by Alex Lloyd Gross
A good number of people are current or former inmates of Facebook Jail. Is it fair? Is it worth while, to ban people from posting? The answer seems to be IT DEPENDS. To be honest, Facebook standards are arbitrary and capricious at times. It makes people wonder if the process for flagging people comes from a bot programmed to filter words, or very young an immature kids with an agenda. Or perhaps those flagging posts lack the maturity to see beyond words and actually look into the context of those words.
Someone posting about harming people due to their race or religion has got to go. However, posting harm to Nazi’s , should that be allowed? For example, an article about a KKK rally or Nazi march. Someone posts, “It would be great if a semi lost control and mowed them all down. It would be better if I was driving it”. Is that offensive?
Take an example of two males that have been friends for 40 years. They are on Facebook and also belong to the same groups. They like sports and one of them posts an opinion about about a player. The other replies “You are an IDIOT if you think that”, That person gets a ban because it was bullying speech. Was it? Did anyone from Facebook contact the person who was referred to as an idiot to see if they were offended, or if they laughed it off? The answer is no.
So the following are examples of how Facebook’s policy can cause someone to be killed. Jon Q .Public gets a seven day suspension for writing something derogatory ( but not threatening ) about a political group. “”If they are not in a mental hospital overdosing on Thorazine, they should be. You as well for thinking that.”
The next day Mr.Public’s five year old son goes missing.He is frantic. He gets on Facebook and types HAS ANYONE SEEN JASON? HERE IS HIS PHOTO CALL ME (215) 555-5555 missing 12 hours. Instead of posting, he gets an error message telling him that his account is suspended from posting due to his political discourse. He cannot post to his account, he cannot post to groups, He cannot post at all. His son is found dead, having been raped by a child molester. Or maybe he is found a few towns away after being abducted. He would have been found quicker and might still be alive has he not been banned.
Someone’s pet runs away. They are suspended from posting. They are frantic. Thanks to Facebook’s arbitrary ban on a post, they have a hard time getting the word out about their pet. They see on a group their pet has been found. They cannot post that “This is my pet”. They frantically send a message to the person that found the animal. They are not friends with them and the message never gets to that person in a timely manner. The beloved pet is taken to the pound.
The sad fact is one your account is suspended, you cannot appeal. Well you can, but Facebook claims not to have the staff to review all of the appeals, but they thank you for taking the time to appeal. They blame COVID. A billion dollar company cannot afford to hire more people to hear appeals? If this was a court of law, Mark Zuckerberg would be tossed in a real jail in a heartbeat. In a real world example, look no farther than Jussie Smollett, who was convicted and sentenced to five months, for faking a hate crime. He appealed and now he is free. Your account is suspended and you appeal and your appeal is reviewed and you are found not be be in violation. You already served a suspension? What’s on the agenda, an apology?
Many people have two different accounts. They are veterans of Facebook jail. They will keep both accounts active and when one goes down, they jump right on the other. This is one hack to get around what many call draconian policies of Facebook. Is it legal? What speech is offensive? How can you get a work around from what many consider unfair policies?
Again, this is not in response to a direct threat of violence towards a person, but even if it was, what crosses the line? Where do you stand?