PZ Meyers has an excellent post dealing with social media on his blog. It’s really worth the read, but what struck me was this observation:
One source of this problem isn’t that all social media is bad, but that it is built in such a way as to encourage these isolated communities of hate to grow — there are no moderators. The adults have all left the room. In fact, the corporate owners of these networks have consciously decided that they will not break up the little klans that form, and will actually punish anyone who tries to intrude on their vicious circle jerks with ostracization. This is glaringly obvious on Twitter and Facebook — they have “rules” and “terms of service” that allow genuine brutality to dribble through, but anyone who dares to disrupt the cycle of reinforcement is a threat to their business model. See for example how they try to silence Feminista Jones and other women who respond to misogyny. It ain’t the misogynists who get put in their place.
He’s right, sadly. For example:
Welcome to the wonderful world of Twitter! This same thing happens on Facebook; users will post vile, threatening content and nothing happens. But make a sarcastic comment about it? Tell someone to jump into a chipper shredder? Make a comment about “white people”? Whelp, you’re banned for the next month. This isn’t a joke, because this is exactly what happened to Prime. On multiple occasions.
The adults have left the room and the three year olds are out in full force, shitting on the carpet and scrawling misspelled expletives on the walls in crayon. No one is willing to step up and deal with the problem. Certainly not Zuck. He’s made his money and that’s really all that matters to him.
Lately, I’ve been taking a break from social media, mostly Facebook. The general atmosphere has been toxic and it seems to be getting worse as time goes by. (I’ve seen far too much in the way of anti-gay, anti-trans, and outright racist comments and posts. It’s disgusting. That’s not factoring in the sexism.)
Yes, it’s bad. However, if people stop using the platform, it might curb some of this behavior. Fewer clicks means less money. Cut into the profit margin and Zuck may yank his head out of his ass. So my vacation from Facebook seems to be extended for a little while longer.
Not that I’m complaining about that much.