Monday, May 6, 2019

Where'd They Go?

Facebook, according to the BBC, is banning several people that it has labelled as "dangerous individuals." Ho hum. The names on the list to be banned belong to people that those outside of their follower communities tend to have little respect or use for. In this, Facebook is simply kicking out of the service a number of people that most Facebook users don't appear to want to be bothered with anyway.

But I did find this statement in the piece to be interesting:

However, Facebook has been criticized for giving forewarning of the bans, giving those affected a chance to redirect their followers to other services.
Part of this is a nod to the perceived power and reach of Facebook; an assumption that if the banned individuals were to simply go dark without warning, their audiences would have difficulty tracking them down. And hopefully, at least some of them would grow discouraged and give up the search, perhaps to return to the rest of the world. For my part, I'm dubious that abruptly banning people would do anything but cement the idea that Facebook is capricious in people's minds. After all, it's not like people don't know how to search for any of these people online. And it seems that it would be difficult to police all of the blog postings, internet memes and chat-room discussions that could point someone to their idols' new homes.

Also lurking in that criticism of Facebook, however, is the idea that the company has some role to play in making it difficult for people to find the content that they wish to partake of, if that content is deemed harmful. And one can presume that there is a strain of thought that says that other companies have a similar responsibility. Again this seems to be a nod to the idea that these companies effectively control what people see, and therefore what information they can have legitimate access to.

Which is, of course, a double-edged sword. Because someone who can disappear information that one doesn't want others to have can disappear the information that one does want them to...

No comments: