Facing Facebook Jail

As many know, I am a regular Facebook user and have been for 7 years when I discovered it was good way to promote my blog as well as do the things most Facebook users do, e.g. keep in contact with family and friends. I also find it a good resource for helping me keep up with what is going on in the world around me, as well as find out what people are thinking and chip in with my own two penneth.

While I have found Facebook to be a great utility, I have my concerns, to do with the anti-social nature of something that is meant to bring the world together and am aware of the criticisms levelled against it of shutting down conservative voices. While I understand as private company that is within its prerogative, yet in this Internet age it has effectively become a public utility, which one expects, while rightly censoring harmful content should not discriminate against any. Facebook community standards appear perfectly ok but are open to interpretation as many have found. In my years as an active user the number of my posts taken down for not meeting community standards could be counted on the fingers of two hands. One was a link I mistakenly shared and I accepted and the rest were borderline. While I disagreed, I accepted the decision.

All that changed a week ago when I found several of my posts had been taken down along with a notification message along the lines “Your content couldn’t be shared, because this link goes against our Community Standards. If you think that this doesn’t go against our Community Standards, let us know”. It is difficult to know how to “let us know” other than via their own online process, which I invoked and have since heard nothing, and am not holding my breadth so that they do. All the posts I regarded as fairly innocuous, especially compared with my more controversial ones, and were to do with the General Election and certain biblical themes, and this has been confirmed by friends who sometimes object to some of my more rabid views. It is still happening and I need to use tricks like not allowing previews to get round whatever mechanisms are in place to prevent me posting links to my latest blog posts.

I am not in Facebook jail quite yet, although a number, usually on the right / conservative end of the political / ideological spectrum, are and I expect my time may come. It is a concern and as yet there appears no way to resolve this. I hope by posting this people will understand my position and why there are oddities in what I post on Facebook, especially when linking to my blog. I am also concerned that a company like Facebook can get away with it. They do so because they can and it is because of their illiberal, progressive ideology they censor conservative voices. There is a gap in the market for a product that will neither allow truly harmful content nor shut down free speech, the very thing we need to challenge error, for a healthy society to thrive and to keep the tyrants at bay.

Standard

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