Facebook is not playing fair

The problem with Facebook is that it established so-called “Community Standards,” and it uses these “standards” to censor posts by its members and then block them for a few days or a month from further posting.

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I saw a rather funny poster awhile ago, and I think it was on Facebook. It asked, “Where are Mexico and Canada located?” and answered, “Bordering on idiocy.” To me, that’s funny and also politically accurate at the moment. I try to participate in such comments. I used to post things on “FU Trump,” a group that makes fun of Trump. Lately, I’ve been posting on “Moronarchy,” which does much the same thing.

The problem with Facebook is that it established so-called “Community Standards,” and it uses these “standards” (which it created itself; I don’t think the Facebook users had much to do with it) to censor posts by its members and then block them for a few days or a month from further posting. If Facebook really doesn’t like what you’ve been posting, it can bar you permanently from participating.

I recently commented, “I have a big problem with FB. Every so often they accuse me of violating their Community Standards, but I can rarely figure out why they think that.” And another user commented back, “Because their algorithm was written by a 5 year old!” In my experience, I would have to agree most heartily.

Some time ago, I noticed that Trump not only acts like the Italian dictator Mussolini, but he also looks like him. There are a ton of articles accusing him of being a Mussolini. I googled, “Trump is a Mussolini,” and I found, A Scholar of Fascism Sees a Lot That’s Familiar with Trump, as well as, Four-star U.S. army general compares Trump to Mussolini after ‘watershed moment’ for America, and Joe Jarvis: Yes, as Stewart said, Trump is our Mussolini, and An American Authoritarian. And I found a meme that made the point quite well.  (See above).

I posted the meme in Moronarchy on a Friday at 12:48 pm. The next day, I noticed that I was having difficulty posting there, although I had no difficulty in posting to my own Facebook page. And shortly thereafter I received a notification from Facebook, accusing me of violating “Community Standards,” and saying that for a month I would be forbidden to post in places where I was not the owner or administrator. And right smack on the notification was a copy of my meme of Trump as Mussolini.

Facebook invited me to complain if I didn’t agree with its conclusion that I was violating Community Standards. So I did. I pointed out that all I was doing was satirizing Trump and making remarks about the way he governs. I said quite plainly that my meme was permissible under the First Amendment of the Constitution, and I thought it was unfair to block me from making further comments.

What I should have said (but didn’t) was that the profile of Moronarchy, where I posted my meme, was a cartoon of Trump painting a portrait of Mussolini, and making the portrait look like Trump! (See below). If Facebook can authorize Moronarchy to make fun of Trump that way, my meme was far more innocent.

Facebook made its usual comment when someone complains, saying that they thanked me for my comment because it helped them administer Facebook. I didn’t expect anything further, but about five hours later I noticed that I didn’t seem to be blocked from posting wherever I chose. Then I received an email from Facebook which said, “Your post is now back on Facebook. We’re sorry we got it wrong. Learn more.”  

I clicked on the “Learn more.” All I got was “Page not found. This page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.” Presumably, this meant that they were too embarrassed to explain their own fault.

Anyway, the guess that their algorithm was written by a five year old isn’t far from the truth. Not to mention that the way they deal with such situations is very five year oldish. Why can’t they explain what they are trying to do?

A few weeks ago they accused me of spamming when I posted someone else’s post in five or six groups of which I am a member. In fact, two of them were groups that I had founded. They accuse one of spamming if you post the same thing in several different places. That’s called “sharing,” Facebook. You encourage that. So what’s this “spamming?” 

Of course, none of this is surprising, because Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, supports Trump. “On Monday evening, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got on a Zoom call with the leaders of several civil rights organizations to discuss what Facebook had become over the preceding days: a platform for President Donald Trump’s most incendiary and violent words. By the time the advocates spoke with Zuckerberg and his top deputies, Facebook was already roiling with internal dissent over its role spreading the president’s messages targeting predominantly black protesters.” Twitter tagged things that Trump said, “indicating it violated its policy against glorifying violence. But when Trump put the same sentiment on Facebook, Zuckerberg left it untouched. . . . “He was the primary voice challenging Twitter on television. . . .“He was an apologist against Twitter’s actions on behalf of Donald Trump. That is who Zuckerberg has become.” 

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