Friday, November 3, 2017

China now, Facebook later? ‘A new model of totalitarianism’


     Halloween is over, but there's still a lot of scary stuff out there.
     Among the continuing terror attacks — as opposed to good old-fashioned homegrown mass killings, which somehow don't count — and Congress sharpening its shears to fleece the middle class and Donald Trump doing what Donald Trump always does, it takes the heart of a lion just to uncurl from your fetal ball, stand up and face the day.
     So I hate to add one more worry.
    But have you ever had two unconnected aspects of life resonate with each other? One big and one small? So they seem to mean something?
     Like last week's Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and a blog post of mine being kicked off Facebook.
     The congress, in case you missed it, sealed Xi Jinping as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao. Immediately "he proclaimed the regime’s intention not just to become the world’s leading power, but to establish a new model of totalitarianism," according to a Washington Post report.
     At the same time, I went to Facebook and posted Monday's column on the sale of Howard Tullman's art collection, containing many, many naked women.
     I wouldn't dream of trying to run a photo of his art harem in the paper. Newspapers defer to our older, more conservative readers, and nudity upsets them. But the internet? Another story entirely. I splayed a particularly flesh-filled photo atop a post on my personal blog — paintings, drawings and watercolors, remember. Then I posted it on Facebook, which featured the photo atop the entry.
     For exactly two minutes.
     Then Facebook yanked the post down, declaring it a ....

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The photo that Facebook wouldn't publish

10 comments:

  1. Old man get-off-my-lawn moment: I don't get Facebook. I have a page, but I look at it maybe twice a year. Nothing about Facebook appeals to me or even makes much sense. As interfaces go, I find it ugly and hard to use. I really don't understand how anyone could depend on it as a primary source of news or anything else.

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    1. You have that in common with many, but (no offense intended), it's like me saying I don't like opera or modern art. I don't see the appeal, but then again I know very little about either and make no effort to learn more, yet feel I have a full life nevertheless. My life would still be full without Facebook, either, but I would miss out on the opportunity to connect with many people who are not part of my day-to-day life. Not that it's an unmixed blessing! But on the whole, it's a benefit to me and I'd hate to lose it. It's not my primary source of news, but sometimes it is the first place where I see news.

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    2. For the most part I just look at what people I follow have to say. And I will click on a news story that they mention. I don't click on something that purports to be news unless it is some one I trust.

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  2. Neil: Why are you surprised at this?
    Various social media sites have removed posts on breast cancer, because the word "breast" was used.
    I once made a comment that referenced "Moby Dick" on Disqus & it took two days to post, with the words, This comment is awaiting moderation".
    And Apple is incredibly prudish regarding any apps in its App Store & won't allow them if they don't meet their bizarre 19th Century Comstockian standards!

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    1. For the same reason, if you got in a car accident, you'd be surprised, despite your awareness that car accidents occur continually.

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    2. Neil, since you brought up car accidents, your concerns about an Orwellian Facebook are similar to mine about driverless cars. You want to control the content of your Facebook page, I want to control my truck. I don't do Facebook, so I don't know what your page looks like, but I'm confident that you're not reckless with it. Frightening that a robot wrested control from your capable hands. I'm confident in my driving ability. I've yet to pile up anything I've been in control of, or even scrape a parking garage wall.

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  3. I hope someone from Facebook reads this blog and can explain the censorship issue. Seems to me that one is in complete control of the source of what one views, which means that I don't have to read posts from cousins that have been irretrievably lost to right-wing cults (though I do read them, just to get a taste of what dementia looks like). If I feel that Neil's posts are disturbing, I can defriend him and never have to be bothered again with his nekkid women. Ads of course are different, but I'm assuming that they have to be vetted in advance of publication.

    john

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  4. I don't find Facebook's action the least bit surprising, though I wasn't offended in the least, either. It's a caution-usurping-questionable-material-allowed decision I guess. If that makes sense. The analogy Neil used with China is scary, however.

    As a daily Facebook user, having it removed from my usage would be like pulling a rug out from under me. I have all the info I've hand-picked, from news media to all sorts of interesting web sites and "friends", waiting for me to read and interact with whenever I have the time. I would miss it, for sure.

    SandyK

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    1. Forgot to add, an obvious benefit of Facebook is "friending" certain writers who post direct links to their blog posts.... :)

      SandyK

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  5. I was unpleasantly surprised to get an ad for Trump Tower via Facebook. I assume they just paid to have it sent to thousands of white males as general advertising. At the time, though, it seemed insulting, like an invitation to join the KKK or something like that. I'm more likely to protest outside Trump Tower than to stay there. Who controls that? Folks who can pafford advertising, I guess.

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