Freedom of Facebook

Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content its users post, or should users have complete freedom? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

keyboardfreedom

Today’s prompt is an interesting one, which will evoke a lot of different opinions.  This certainly is a prompt where I cannot wait to see the responses!

Freedom of speech – that little piece of legislation that gives normal citizens the freedom to say what they want, when they want.  There are two problems with this.

First off, it is an unfortunate fact that some people do not know where to draw the line, and live by this rule:

impress vs bs

A very good example of this was seen last week on the Facebook page created in honor of the late Lee Rigby.  Some of the responses were heartfelt and sincere, but some of them however were just shocking.  At some point I wanted to ask these Neanderthals whether they realized that the page was not created to entice revenge, but to pay respect to a fallen hero.

Secondly, we live in a society where gossip rules.  Some people seem to live for the next bit of saucy detail, regardless of whether it is true or not.  People would much rather believe something bad about someone than to go to the effort to find out the truth.  It’s a fact.  I’m sure it is not necessary, but if you feel the urge to check whether this statement is justified, simply Google Celebrity Gossip.  I’m sure you’ll get the point.

These issues then poses the problem whether internet speech should be censored.

We all have heard of people whose relationships turned to dust or had their reputation shattered because of what was said by an ignorant fool.  Facebook has become a powerful tool for marketing and activism.  When you come across a new product or service (or even, in some cases, when you meet someone) what is the first thing you do?  We turn to Bing or Google, look at the majority of reports and form an initial opinion based on what we find.  This is where I have a bit of a moral dilemma.

Scenario 1 – Freedom of speech is practiced in every sense of the word:

Freedom is allowed across all platforms and any negative claims made, will have to be backed up with evidence to the contrary.  This would mean employing someone full time to keep abreast of what is being said about your company.  For a company like Monsanto for instance, this has proven a difficult task (especially in the past week) as they have had to deal with an influx of rants from visitors 🙂   I am pretty sure they would rather have had the option to just delete those comments before they can be seen.

However, what happens when a company is maliciously attacked with claims which holds no ground?  They will then be stuck with a huge PR dilemma.

Scenario 2 – Freedom of speech is moderated:

Now, this is pretty much the basis that WordPress works on, and for me, it is a system that works really well!  Any comments by new visitors are placed on “Pending” until such time as it can be “Approved” by the owner of the site.  Once a visitor have been approved, all future communication will appear automatically.   This can however also be detrimental in the sense that the owner then have the choice as to what content he / she wants displayed.  It is a very simple choice to delete a comment which goes against your liking.  I guess it’s a matter of the moral compass of the person in charge.  If you can’t take the heat (criticism) stay out of the kitchen!

I quite like the way things are being done on WordPress and will stick with that for now.

Just remember:

freedomofspeech

 

 

May Day and more

Happy May Day to all! I hope you are making good use of your day to relax and spend some quality with your loved ones.

Let’s just spare a minute to think not only about how far we have come to fight for workers rights, but also how much still remains to be down to ensure safe working conditions and good wages for te employed as well as job creation for the unemployed. There is a huge amount of work still to be done!

On a lighter note: twenty years ago today was one of the best days in mankind’s history – the first day that the internet went live! Love it or hate it, you have to agree it has forever changed our lives.

Imagine searching for a mother’s day gift, planning that far away holiday, finding that perfect job, anything for that matter, without the internet it would just not be the same. I love the fact that even though our family members are miles apart, we can still know and see exactly what they are keeping themselves busy with. Equally important for me is the vast amount of information and audience we have at our fingertips. I honestly don’t know how Dickens or Shakespeare did it!

Thank you to Cern (European Organization for Nuclear Research) for first bringing it to us.

To view the very first web page that was made publicly available go to:

http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

Right now, I’m off to Mugg and Bean with Luke for Chai Latte’s, Red Velvet Cupcakes and The Prophet by Kahlil Bibran