Facebook wants to control what we say and what we read. If they don’t like what we post, regardless of whether we’re being sarcastic, funny, or downright serious, they’ll delete our posts. And, if they don’t like other posts, even coming from reputable news sources, they’ll delete those, too.
Social media has become more and more communistic about what it is that we’re allowed to view. Forget about having political discussions with our friends where we argue why one candidate is better than another. We have a right to have those discussions. Apparently, we just can’t have them on Facebook as we near closer to the general election.
Election-related unrest is a given. The political sides are more polar than ever before. However, Facebook executives believe it’s their job to bring down the online temperature – and they’ve got big plans.
Based on the plans as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook will be limiting the spread of viral content. Supposedly, this will be done for both sides, though it is highly unlikely. They’ll also be lowering the benchmark when it comes to suppressing “potentially inflammatory” posts.
Facebook has already used these kinds of tools in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. However, in the United States, we have freedom of the press. We have the freedom to say what we want and post what we want – and Facebook wants to take this away from us.
According to Facebook, this strategy will only be activated in “dire” circumstances. As to what those are, it’s anyone’s guess. What it all means is that there will be Facebook executives who are not politicians but who have a partisan leaning who will determine when it’s time to activate the more sensitive filters.
Should Facebook take these extreme measures, more content would be deemed dangerous. As friends have some playful banter about the candidates, it could lead to the content being blocked and the people posting the material temporarily banned from posting any content on Facebook.
People landing in “Facebook jail” could find themselves learning a hard lesson about how far social media platforms are going to rid us of freedom of speech.
The other problem beyond friendly posts being banned is that the dissemination of specific posts will be slower. It will be harder for posts to gain traction because of the many filters they have to go through – and because of many people potentially landing in Facebook jail. This could mean that it’s harder for posts to go viral – and businesses that are paying for Facebook advertising may not get the best bang for their buck.
The Wall Street Journal also warns that when these tools are deployed, it could impact what tens of millions of Americans see when they get onto Facebook. It means that people may be limited to violence and misinformation but also the ability to have political discussions.
Facebook’s Andy Stone has said that the platform has been working for years to have safer and more secure elections. Why is it their job to do this? Why can’t Facebook just be what it was always intended to be – a place for people to socialize with people across the miles?
They do not need to play Big Brother to us – we are more than capable of disseminating what we want when we want. We don’t want (nor need) Facebook to filter it for us.
We’re already not getting the full story. Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have taken away our ability to see both sides of the story. Facebook censored the same story from the New York Post that Twitter did simply because it talked about alleged corrupt business deals that left Hunter Biden (and, thus, Joe Biden) in a bad light. Why can’t we hear such a story but we can hear about all of the ones that paint Trump in a bad light?
It appears that Facebook’s censorship is going to get a lot worse as we approach the elections.