“Facebook Community Standards”

So, I’ve been on Facebook for thirteen years now. And in that time I was able to build a vast network, mostly revolving around aviation in general and my aviation art in particular. Roughly about 2,000 FB “Friends” and 6,000 followers can witness the activities that I post. The majority, as said before, revolves around aviation and my art. But every now and then I share stories about anything that moves me, or memes with jokes, some job- and/or family-related photos and other goofy stuff.

People who know me know that I have some strong opinions, that I’m brutally honest and that I have no taboos. As such, I sometimes post content on FB that borders on or goes a bit beyond the so-called “Facebook Community Standards”. Seldom do I get a warning or another sanction, such as a restricted account for a specific time, due to “violating” these “Facebook Community Standards”. But I do get them. As years progressed, I started wondering who or what creates and upholds all of it.

Because, again as years progressed, I’ve grown to become quite irritated about the non-transparent and condescending nature of how Facebook enforces these “standards”. And with each measure taken against me, that irritation grows. What are Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook cronies? God? No, they aren’t. And, if they are, over two Billion Facebook users, me being one of them, made them God. And God’s will is Law. Exactly how Facebook and its algorithms seem to operate. With impunity.

As a social network, Facebook says it want to bring people together and connect. It may have started this way in Mark’s head but as the network grew so did the power that comes with it. And, everybody knows that over time power corrupts. Today Facebook is all about gathering, mining and selling content. Especially for profitable advertising purposes. With each click you and I perform, Facebook adds a building block to our profiles. For these to be exploited. Nothing less, nothing more.

Watch the documentary The Social Network.

The ”Facebook Community Standards” are said to be there for the protection of the Facebook users. Of course, with over two Billion users posting, all can not be reviewed “by hand”. So, some very nifty algorithms that can learn with each click have been designed and implemented. In six different categories, posts can be flagged, automatically, and get the user into trouble. The severity of that trouble depending on the severity of the “violation”. It has happened to me several times so far.

The latest “crime” that I had committed was posting an uncensored pic of a nude lady covered in mud, as a comment under my own post of a censored version of the same pic. Within 20 (!) seconds that comment was flagged and my account was “restricted” for 24 hours. So, that must have been a fast and smart algorithm. I must say, technically I can admire that. Some rocket scientists must have created that. On the other hand, I’m pissed off. Not because of that pic but Facebook’s action itself.

We have a saying in The Netherlands: “Equal Monks, equal caps”. And herein lies the problem. Viewing the Facebook newsfeed on a daily basis, I must say that upholding these community standards has no consequent nature. It’s like a leaking basket. Seeing what content IS allowed to go around freely, I must say that terrorists and Russian troll factories have a field day. But of course, their negative influence on all of us is much less than that mud-covered lady pic that I had posted…

Me using Facebook is, as a friend said, a love-hate kinda thing. This network is quite handy for building and maintaining contacts on a global level. It has given me the opportunity to become known internationally as an Airpower Artist. On the other hand it rubs me absolutely the wrong way how a commercial company can seamlessly step into the role of Big Brother, not only watching but also actually have an influence on your and my freedom of speech. Acting like a despotic digital God.

Thank God I have a real life as well. Way more important than the digital one.

Suck it up, Zuck!

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