Facebook and Viewpoint Censorship!

22 Oct

Last week an outspoken prolife friend of mine got banned from Facebook for twenty-four hours when an unknown person reported her for abuse.  

My friend is one of the kindest people I know.  She speaks what she believes to be truth (and I agree with her),; she speaks it in love.

She came away from the experience with the belief that virtually anyone can report virtually anyone else to Facebook and get her banned for twenty-four hours merely for having hurt someone’s feelings in what was said.  Or that virtually anyone can have an enemy who is stalking her from site to site, systematically trying to get her banned.   

I think almost everyone would agree that, in the U.S., you are still allowed to have a prolife (antiabortion) viewpoint, even if that would bring up unpleasant memories for a woman who had had an abortion.  Even if she would regard your opinion as one that, by necessity, hurts her feelings (because she is postabortive and you disagree with the procedure’s legality).  

But, on the other hand, Facebook is a private company and, by virtue of that, does have the right to support one viewpoint over another, even to the point of banning those who are prolife, whether for twenty-four hours or forever.  

Thing is, will Facebook make this a pattern? 

If so, the principles of free speech and free enterprise would lean toward a Christian or prolife person starting an alternative site.  A site robust enough to support millions of people who would Just leave Facebook in their rearview mirror, since their viewpoints would not be acceptable to its censors anyway.   

I am going to bet Facebook does not start widescale viewpoint censorship, however.  They like being the leader in their field.  Having competitors arise because Facebook chooses to engage in viewpoint discrimination would not be a positive for them or their bottom line growth!

And WordPress (the site supporting my blog) virtually thrives on controversy.  It gets them readers and more readers mean more money.  

As a friend said when I started my blog, “As a Christian you must be kind, but don’t flee from controversy.  Wordpress will not censor you.  Especially when there is controversy involved.  It is in their best interest to just let that go by . . .”

Things to think about . . . we still have free speech, but we are not guaranteed a venue in which to express it.  Watch Facebook closely and see whether the occasional episode of viewpoint censorship becomes more and more common.  See what you think . . .  

 

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2 Responses to “Facebook and Viewpoint Censorship!”

  1. creativepowerhouse October 22, 2013 at 3:02 PM #

    If you were referring to me getting banned, Mary, they showed me the objectionable comment I made. Word for word, it said, “Good grief! Is Michelle back?” There was nothing about it that anyone could deem offensive. I was asking one pro-life friend if another one was back on Facebook after being banned. Someone then reported me for my innocuous comment and got ME banned. They don’t have the manpower to read each comment someone submits as offensive, so they just automatically ban the person as a warning. It’s within their rights to do that, but you’d think they would have metatags for words within the offensive content that show them it was offensive. What would mine have been then? And the ironic thing about it is they DO allow people to remain on Facebook without being banned, even after numerous complaints — outspoken man/boy pedophile type posts, rape posts, other things that objectify women, sex trafficking posts, etc. It’s a sick world we live in, unfortunately. If any of the Social Network movie is true to fact, Facebook was started and is run by folks with pretty loose moral standards to begin with… I still use it as a tool to keep up with friends who live in other countries and other states and to share my beliefs. It’s worth the bias and banning. I mean, it is free…

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