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Facebook's ignorance does not make jokes "violence"
Aggressively banning people and smearing them as "dangerous individuals" or deleting harmless non-violent jokes is a betrayal of Facebook's users.
A few months ago, Elon Musk restored the account of the Babylon Bee (a Christian satire site) and declared "comedy is now legal on Twitter." Facebook should adopt that same policy, as well as employing moderators who are not completely ignorant of American culture.
It started with a harmless meme: A woman demonstrating using a sword while riding a bicycle. She looks like Miss Gulch from The Wizard of Oz, so when a friend shared the picture I pointed out the resemblance and commented "I'll decapitate you, my pretty, and your little dog too!" Facebook immediately took my comment down and put my account in "warning" status for threatening violence. The notion that my comment - a play on one of the most famous movie quotes of all time with one word changed - was "threatening violence" is not just the result of a snowflake who was hurt in the feels. It is an outright lie. No reasonable person would consider that a threat of violence against anyone.
The comment was clearly flagged by an algorithm, with no human being reviewing it. This is obvious by the fact that the comment was instantly removed as soon as I posted it, and the fact that my appeal was also immediately rejected within five minutes. No human being could have possibly have had time to review the comment before making this utterly ridiculous decision.
A few years ago, Facebook's CEO pretended to support free speech in a high-profile speech. Let me be very clear: Mark Zuckerberg is a liar. The fact that a harmless movie reference is forbidden, and that Facebook then lies about it, proves the claim that Facebook allows "free speech" to be laughably false.
This actually does have serious implications. Facebook is, by far, the largest social network in the world. While Twitter has many clones, virtually no one has seriously tried to challenge Facebook. When Google tried to challenge Facebook with the launch of Google Plus in 2011, the project failed miserably and Google Plus was shut down in 2019. This is despite the fact that there was an enormous pre-installed user base of people with Google accounts. Facebook has been under enormous pressure to censor speech since Democrats blamed the site for the election of Donald Trump in 2016. The ridiculous deletion of my comment and placement of my account in "warning" status shows a culture of censorship is very strong within Facebook.
This is far from the worst moderation decision Facebook has made. Paul Joseph Watson was banned by Facebook and Instagram as a "dangerous individual" - the same designation Facebook gives to al Qaeda terrorists. You may not like Watson, but putting him in the "dangerous individuals" category is defamatory. It is one thing to ban Watson, but it is another thing entirely to smear him as a violent extremist. Facebook's definition of "dangerous" appears to be anyone who hurts their feelings, but as Rush Limbaugh used to say, words mean things.
Facebook is a private company and can do what they want, but Facebook has never presented itself as a "safe space" like Mastodon does. Aggressively banning people and smearing them as "dangerous individuals" or deleting harmless non-violent jokes is a betrayal of Facebook's users. These actions prove that Facebook's claim it supports "free speech" is little more than lies and hypocrisy. If Facebook was serious, they would lighten up on bans and censorship. They should also hire moderators from within the United States, who are not ignorant of American culture and would understand references to movies that have been extremely popular for nearly one hundred years.
When I am inevitably banned from Facebook, you can follow me on Gab.
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