You are still in jail
So, Facebook doesn’t make it very easy, but I found out why I was jailed: Bette Midler.
She wrote a vulgar poem about the President’s penis and Breitbart reported it. I posted it — and violated those Facebook Community Standards, at least in the view of some troll who follows my feed.
(By the way, this is the only link I’ve found that lists posts in your account that result in Facebook discipline: https://www.facebook.com/support/?ref=hc_global_nav)
With the exception of my business account, I’ve decided to opt out of Facebook, which, these days, represents a kind of self-jailing. I have a place to blog, but I’m guessing maybe 10-12 people think to drop by here on a regular basis. Think about how many blogs you check regularly. I’m guessing you don’t. You wait for your friends to post the “best of” articles from the blogs and online journals they read, which were likely re-posts from someone else’s share. Both journalism and social media are pretty derivative. We talk about what other people are talking about, which is probably a good thing — since the best stuff rises to the top, gets shared a lot, and the gritty story-ore gets purified by scrutiny.
BUT — and this is serious, folks — the “correct-think blob” is forcing you down approved channels. I’ve been jailed for discussing Islam, transgenders, and what a whore Bette Midler happens to be. Facebook is essentially saying, “if you want continued contact with your friends — there are certain things we won’t let you discuss.” I probably will not post this article on Facebook, because — who knows? — perhaps just the mention of those topics triggers some veiled zealot on Facebook’s payroll, or trips some topic algorithm in the safe space code library.
This sucks, to be certain. It’s bad for representative government. It appeals to politically correct Puritans who insist on proper social-think, but it’s perfectly understandable from an editorial perspective. All platforms need some moderation, and Facebook — unless it becomes a monopoly or a utility — has the right to police its content.
What bothers me? We put up with that squeamish little girl standard. We don’t create alternatives. Mewe and Minds and Gab don’t seem to be gaining any momentum and Jordan Peterson’s thinkspot is still in beta, or waiting for beta. I think, even if vibrant competition were to sprout up on the social media front, there’s a part of us that will insist, properly, that we share important ideas as widely as possible. If Jordan Peterson were to create a truly free discussion for 10% of America, we would still be compelled to reach the other 90% locked, by habit, into Facebook and Twitter — EXCEPT that certain ideas won’t be allowed there.
We have no shortage of vibrant, conservative online content — American Greatness, AmericanThinker, Townhall, National Review (sometimes), DailyWire, Breitbart, American Vision, Babylon Bee, PraegerU — just to name a fraction of what’s out there, but — as many of us now know — sharing the wrong post, or sharing it with the wrong commentary, can get you jailed. If a few social media giants simply ban articles from the top conservative sites and the top influencers, eight weeks before a general election, the American middle would be deprived of sane voices long enough to shift the results towards the crazy side of the compass.
My sense is that we need some combination of “smart consolidation” and “boutique cachet.” The folks at Babylon Bee might be alarmed by this proposal, but suppose they simply refused Facebook shares, or a shared paywall made you pay for them. Think about this: Mark Zuckerberg — on coke, gin and laughing gas — could never be as entertaining as even the most mediocre Bee headline — and yet the Bee provides Zuckerberg content for free. What if you had to go somewhere else to get a Bee laugh — and discuss that satire? What if PragerU videos were simply not available on Facebook — on the grounds that Facebook is too low and vulgar for thinking viewers?
In the 1980s, big fat newspapers were purchased by consumers simply to read Gary Larsen’s, the Far Side. Before he lost his mind, I would, on occasion, pick up a magazine — Newsweek? — in order to read George Will. Today — even though we don’t charge for it — all of the intellectual momentum is on the right. The real humor is on the right. The movies people actually want to see are on the right. The left provides nothing but crazed object lessons in insanity, and yet we let them control the forum. We let half-wit atheists keep the gate, and make money, off our ideas.
I may be tilting at windmills, but my tepid content (I know I’m not Gary Larsen good), stays here from now on, until I can find some steady band of brothers and sisters to build a ticket booth and a brand.