Our Beloved Facebook Moral Guardians have suspended my account for the last three days. It was the second time, so, in order to teach me properly, it had to be longer than the 24 hours punishment I got a few months ago.
But it has been pretty much the same story both times: I wrote a vehement/sarcastic comment, a few brave and democratic guys reported it to the Guardians, then either an algorithm or a fervent Facebook Guardian certainly having higher-than-algorhitms IQ decided that I violated the “community standards”. Presumably that was based just on keywords like the n-word, no matter that I was using them in sarcastic comments, actually attacking fascist and racist contents or fascist and racist people (as you might have noticed, both are on the rise on both the off line and on line world). I can only presume that’s what happened, since the Beloved Guardians are perfect, so there’s no point explaining how excatly I violated the community standards, despite asking them every day for a couple of weeks.
I shouldn’t moan, considering the great company I’m with.
By the way, Facebook populism, fascism, pseudoscience and fake news are on the rise around the world, not only because polarisation and extremism fuel emotions, and emotions make contents virals, and all of this bring ad money to Facebook, but also because they consider fanaticism, fascism, extreme right groups, and their posts and comments as ‘freedom of speech’, even in countries where that’s made illegal (and I’m talking about Germany or Italy, not Cuba or China).
As if it wasn’t enough, our Beloved Facebook Guardians are making their social network a safe and enjoyable place trhough a range of manipulations, filtering, censoring, which we, must-be obedient subjects, cannot even imagine. For instance, they’re now prioritising ‘friends interaction’ over news and the like. That is, they’re not even attempting to fix the serious limits they have as a public agorà, where we can share a proper collective political debate and go back to democratic participation. Instead, they’re fulfilling even more individualism and the trend to use social networks as personal album (without anyone teaching the public that they aren’t at all) to share veery interesting contents, like funny kitties or what you had for dinner, which certainly the most brilliant friends of yours enjoy a lot to see (have you noticed how many brilliant friends of yours engage with that kind of contents when you post it?).
So, I’m starting a new approach with my complicated relation with this great social tool.
– I’ll try to use Facebook less, especially for what concerns commenting posts around. I had intention to do so anyway, to favour reading over scrolling, writing longer and informed posts over addiction to expressing real time my futile first impression to whatever happens in the world. I don’t think it’s wise to quit it, since Facebook has de-facto become a fundamental part our social life, and giving up with it would be equivalent to choosing reclusiont in reaction to the deployment of the political police in the squares. Not a smart strategy, going to the squares anyway is more risky, but less surrending.
– I’ll experiment with posting kittens, my meals, my holidays (true or fake) and the like. After all, this is the kind of great freedom that Facebook promote, right?
– I’m going back to my old personal site (for the moment, this one that you’re reading) and I’ll focus on that as my primary mean of expression and digital contact. I could try many other platforms instead (I like Medium), however they are all like Facebook: they all have absolute power to decide which contents you can post, and they can censor you without any control whatsoever from a public authority, which would (at least) act under the powers assigned by a democratically-passed law. In other words, we’re delegating our freedom of speech to a bunch or big international corporations (worse, to their smart algorithms and their smarter Guardians) and nobody seems to care. There isn’t much I can do about it, but I don’t wish to stay without doing anything.
– The last two points are related: I’d like to experiment ways to go unnoticed by our Beloved Facebook Guardians. After all, they have already a lot of work to do to give us a safe and enjoyable place, where you can’t attack fascists who are never suspended or banned, or where human breast feeding is considered pornography. So, I want to do my part to not bother them unnecessarily. Which means finding ways to reach the audience on their digital squares and, at the same time, remaining unnoticed by their political police (especially because, as I said above, part of it is made of soft robocops, which, honestly, don’t look particularly smart, and the other part is made by human beings who I’m not sure would pass the Turing test).
– Last, it’s a sad fact that I, as potentially anyone else, must be prepared to be kicked out of Facebook at the discretion of its Guardians and without any chance for appeal. I know, our Beloved Facebook Moral Guardians work so hard to make this community a safe and enjoyable place. I know, they do have to punish me because I’m naughty, I deserve it and I need to be educated. But I can’t help, I’m not someone who easily bow to abuse, whether it comes from fascists, racists, pseudoscientists, an algorithm or a human being who apparently is not using many more neurones than an algorithm. So, I might be banned from the toy and so, my friends (i.e., whoever might care), I urge you to get in touch with me thorugh other channels, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Hangout, Telegram. Most importantly, write me at <name>.<surname> at gmail.com, I’ll do as much as possible to insert you in an update mailing list (opt-in, opt-out, low traffic, and all the polite polices of the case).
By the way, I regret that I cannot thank the guy who reported my profile, since he also blocked me from any contact with his profile, and I deem people like that so important for my life that I don’t remember his name. Hey, my brave, open-minded and democratic friend, thank you, for having reminded me that not everybody is as luck as me in having a good and fulfilling private life. Thank you also for your kind and honest comments toward volunteers and NGOs who work with immigrates, especially those that used words like ‘thieves’ and ‘cowards’, since that reminded me that I had to donate to Open Arms, for in this new barbaric age, we do have to resist and we have to do it with concrete action.
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