A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Daily Prompt: Freedom of Facebook

Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

Before we can discuss this, have you read the terms, conditions and policies of Facebook, or did you click through the accepts as most of us are prone to do. Facebook has a page that allows you to find out all about these at https://www.facebook.com/policies although there are many links, some of which you really should read, for this topic, click on Facebook Community Standards.

Under Facebook Community Standards, you will find the following topics, Violence and Threats, Self-Harm, Bullying and Harassment, Hate Speech, Graphic Content, Nudity and Pornography, Identity and Privacy, Intellectual Property, Phishing and Spam, and Security. After describing all these Facebook covers all of these with:

“Reporting Abuse

If you see something on Facebook that you believe violates our terms, you should report it to us. Please keep in mind that reporting a piece of content does not guarantee that it will be removed from the site. 

Because of the diversity of our community, it’s possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked. For this reason, we also offer personal controls over what you see, such as the ability to hide or quietly cut ties with people, Pages, or applications that offend you.”

Now that you know whats acceptable, and  what’s not allowed this should be a quick discussion. Well it pains to say your wrong, it won’t be an easy discussion, and in fact it will be a topic for many years to come. Yet it’s a discussion that needs to take place. For if we are to have a true social media platform, there will never be total agreement on content. For what you would spend a lifetime advocating against, someone else would spend a live time rallying for. Different cultures and religions have different views. which do you set the standard by, the most permissive or the most restrictive? In some cultures a string bikini is acceptable, although risky others allow women to go topless, as long as there is no commercial intent to the partial nudity. Yet others it is considered a crime to show parts of their body, that are part of the every day view in many cultures.
Lets use an example that doesn’t involve Facebook, the consumption of alcohol. I use this, as there just happens to be a handy chart on Wikipedia.
Minimum Drinking age by country. After looking at this, which involves only alcohol, how do you draw up a standard that applies to such a diverse topic as Freedom of speech or expression. Yet it is a discussion that not only needs to happen, but must happen, and soon. Because the internet is the new arbiter of standards in this digital age. Various countries are already restricting what anyone within their borders may access.

So now that we have established that this is an issue that is worldwide in scope, and impact beyond just Facebook. Google has made deals that vary country by country, with China being the most notable, The Huffington Post has an excellent timeline on Google in China. So lets look at the company policies level. Above I gave links and some information as to what Facebook says are it’s policies, should we expect a company to live up to it’s stated polices, in one word YES. Companies today have mission statements, which proclaim loudly their values and objectives. They will spend large sums of money of defending their image, in court and using any available media source. Facebook among others, has been investigated for privacy issues in Canada, and Europe.

So yes Facebook and other social media sites, allow us freedoms that where unthinkable even a generation ago. Yet at the same time these freedoms can be used for good or for evil, it is time that we the users, posters and beneficiaries of these freedoms came together and drafted a policy that respects the dignity, equality and access of all individuals in this world, or we may wake up to a world where we are all told what to think, say and do on the one hand, and on the other a world in which the truth is out there, but where.



More Freedom through here.

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5 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Freedom of Facebook

  1. John on said:

    Regardless of all ‘Policy’, it is only Statute that is truly binding. And to quote a website established by a plagiarist (Huffington Post) is quite riske, not to mention intellectually risky. No happy medium lies in censorship of any sort. Had the West censored Mein Kampf, (as but one example) few would have had advance warning of that mad mans (and his priestly supporters) intentions.

    We don’t burn books…we ought not burn digits in the moment.

    • The point is, why have these lofty statements about what is and is not acceptable, if all they do is fill space with no substantive value. Facebook and others would be better off with a rating system, similar to the movies, perhaps with a few extra categories.

  2. Pingback: Is Facebook Two-Faced? | The Jittery Goat

  3. Pingback: Daily Prompt; Freedom of Facebook | terry1954

  4. Sweet you,

    I’ve an award for you, for the person who you are and the things you share with the world

    Thank you for that..

    Namasté, Summer

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