GotNews.com editor-in-chief Charles C. Johnson has been banned from Facebook for thirty days for posting a paraphrase of Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
The first time Johnson was kicked off was for revealing that a State Department official in charge of refugee policy was in the Ashley Madison database.
While Johnson’s account was ultimately restored by Facebook’s Katie Harbath, who serves as Global Politics and Government Outreach Director, GotNews.com’s Facebook account with over a 1,000 likes was deleted without explanation.
The second time Johnson was banned was for posting a joke on his personal Facebook page:
“In the multicultural melting pot Muslims are that explosive new ingredient!”
Now Johnson has been suspended for posting a paraphrase of Donald Trump’s statement after the attacks in Brussels.
— Mike Cernovich ?? (@Cernovich) March 23, 2016
Facebook’s turn toward censorship has become especially pronounced after it worked with the German government to censor supposedly anti-Muslim speech.
German regulators are also clamping down on the social network’s anti-privacy policies as part of an anti-trust effort. While this might not seem as if it’s a big deal at the moment it’s worth recalling that the German economy and the American one are well integrated and that after English, Germany is one of the dominant languages of the Internet. German Wikipedia is the second largest after English Wikipedia, for instance.
If globalization is the movement of goods, services, information and labor, Facebook’s policies should be seen as promoting the free flow of both information and labor. This is becoming especially challenging as the world moves in a more bearish direction.
Zuckerberg has pushed amnesty efforts through his “charitable” arms in part because the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. is illegal Hispanics. (His girls who code effort should be seen as a way to similarly drive down wages.) Zuckerberg is still hunting for new markets. He’s brushing up on his Chinese and make visits to China to expand his empire. His investments in virtual reality are about making the addictive experience of Facebook still more addictive.
— John M Knox (@johnmknox) March 20, 2016
But the reassertion of national sovereignty on the part of regulators in Europe (and perhaps eventually in America) should have Facebook worried.
Even if the next president is Hillary Clinton no president will be as sycophantic or as complicit with Silicon Valley fascism as Barack Obama–the president who owes his political success to its not entirely coincidental rise.
In other words, the risk to the future of Facebook is political rather than economic.
These social media companies aren’t as strong as might previously appear. They are running out of people to connect and while advertising is likely to migrate more to Facebook than to Twitter it’s a rising sliver of a declining pie. Tyler Cowen’s Great Stagnation is starting to eat into real incomes which is, in turn, affecting how likely people are to buy things.
The question is whether Facebook ad buys are translating into real sales and the answer here is less clear than it might appear. It could well be that Facebook is another GroupOn for advertisers. Facebook is trying, of course, to learn more about what drives you emotionally and it may be having some success.
— Sean Gardner (@2morrowknight) March 16, 2016
Alas word of mouth (or memetics) is what drives real purchasing power but it’s unclear how Facebook recoups any money from your friend bragging about the new car he bought.
GotNews.com is planning a lawsuit in the near future against Twitter for censorship. If you’d like to donate to that effort, here’s the link.
There’s an inherent tension in all advertisement based social media properties: the advertisers want a nice environment to sell you things, the user base wants to talk about whatever it wants to talk about, and the site wants to continue growing and staying in business. These interests are moving in diverging directions. The more a social media site censors, the more it runs a risk of decline. User communities are fickle, fragile things.
At some point someone is going to want to be the Rosa Parks of internet freedom and anti-corporate censorship.
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