The Truth About Community Standards on Facebook
Two waves of outrage have rippled across Facebook in recent days. They serve to highlight the true intentions that Mark Zuckerberg and company have for their hapless members. If you understand what they’re up to, you will be able to meet it with equanimity and immunity. Read on..
The Hunters and The Hunted
The first outrage was the revelation that Facebook deliberately manipulated the emotions of several hundred thousand members in a social science experiment. By tweaking the percentages of negative and positive news stories in members’ news feeds, Facebook “discovered” that it could make people post more negative or positive posts.
For some reason, the world reacted as if no one had ever manipulated people’s emotions before and it was the Evilest Thing Ever! News flash: everyone manipulates your emotions: your spouse, your kids, your parents, your boss, and certainly all those nice advertisers who bring you free TV, search results, and Facebook!
Much is being made about Facebook’s ostensible “violation” of ethical rules “imposed by the government” on research involving human subjects. Such rules apply only to projects conducted or “supported” by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. I cannot find any indication that Facebook had federal funding for its internal marketing research.
The second scandal involves Ms. Kendall Jones, a 19 year-old Texas cheerleader whose Facebook page documented her recent African safari. Her proud, smiling face over dead lions and other big game sent animal-rights activists to the apogee of apoplexy. Miss Jones received death threats by phone, and similar threats were posted by anonymous cowards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
A congressional candidate even went so far as to offer $100,000 to anyone who could provide him with a nude photograph of the Texas cheerleader, and tweeted "She deserves to be a target." Whatever you may think of hunting for sport, I suspect you’ll agree that the zealots crossed a line.
What Are the Standards?
A “Kill Kendall Jones” community page was created on Facebook. Hundreds of peace-and-love types liked it. Thousands of sane people, including me, did not and complained to Facebook about it, demanding its removal. Here is the response I received:
“We reviewed the Page you reported for containing credible threat of violence and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.” I suppose that “we” refers to some low-level, anonymous moderator who probably wears a Greenpeace T-shirt. Either he or she sympathizes with the incitement of murder, or was informing me that a "credible threat of violence" doesn't violate Facebook's Community Standards.
The same sociopath, or some other(s) with power over what we post, deleted Kendall Jones’ page. This is what happens when you have too many worker termites and not enough adult supervision. Even better, my Facebook post decrying the “Kill Kendall Jones” page was deleted without my consent or notification. Then the “Kill Kendall Jones” page vanished, just like her safari page that started the ruckus. And Poof!... all trace of controversy disappeared.
What we can conclude about Facebook’s “community standards” from these two incidents is simple and obvious. The only standard to which Facebook adheres is: “Keep them fat, dumb, and happy.”
Cows produce more milk when they’re quiet and tranquil. Facebook members produce more advertising money when they’re unperturbed. So controversy will not be tolerated on Facebook; it’s bad for business. On the other hand, insipid “inspirational” JPGs featuring cute babies, Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi will continue to foul your news feed with their cloying idiocy forever.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 14 Jul 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Truth About Community Standards on Facebook (Posted: 14 Jul 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved