I want to discuss something that happened to me on Facebook this week. On June 26th, one of my friends from this forum sent me a link to this debate. The debate was about the influence of social media on democratic institutions. One of the debaters was Roger McNamee, an advisor for the CHT.
I thought the debate was great and wanted to talk about it with other people. I contacted my friend @ferj since he has an organization that helps people coordinate discussion groups in the Bay Area. He agreed to host a discussion about it through his organization.
Ferj offered to post about the discussion on his group’s Facebook page since I don’t use Facebook much. I helped him create a Facebook event called “Post-Debate Discussion: Is Social Media Good for Democracy?” We posted the event on June 27th and had 12 people express interest.
Everything was normal until Tuesday afternoon (July 3rd). On that day, Ferj got a notification from Facebook. It said that Facebook had deleted the event permanently. Facebook said the event “look[ed] like spam and doesn’t follow our Community Standards.”
The message didn’t provide any further details about the decision. The only way to appeal it was to click a button which read “This Isn’t Spam.” Ferj clicked the button, but Facebook just displayed this message: “You told us that your post wasn’t spam CLOSED.”
Facebook hasn’t reinstated the event or reached out to us since. Ferj’s group has hosted more than a dozen discussions in the past, posted as events like this on Facebook. Facebook has never banned or criticized any of them before.
It seems like Facebook is censoring us. This brings up a lot of interesting questions about Facebook’s practices. It also makes me wonder about freedom of speech online. How can we talk about the companies which control our means of communication?
I’d love to hear what you all think about these issues.