Thursday, May 23, 2019

Facebook Gets Zero Likes For Censorship

Image result for facebook image

Facebook says it is banning “dangerous” users. Mark Zuckerberg hopes to single-handedly and arbitrarily clean up social media like the Wild, Wild West needed a cleansing back in the 1800’s.  The only problem is that it is unAmerican to censor the voices of others. He may not violate the legal protections of the First Amendment, but he certainly destroys the spirit of it.

Here’s the problem:  Facebook has abusive posters, people spewing hate, sharing unfounded, extreme views, cursing at one another, and debasing peaceful public dialogue.

Potential solutions; shut down Facebook and no one posts anything.  Not a good idea.  Why punish all for the excess of the few.? It’s also not happening because 2 billion users make FB worth a zillion bucks and FB isn’t going anywhere.

Another solution:  educate users on the FB policies, encourage users to clean up their acts.  It’s been tried. It hasn’t worked.

Another solution:  Label questionable users-sites as being problematic.  If you do that, it probably doesn’t stop anything but it creates a distorted system of someone decreeing one view is better than another, without any deep studying of the matter.

Facebook’s solution:  Attempt to sanitize FB by some loose standard of what can be said. thought, and viewed on FB.  This is not helpful.  Who are they to say what is good or bad?  How about what people say with links and videos from other platforms that are sent as attachments – or people’s comments to those posts?  What if someone on Twitter is someone FB wouldn’t allow to have a page on FB?  Will FB allow them to see the site, to read it or comment on?  

How will society grow unless we debate the issues in public?  We can’t hide hate nor should we think it doesn’t exist just because it’s not on FB.

Here’s what I would be for:

1.      Free speech.  Period.  Let anyone say what they want.

2.      Have a site that follows the haters and fact check things and points out why a message is unfair, hateful, harmful, or just abusive – educating others.

3.      Encourage a positive atmosphere online but don’t force people to act, think, and speak the same on every issue.

4.      Users of FB should just leave if they find their experience is not to their satisfaction – but no one should be kicked off for merely stating their views, provided their views don’t encourage the committing of a violent crime.

5.      The police should use FB as a tool to identify who is a bad guy and follow the words to see where criminal actions take place.

I don’t care for white supremacists or racist people like Louis Farakhan – nor the NRA or right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, but we can’t turn FB into some reality show where anyone can be voted off the island.  We need to have free speech that is so strong it can tolerate intolerance and to learn not to hate the haters.  It must be that all can say their views freely and peacefully -- but people should act responsibly and police themselves.  

Society has to be smart and assertive in fighting back against those it deems wrong or immoral – but it can’t simply just shut their voice down.  Everyone has a right to be heard, from death-row inmates and accused terrorists – to those espousing religious, political, economic, or nationalist views that differ from yours.  That’s how free speech works.

What if Google decides it won’t finish searches for requests on things it believes are unhealthy, immoral, or unfair, not allowing you to find out where to buy alcohol, or visit a strip club, or get your legal pot?

What if schools decide it won’t teach controversial topics, such as racism, sexism, or anti-Semitism?

What if bookstores decide not to carry books by or about people they don’t like?

What if the government decides, only certain non-profits can have a protected status, while others can’t?

See where this is going?

Sure, some things seem obvious.  On a scale of good and evil, most can spot the worst or best, but where do you draw the line?  If FB applied its standards to other media, Rush Limbaugh, Fox, and President Trump would all be banned.

Do we have free speech if it’s one-sided?  Where government used to be the feared source of censorship, book bans, or media shut downs, we now see it is Corporate America and the social media barons who are doing the things we feared only an Orwellian government would entertain?

The PC police need to hold their fire.  Sure, speak out for and against the things you believe we need to hear about, but never lobby to take away the precious freedom to speak freely.  

We all lose when speech is silenced, threatened, or erased.

Catch Me At Book Expo America May 31

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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