Discussing this issue with people seems to be a repeat of the YouTube fiasco. Some people get me while others are either waiting for me to break because they’re not as aware of how much of the internet doesn’t run on Facebook, or they justify them saying, “It’s a platform.”
My answer is, “WordPress is a platform. Blogger is a platform. Reddit, Tumblr, and Twitter are platforms. Google has platform like features. The difference is that they take some responsibility for what they promote and how easily.”
A platform is basically a kind of free-to-the-user, ad funded hosting service for the technically impaired. Angelfire, Geocities, and now Wix are more recognizable as free hosting services because they call themselves that. Putting aside size of the company and associated perks, the only difference between them and Facebook is that they attracted mainly people who wanted to write about specific topics, and you had to have some idea of HTML to use them well. Facebook just has a lower bar of nerdiness. That’s it. They’ve made a hosting service where you only need to be moderately literate to not only publish your content, but have it marketed globally. Without any restrictions except what triggers “white” Americans, mostly male ones, and literal sweatshops of cubicles of people instructed to coddle them, it just becomes the internet’s baby pool where people can excrete whatever they want so long as it doesn’t poke anyone’s “white” fragility.
Now, if someone is fine with an internet with no limits except the law, why in the hell would I subject myself to that kind of restriction?
To me it’s hilarious every time some nazi or facilitator of fascists or authoritarians complains that Facebook or any other “platform” (hosting service) is “censoring” them. I am used to being able to say whatever the fuck I want. I post articles on witchcraft specifically about how to curse racists and sellouts. Let’s just say the word: coon. I can post all I like about coons who are traitors to African people, and were I so inclined, be as arbitrary and mean as I like because this is my site. The only fragility I need to navigate is the legal system which isn’t entirely fair or free. I can’t post encouraging violence or non consensual criminal behavior towards anyone, but that’s about it. I can have whatever opinion I want here without having to worry will it upset the “white” folks. I don’t even think there are any “white” people among the owners of the hosting service I’m using.
In the subtext, like a low hum behind every post on Facebook is that worry: “Will it upset the “white” people enough to ban me?” Most things they’re not even paying attention to because their racism makes them dismissive of a lot. I never had a problem posting about Vodun/diaspora ceremonial tradition there. Things didn’t get uncomfortable until we got into, well, I’ll class them as subjects of sacrifice that tend to come out during a revolution. A lot of people who had said nothing that anyone who isn’t an American or American style racist or someone instructed by them would have a problem with, were getting suspended and banned. Some were merely defending themselves or countering racists on a rampage.
I made a page and a group to make Facebook aware that they have a serious racism problem that was not just about race but election tampering and disinformation campaigns. They made a show of having a multi ethnic virtual conference about how to make Facebook a more inclusive and less hostile place for people who aren’t “white” American males. A couple of days later they had gone backwards and allowed a previously banned edited photo of Trump orally raping Rep. Cortez. They are doing nothing to make it even a safer place for women. I had enough. On Facebook, anything goes as long as “white” American guys think it’s okay.
Since I went E.A.N. with them, I’ve read all sorts of even more disturbing things about what Facebook allows. I’m not sure what it all means for the future of Facebook. What I can say now though is that all those swimming in the internet’s baby pool need to get out and take a shower before they have their identity stolen, get swatted, stalked, or robbed. It is not a safe place if you don’t know how to protect yourself, and might not be for long even if you do.