Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hoist By Their Own Petard

No lie, I had to look up what a 'petard' was. Apparently it's a kind of explosive. Thanks, Assassin's Creed, for teaching me all about pre-Renaissance weaponry! 

A lifetime ago, it seems, I wrote about Bahar Mustafa. I wrote about how using hateful language, even if you think you're 'punching up', is still going to come back to bite you because of the rules you set forth, because you've thrown away context in favour of outrage, because you're more worried about scoring Good Person Points than you are talking to someone you disagree with.

And here we go again. I find myself growing more and more accustomed to the phrase "I told you so."

I'll be addressing some points from an article from The Daily Beast, but first a brief musical interlude.


Such a catchy song. I think the whole point of it is that it's ironic that a song about irony dredges up example after example of things that aren't ironic but instead just suck.

So the gist of the article is that there are women, ostensibly comedians, being banned from Facebook (and Twitter, Instagram, etc) for such benign, harmless phrases such as "men are trash," "men are scum," and "all men are ugly." And yes, this is bad. People shouldn't be banned for writing harmless (but stupid) things like that. This is not a Good Thing.

But, to quote Tony Stark, this is the end of the path you have started us on. When you've spent the last few years attacking, flagging, and reporting everything as harmful and hateful, you shouldn't be surprised when all of the sudden your particular favoured target is now considered 'protected' and your speech is stifled. After all, Facebook is a private company, right? They're not the government and therefore not bound by the First Amendment, right? You're not crying over your freeze peach, are you?

No, of course not. Because it's Different When I Do It™, right? Because your faceless, featureless, monolith of groupthinking physical traits are morally superiour to the other faceless, featureless, monolith of groupthinking physical traits.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, countless women have taken to Facebook to express their frustration and disappointment with men and have been promptly shut down or silenced, banned from the platform for periods ranging from one to seven days.
See, I want to respond to this. And there's such an obvious comeback, but the kindergarten-level #NotAllMen is what I'd receive in return, not any introspection about judging people by their actions and character and not by their genitals.
Kayla Avery, a comedian in Boston said she’s been banned close to 10 times by Facebook and is currently serving out the end of her third 30-day ban.
I'm not sure who Kayla Avery is. Google just shows me someone convicted of murder. Maybe if I add "comedian" to the search something will...
Oh... she seems nice.
The post features screenshots provided by Sanni where Facebook does not deem comments calling her the N-word hate speech.
You know, this one time I stumbled across a profile that was full of sexualized images of young boys. I reported that profile. This is what I got in return. 
It's almost like Facebook just sucks at moderation in general.
As ProPublica revealed in an investigation in June, white men are listed as a protected group by the platform.
A Facebook spokesperson clarified that this is because all genders, races, and religions are all protected characteristics under Facebook’s current policy.
Like it or not, whether you even knew it or not, this is what you were asking for. You wanted all manner of protected classes. Did you think Facebook, one of the world's biggest companies (and a fat financial target for litigation) would open itself up to a discrimination suit by a hungry lawyer by not making a certain group or other a 'protected class'?
Female comedians have speculated that it’s internalized misogyny on the behalf of Facebook’s content moderation team that leads to punishment such as banning to be doled out unequally. Several have tried posting “women are scum,” had their friends report the posts, and subsequently suffered zero consequences.
"Speculation and anecdotal evidence have led us to believe that they're putting chemicals in the water that are turnin' the friggin frogs gay!" Come on, now. 
One issue with the way Facebook moderators currently review posts is that many “problematic” posts are viewed individually, without context because of privacy concerns. Facebook moderators also aren’t able to view personal or demographic information about the original poster. This means that they sometimes don’t know whether a piece of content was posted by a black queer woman or a white straight male.
2015: Fuck your context, you're _____ and that's problematic!
In the past, ironic misandry has been a popular way for women to deal with living in a world where they’re exposed to frequent abuse at the hands of powerful men. Yet, if a woman takes to Facebook to vent about how she “wants to imprison men and milk them for their male tears,” she could quickly lose access to her account.
But wouldn't ironic misandry normalize misandric statements, and therefore allow them to creep into the mainstream? You don't want that, do you?

Do you?
...has become a favored tactic of the alt-right, Gamergate, and movements known for their coordinated harassment...
B4? That's B4, right? I'VE GOT BINGO!
“I get cold feet to post stuff, especially if I try to share something that’s going on that I want to bring attention to. because I feel like I’m going to get in trouble somehow,” she said. “Sharing anything is nerve racking. It’s like, ‘What’s ok? What’s not ok? What’s going to cross the line this time?’ It makes me feel crazy, like Facebook is gaslighting us.”
Cold feet? Almost like this sort of thing has a chilling effect on free speech? Oh my, that does sound like a problem I sure wish someone had tried to warn us about this for the last few years

Ok, I'm done picking at The Daily Beast for now. Look, this sucks. It does. I don't want people banned from social media for writing something dumb. If that were the norm, I'd have been banned from Blogger by now, for sure. But this is what you've been pushing us towards. This is the end of the path you started us on, and now we're stuck here. Social media companies have tried so hard to kowtow to your demands that they overreached and now you've been hit, too.

I'm sorry, I truly am. But you had this coming, and so many of us tried to warn you.

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