Social media is becoming an ever more difficult place to express oneself, with the list of things that you’re not allowed to say growing by the week. FaceBook (otherwise known as FaecesBook) is arguably the worst offender, and is getting worse all the time. Unfortunately for them, the seeds of their own destruction are sown by their aggression against free expression.
More and more people are finding themselves “zucked”. This means they are banned from FaceBook for a set length of time because of transgressions against the mysterious “Community Standards”: an ephemeral set of ever-shifting laws against saying certain things, on the grounds (presumably) that some might find the speech offensive.
In doing so, FaceBook has forgotten who made it popular in the first place. It wasn’t people who were worried about community standards – to the contrary, it was the sort of person who flocked to the Internet as a place to speak freely. It was the cool people who made FaceBook a fun place to talk about things that were hard to talk about in real life, for whatever reason.
These people are not going to tolerate being banned for 30 days for using words like ‘faggot’ or ‘nigger’: two things which ought to be punished by no more than mild social disapproval, without need for recourse to a higher authority. Cool people don’t put up with that sort of crap; cool people will simply find another platform (such as www.minds.com), upon which they can still express themselves freely, and without being encumbered by arbitrary restrictions imposed by some moralising, prudish control freaks.
The author was recently banned from FaecesBook for three days for writing the word ‘fags’. It wasn’t written as a slur, but as the opposite. It was part of the phrase “God Hates Fags”, in the context of mocking religious fundamentalists who hate homosexuals and who are boneheaded enough to protest homosexuality by holding up signs that presume to speak for God.
So it doesn’t even matter if you make a comment in support of homosexuals by mocking those who only are homophobic because they think God told them to be. Use of the word ‘fag’ or ‘fags’ is verboten, so utterly verboten that it is a crime for which there is no defence.
On another occasion I was zucked when a troll in a group I was in accused the group of being full of people who believed that Hitler did nothing wrong. I responded with “But Hitler didn’t do anything wrong” – a comment so clearly a joke that no-one except for the most socially retarded idiot sperglord could have thought otherwise. That’s no defence in the eyes of FaceBook, though, for who all thoughtcrime must be ruthlessly punished.
Perhaps I should have been banned for making such an obvious joke? It would have been much fairer.
It makes one wonder – has Zuckerberg ever been to a pub? Has he ever been out in public, and heard how people speak in real life when they’re trying to relax and make some light humour? ‘Fags’ is hardly a problem. What is a problem is the ever-increasing creep of intrusive advertisements on FaceBook, a platform where the vast majority of the content is created by users who could go anywhere else.
Or is the plan to make FaceBook a gigantic safe space, much in the same way that television currently is? Because the obvious problem with this approach is that FaceBook got its initial momentum from being the precise opposite to a safe space, and if it tries to be the United Nations of Internet forums it will end up just as despised and derided as the UN is.
FaceBook is already dying, but it might take several years for the obvious signs of its irreversible decline to become undeniable. It is, in effect, going through the inevitable life cycle of Internet forums, in which the fourth stage – Destruction – is marked by the controllers of the forum bringing in more and more and more rules in an attempt to recapture the glory days, without them being aware that it is the very application of all these rules which has driven the glory away.
The application of ridiculous Community Standards that not even the average grandmother can abide by without getting banned will be the death of FaceBook.