Facebook Suspended Me
First, let me say this is currently a point of pride. I stood up to stupidity and called someone out for a lack of empathy. I stand by my statements, and would make them again. I’ve also read the Facebook Community Standards and their legal mumbo-jumbo and I don’t see where I am in violation, so chances are I will probably again violate whatever nebulous provision of which I’ve fallen afoul. I guess I am not a smart man. Next, let me say this isn’t a case of “freedom of speech.” It’s Facebook’s service and if they want to kick me off that’s fine. That’s their right, just as it’s my right to write about this. Lastly, I am not going to play the martyr here. I am not going to delete my page or call for a boycott or start screaming about lawyers or demanding an apology. My rights have not been violated. I see this suspension as a good thing. It’s made me realize this is why I’ve always believed in “rolling your own.”
If you are dependent on the services of others for your ability to speak then you only have the voice they allow. I feel like bolding that sentence so I am going to: If you are dependent on the services of others for your ability to speak then you only have the voice they allow. I’m being censored here. Facebook is censoring me. Again, this is their right and is not a freedom of speech issue. I feel I need to be brutally clear on that for risk of seeming like a hypocrite otherwise. My comment was removed and I am forbidden from further commenting or even replying to comments on my own Facebook wall for 12 hours. (How will I live‽) Not all censorship is bad. Facebook is tasked with creating an environment that is safe and civl for their users. In this case they made a mistake.
I have been enjoying my writing more lately. I’ve also been doing more of it. I’ve liked the likes on Facebook and engaging people is discussions of technology, politics, and whatever is interesting me at the moment. I miss my blog, so I am going to spin it back up and start posting there instead of Facebook. I have this suspension to thank for the realization this is how I should have been doing it all along. I’ll move this post to the new site when it’s done. It’ll be my first post!
I do have to say most likely I am done being Facebook’s customer. I don’t mean I am done using their service. The people using their service are not the customers, they are the product being sold: If You’re Not Paying for It; You’re the Product. Most likely I am done advertising on their site. I’ve placed at least three ads in the last year, and did intend to experiment with additional dollars in 2014.
I’ve appealed my suspension. Below is what I submitted. The only changes I’ve made are to link to the Facebook discussion and the linked article that started it all (and the correction of one typo because I can’t stand typod). I don’t expect my suspension to be lifted.
I’ve read and reread your Facebook Community Standards page and I still don’t see where I violated it, so I am apt to do it again.
A link to an article about children asking Santa for the bare essentials for Christmas was posted by Joe Peacock. In response a woman stated something about how these parents should have thought of this before they had these kids and the parents should be required to take a test and prove they are financially able to take care of their children before having them. I am forced to paraphrase for obvious reasons.
I was suspended for calling out stupidity. I stated her parents failed to produce a child capable of empathy. A bunch of people pointed out what she wrote was offensive. She tried to back pedal and say she meant something other than what she wrote, but eventually she stopped digging a hole and deleted her comment, accusing the people that disagreed with her of violating her “free speech” on her way out. So there is irony here in that I am the one who gets censored. (Obviously I have no proof this was through her actions, but the coincidence is too great otherwise.)
I realize it’s only a 12 hour ban that is already mostly up, but I am offering you a chance to reconsider. I do not believe I have done anything wrong. Joe Peacock agrees with me. I’m a past advertiser with you and planned to do additional advertising in 2014. Joe writes for CNN and Huffington Post (among other places). I feel we are not the kind of users you want to alienate. I also doubt this is really the kind of Christmas story you want told.
Let me know.
Christopher L. Jorgensen
The statement that got me kicked off? “Went back and checked. Your parents failed the practicum test on producing a child capable of empathy.” I said this about a woman who somehow thinks children who ask for a toothbrush for Christmas shouldn’t have been brought into this world at all. And I am the bad guy. This seems like a pretty tame statement to me. Hell, Joe Peacock and I both told a homophobe we wanted to fuck him in the ass and those statements are still up there. I can’t speak for Joe, but for me that was a use of hyperbole (I’d have to see the homophobe’s picture first).
Oh well. I’ll post a link to this update on the Jackass Letters Facebook page when I am allowed back in. We can discuss it there. See you when my suspension is over. I’ll update you if I get a reply from Facebook.
In the end I blame Joe.
After pretty much every one else in the thread called this woman out as being heartless she wrote: “I apologize for having opinions that people disagree with. Since we apparently live in a country where freedom of speech is not a thing, I will remove the offending comment and myself from this page. Have a wonderful day.”
To which I replied:
SILENCED HER WHOLE LIFE!
Too bad she left. I was really hoping to hear the logic of her free speech argument. I generally find people who fall back on “freedom of speech” arguments have no idea that the First Amendment protections only apply to the government. This is Joe’s page and I think he can delete any comment he dislikes. This is not an issue of free speech. This is Facebook’s service. They can remove anything they don’t like. That’s not an issue of free speech. If the government comes in as starts deleting comments, well, now you finally have a free speech issue.
tl;dr: Blame Obama.
So I do find it ironic that Facebook then deleted my comment and suspended me for 12 hours. It seems half this country is currently banging the “free speech” drum. These are generally the same kind of people who carry a copy of the Constitution around in their pockets, but I have to wonder if they’ve read it:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Show me in there where it says you are guaranteed to spout ignorance and people aren’t allowed to challenge your beliefs and opinions? Show me where it says a cable network must give you a TV show? Show me where it says a company can’t remove any content you put on their site? Seriously, these concepts aren’t that hard, people.
I stand by everything I said in that post. Too bad she wouldn’t.
Update: I am back in. (For now.)
Have a comment? Put a stamp on an envelope and drop it in the mail to:Christopher L. Jorgensen
PO Box 546
Ames, IA 50010