When Community Standards Become Hypocrisy: The Continuing Decline of Facebook
With an article title as pretentious as this, I know half the people reading this are going into it wondering how full of crap I am. That's a valid suspicion considering the click bait nature of online "news/opinion" articles these days.
I also have to admit that as I am writing the rough draft of this, I am still very, very angry. The notepad file that this draft is saved under is even titled "Fuck Facebook." I'm angry at how Facebook has dealt with the situation. I'm even angry at myself for how angry this ordeal has made me. Most importantly though, I'm angry at the censorship of something for specified reasons that don't actually exist.
It started with a Facebook notification last week that a post I shared about a photography documentary series on Netflix violated their community standards for "nudity & sexual activity".
This notification had me very confused for a minute because not only is there no actual nudity in this post, it was a post that I had made nearly 2 YEARS AGO. Also, it is the default image that Netflix itself had attached to the link.
Immediately, I had 2 theories as to why they are bringing this up after all this time. First, I thought someone may have clicked on the wrong tab and reported it by mistake. Believe it or not, that can happen, especially if they are viewing Facebook on a mobile device. I have accidentally liked or given an inappropriate emoji response to a post on my phone several times. I blame my clumsy thumbs for that...and sorry about laughing at an obituary...you know who you are...the person who posted it, not the subject of the obituary. I don't see (or talk) to dead people...much.
My second theory was a little more sinister in nature. Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I'm a registered Independent who is VERY vocal in his opposition to Trump. I suspected that one of his supporters started trolling my posts to give me a hard time. It is a cowardly way to disagree with someone, but since their leader is a draft dodger, I guess that is just another way they relate to him.
Regardless of the cause, I assumed that if I simply appealed the decision, some reasonable person at Facebook in charge of reviewing these things would see the error and reverse the decision. Remember what happens when you assume things folks. This one came back to bite me right in the pride. Three days later, I get a reply. The post still violated their community standards.
I now tell myself that I am either dealing with an automated response or a complete and utter moron. With your 2nd appeal, you can give an explanation as to why you think the post does not violate their standards. I answered with the following:
Something in the back of my mind just KNEW that I wasn't going to get the reply that I wanted. Call it cynicism, call it Bureaucratic Bullshit ESP, call it what you will. I knew that for some reason, they would triple down and give me the same answer...which they did. It STILL was in violation.
What baffles me is how a social media platform, whose same community standards have thus far allowed personal information to be taken and used in an attempt to influence an election, find my post about a Netflix documentary series to be a bigger problem. These community standards allow for the pseudoscience of anti-vaxers and flat earthers to be spewed out unchecked, filling people's Facebook feeds and comments with unfounded conspiracy theories. If I were an Alt-right Birther Nazi, I would have more free speech protections under Facebook's laughable "community standards."
(Calm down, Mike. It isn't the end of the world. Time to channel your inner Lewis Black and rage rant for a few laughs like you always do.)
I've been trying as hard as I can to find an ounce of humor in this story. I'm having a hard time with that. I choose my battles very carefully. While I speak out against or in favor of specific causes, I rarely crusade religiously behind many of them. The squeaky wheel gets the grease...unless it squeaks all the time, then it just gets replaced and tossed out. This is why you don't see me taking the time to write a blog about every little thing that pisses me off. I'd want to kick my own ass if I did that. For most of my rants, Twitter will do. I felt like this particular incident and issue needed more attention though.
In my opinion, complacency is collaboration as far as censorship goes. If you think this article was a waste of your time, or if censorship hasn't happened to you yet, it will. Give it time. I am leaving Facebook and Instagram as soon as I tie up some loose ends and stir up enough resistance to the hypocrisy in how they enforce their community standards. I feel like staying would only serve to validate their unfair and unequal enforcement of their self-imposed rules. I can deal with someone disagreeing with me, but I cannot and will not abide any hypocrisy when doing so.
With this being a photography website, I promise that 90% of what I blog about here will be photography related. I guess you can still argue that this blog is in fact photo related, but I mean 90% of my blogs will be about my actual photography, not me ranting about things. Although I reserve the right to rant whenever necessary. For my "funny" rage rants, be sure to follow me on Twitter. If this is your first time on my site, welcome. Below are a few random images to make you smile again after enduring this article. Enjoy.