tablet form that doesn’t actually exist?

When does this nonsense stop?

As an educator, I am responsible for helping students to develop not just a sense of self within a larger community but also to apply creative and critical thinking skills to what they read, hear, and watch.

But I can’t think for them, and I can’t prevent them from misunderstanding or from doing foolish things. Each person is responsible for their own behavior in the end. You can’t claim a “right” to something if you do not take full responsibility for your own actions. Liberty, freedom, rights, and responsibility come collectively as a group.

Censorship of words and images on someone’s online page or website is unforgivable. It is 2022, not 1942. If you don’t like the words, don’t read them. If you don’t like the images, don’t look at them.

It’s really quite simple.

It’s called “grow up, Zuckerberg.”

Now I can return to writing about science and science fiction, rather than wasting more precious time on sites like FartKnockers. (Oh, crap, did the algorithm just flag me again?)

2 Comments

  1. Facebook bots don’t recognise sarcasm unfortunately. The same thing has happened to me and a few others I know.

    Like

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