Facebook Censorship

Facebook has (again) falsely judged a post.

One of my wife’s posts was about her (southern) ancestry. You’ll see it below.

But Facebook instantly said it is in violation of their standards. Exactly what they object to, however, is not explained.

Facebook’s rejection (at the top) and the post in question (in the bottom-half).

After clicking the “Continue”, she checked a box to ask for a review. But in their reply to that (below), FB said they “may not be able to follow up.”

Facebook declines to review the matter.

Not only is this censorship, it is automated, and without recourse.

In some Hollywood movies, computers take over. In “I, Robot” they do so in accordance with the “Three Laws” in order to keep humanity safe from itself. In “Colossus – the Forbin Project” the goal becomes more self-serving: humans attempt to regain control and, to prevent it, the computer nukes one Russian city and threatens another in Texas.

In airplanes and an increasing number of cars, computers have the ability to control the vehicle. It can apply the brakes, speed up, turn left and right, and in the case of a commercial airliner, ascend and descend, even land the plane in zero visibility.

But in every one of those vehicles, there is a pilot or a driver–a human being–who is charged with the ultimate responsibility such that, when the computer is confronted with an ambiguous or unusual situation, the human operator has the ability as well as the responsibility to take control.

Computers are tools. They are very fast, very exact, and very complex. But even if their ability to compute increases a million-fold, they are still just computers. They are not thinking, and they have no real understanding of life or death. Instead, it’s just a number, “1” or “0.”

Giving a computer the ability to override human judgement is wrong. And to do so without recourse is extremely alarming. In this instance, Facebook has over-zealously censored an otherwise innocuous post.

“It’s only words,” you might object.

The US Constitution and the now-contested “Section 230” deal with this specific issue. Lest they slip one past you, pay attention. Censorship is a very real problem.

You’ve heard the expression, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse?” But if you’ve never heard the law, and those laws are withheld from you, then you truly are screwed.

Beware Facebook. Big brother is not only watching, he’s also editing what you try to say.

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