Censorship on social media site Facebook has been a heated topic of debate for years, but some things need to be put into perspective. Facebook has been met with allegations from every front in recent months, including various political and religious wings. Many believe the censorship of the website to be biased, and various appeals have been opened where affected parties have claimed an infringement on freedom of speech. The popular social networking site is biased, but not in the way many people suppose. Facebook is biased because Facebook makes the rules.
Conveniently, Facebook’s terms of service are available for anyone to peruse at any time. Under section five of the terms of service (TOS), Facebook encapsulates basic rights shared by all users which are to be respected by the community at large. Obviously, no illicit content is permitted to be uploaded to the website, but beyond that the rules are quite vague. Intentionally so. Facebook cannot be seen to pander to one specific group precisely because its users are literally coming from all walks of life. Facebook caters to the young, the old, the Christian, the Buddhist, the atheist, the conservative, the anarchist, the liberal. People from every possible background converge of Facebook in a constantly flowing exchange of ideas and morals. It has become such a confluence of opinions that it is nearly impossible to post anything without offending someone.
The reason some individuals believe Facebook is disproportionate in its censorship policies is because they don’t spend time away from their circles, and thus cannot see the other end of the spectrum. It is disadvantageous to the extreme for Facebook to alienate a large portion of its member base, which is why reported cases of bullying are dealt with in the same manner. Diane Sori, a contributor to the Tea Party Tribune, posted allegations after a stream of what appeared to be Facebook cracking down on the right wing. She writes, “And what do ALL these sites have in common…ALL tell the truth about this traitorous, Second Amendment hating, economy destroying administration.” Sori is also of the opinion that Facebook does not target posts made by left-wing factions, which is demonstrably false. Satirical religious pages, organized by atheists and agnostics, have been met with the infamous Facebook ban. In certain instances, the pages were just closed without any reason given, so it’s unclear whether these groups posted any questionable content or simply annoyed the wrong person. There is also evidence of yet other groups whose sole purpose is exploiting Facebook’s system by teaching others how to effectively report content they find displeasing. It is a constantly shifting tide, which is why Facebook has had to put into place such a biased, yet impartial, perspective on censorship.
The unique perspective Facebook has put on censorship will never be perfect, but it is far from the travesty it has been portrayed to be in the past. Contrary to popular opinion, Facebook does not have an agenda to eradicate any particular cause. With such a variety of topics flowing in on a daily basis, someone has to police the traffic to make sure everyone is held to the same standard. Otherwise, a seemingly harmless article will rub someone the wrong way, and it will be too late to douse the fire.
By Sam Williams