Facebook decision proves free speech has unexpected effects

Staff Writer

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Facebook has been losing its appeal lately. So how will Zuckerberg and Co. respond to their falling numbers?

A lovely redesign?

Get rid of annoying features that nobody wants?

Install that “dislike” button we’ve been clamoring for?

Yeah, right.

Facebook decided one morning that they were going to ban all videos that feature some form of decapitation, mostly because a video of a man cutting off a woman’s head was going around daring viewers to look, like the cinnamon challenge for godless sociopaths. After the ensuing outrage got back to Facebook, they issued the proclamation. Great job, Facebook! You have proven that you don’t allow terrible crap like that to poison our feeds! There’s nothing Facebook can do wrong EVER again, except, you know, reversing that decision without warning later.

Which is exactly what happened.

In a statement, the site claimed that the videos were being shown so people could react with outrage, before ending it with a— probably— hollow promise to make a graphic content caution logo for these videos. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t comment because he was in a fetal position within his vault, clutching all the money he still has left.

Disgusting? Yes. Outrageous? Oh yeah. Surprising? Yeah……no.

All this did was prove nobody can go deep enough into a widespread problem: the Internet lets awful people plug in and ratchet up their volume, like a Marshall amplifier whelped in hell and nursed by high-ranking Nazis, and it needs a serious scouring.

If you look, you’ll find that the Internet has awful moments that dystopian fiction writers have made up and then cut for being unrealistic, like the legions of scum who drive people into death’s embrace, or the thousands of right-wing psychos on the message board Free Republic.

The easiest place to target for this problem, though, is Reddit. It’s like Dante’s Inferno, where the top is alright, but things get worse further down. There’s places for gory pictures and videos, “men’s rights” and a 2500 up-voted post in “r/incest” where a guy is asking if it’s alright to fulfill his sister’s request to take her virginity because she’s scared of strangers (Spoiler: He obliged her). And that’s even after they got rid of the threads for child porn and beating women.  

What makes me mad is people that defend this and call it free speech. Speech, no matter how free, still has consequences.

Internet sites aren’t democracies. They are privately owned sites with rules. If you break them, you’re out, no matter what point you were trying to prove, because your opinion is way too evil/stupid for mass consumption. That’s the price that comes with being able to say what you like: everyone else has the right to shut you down.

That being said, I think there needs to be a bigger squeeze on the owners. Deciding what is offensive and disgusting needs to be viewed carefully and logically, but once it is established, you shut that down without hesitation. Reddit has been called out in the past for allowing the previously mentioned threads and not enforcing their own rules, but it seems that wasn’t enough. This time, we need to scrub this filth until it’s gone, then make sure it never comes back.

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