Thursday, September 15, 2011 are tedious, futile bores

Sign a petition. Change nothing.
For some reason, I'm signed up to receive emails from - the self proclaimed "online destination for social change." I've always found their emails tediously self-righteous; like the one today complaining about social media site Facebook:

"Dear Roland," wrote Shelby and the team. "Facebook says that hate speech and incitements to violence are banned and will be removed from their site."

"So why are they maintaining a page called "throwing bricks at sluts" that includes a photo gallery of portraits asking "Bang or Brick"?"

" member John Raines is going straight to the top. He started a petition on telling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take down these pages and take a stronger stand."

Hey, while he's at it why doesn't Raines ask Zuckerburg to purge Facebook of all offensive pages. Let's start with the pages that celebrate "hating gingers." They are literally hundreds of them.

Pages and pages of groups exist for the common interest of "hating gingers"

I mean, these pages are offensive, right? I'm certainly offended by them.

But what about taking it a step further. How about taking down other pages that cause offense. What about the dozens of pages which feature Christians arguing that homosexuality is a Biblical sin? Those are homophobic, right?

Hundreds of pages like this exist

How about pages supporting a "free Palestine"? Those are antisemitic, right? I mean, many of them are created by Jewish people, but there are plenty of people in Israel and America who feel that anything less than unconditional, unilateral support of Israeli policy in Gaza is inherently "antisemitic."

Millions have "liked" pages supporting a Palestinian state

While we're at it, let's see if we can combine ginger-baiting with antisemitism. How about this page?

Yep, this page exists
My point is this: Facebook is populated by user-created content - and a significant proportion of those "users" are assholes. Hundreds of thousands of patently offensive pages exist, while millions more could be considered offensive by some political and religious groups.

That's the price of freedom of speech; something Facebook seems much more willing to tolerate than

I'm not exactly sure what intended to achieve by fighting for the removal of two specific pages, regarding one specific issue, while thousands of more troubling pages remain. I suspect they're trying to get Facebook to start censoring users contents; which is all well and good until you start questioning who gets to censor what.

I'd rather live in a world in which pages proclaim "ginger jews r EVIL!!!" than one in which our Facebook content comes filtered through a tedious committee of airy liberals like the crew from

Offensive speech, even online, isn't fought by censoring it. That just validates it and draws attention to it. Instead, you have to combat it with reason, or simply ignore it. Starved of attention, anything dies. should really turn their efforts to more worthwhile endeavors. Emails like the one I got this morning undermine the few occasions in which they do try and do something right

1 comment:

Andy said...

Good piece, Roland. Gotta admit that I chortled at ginger jews R EVIL. Some people just have too much time on their hands.

The Davis case in Georgia is troubling. And sadly, not uncommon. I evolved in to an anti-death penalty guy partly because of such cases. I understand that the public has the right to demand it, and I won't call those that disagree with me evil (like ginger jews R), but I disagree with them.

Oh, I can understand when the crime is heinous, and proven beyond any doubt (or confessed to). But, I still don't like it.

As to the Facebook censorship thing...I think you've hit the nail squarely. Too broad to control. If they try, something else will emerge that swallows them up.