“The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocritical.” ~ William Hazlitt
I have something of a rant today, just so you know (after a rant yesterday at my photoblog). These things happen from time to time- nostrils flare, the motormouth begins, and, well, I get a chance to vent. There may be the occasional bad word. Sisters of Little Or No Mercy, you can add this to the long list you’ve been keeping about me.
Trolls. They are a pestilence on the earth, even more annoying than scammers and spammers (by the way, scammers and spammers, it’s been awhile since you’ve sent the latest scam email from the widow/ daughter/ concubine of the late general/ el presidente/ warlord/ minister, and I’m looking for easy blog material, so what’s taking you?). They infest everywhere you look online, of course, starting fights, being obnoxious to the point of fingernails on a blackboard annoying. And they’re probably most present on Facebook (otherwise known as Zuckerberg’s Personal Playground).
There are more than one kind, of course. One is the belligerent asshole who spends all their time being themselves, ignorant, bigoted, despicable pricks- that’s all they know. And there are the hyperpartisan political shills that one will find all over any and every news story. Here in Canada we have ourselves more than our share, on both sides of the political spectrum, but the ones who are primarily irritating these days are from the right. They’ll be on all day- one can see from the time marks of their dozens- or hundreds- of comments on multiple news pages.
I’ve blocked some- a particular troll by the name of Kiechle who uses a photo of the late and unlamented right wing commentator Andrew Breitbart and comments hundreds of times a day comes to mind, and someday if I write a white supremacist character, it’ll have his name. Others I’ve been snarky with. These are people who, among other things, defend the prime minister of my country, a man who’s tearing the country to shreds. They defend the indefensible, and, well... I see no reason why I should bother debating or reasoning with such people. They don't respond to logic. So being snarky and sarcastic is my default status. Incidentally, should their beloved prime minister lose the fall election, I might expect a number of people bearing the surnames Kiechle, Wakelin, Hatton, Kinney, Taylor, Konyo, and Thompson to suffer from what passes for their brains enduring massive short circuits.
Which brings us to what this is about. There might be those who think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. That is, of course, assuming they only know me through the proverbial social network that is Facebook. I am at present in Facebook jail (whilst plotting my jailbreak), suspended for a month for a so called violation of their community standards. Where did this start? Well, engaging two of those aforementioned trolls in an argument and saying something that frankly did not violate Facebook’s community standards.
The trolls in question are ardent defenders of the Harper Cabal. One of them in particular is a devoted fan of the former mayor of Toronto, the crack smoking drunken pile of garbage otherwise known as Rob Ford. Both of them are, well, from extensive comments, blithering idiots. The Ford fan in particular I’ve clashed with repeatedly, while enjoying watching numerous other people call her out for what she is. Fundamentally, after years of the buffoonery of that former mayor (who can’t take a hint and go away), I’ve concluded that anyone who still defends and supports him must be a) drunk, b) stoned, c) oblivious to reality, d) unbelievably stupid, or e) all of the above.
Both of them were commenting on an item about the crack smoking blowhard. My remark- the one that got me flagged and suspended for a month- was that the two drunks should just get a room and get it over with. That’s it. And that got me turfed. The last time this happened, it was supposed to be for a week. Instead it went for over two weeks. While this suspension is due to end by Monday, it really wouldn’t surprise me if it goes twice as long yet again.
Here’s the problem: in my view, that did not cross the line of community standards. Particularly given that these two, in response to my remark, tried to turn the insult back on me- if I’d violated the community standards, it would only be fair to suspend them for the same insult, but no, an attempt to report both just came back with the standard “this does not violate our community standards” automatic reply.
When I report something, 95% of the time, that’s what comes back. And I only report something when it’s serious. Racism, misogyny, whatever form of bigoted remark that I believe really does cross the line. And yet overwhelmingly, the response comes back: “this does not violate our community standards”. Apparently even the threat of violence doesn’t seem to bother Facebook- I recently reported someone I’d had no contact with at all for a comment suggesting that police officers should be killed in front of their families so they can understand how it feels, a comment that didn’t “violate their community standards”. The police, obviously, would feel different.
Facebook, among other things, allows white supremacists to get away with racist remarks that are an absolute violation of their policies. I’ve seen this repeatedly. I’ve seen the remarks of a specific racist asshole stay up- the accidental death of a toddler who fell from a highrise window some weeks ago got this comment from him: “who cares, the young boy was gonna grow up to be a hood rat like his kind does”.
That’s low. This is a repeated pattern of behaviour from this individual- and yet Facebook never removes a comment, nor feels it violates their community standards, nor suspends such a person. This is a repeated thing with other bigots I’ve reported. No consequences for racial or gender hatred. Meanwhile I get suspended over nothing.
I’m not annoyed by the suspension- at this point it really doesn’t surprise me. What bothers me is the rank hypocrisy, the double standards of a “social network” that throws someone out for not crossing the line, while letting repugnant excuses for people like that have the freedom to spread around their bigotry.
The odds of him ever reading this are of course non existent, but I'll say it anyway. Mr. Zuckerberg, you’ve gone and created something of a monster. You call it a social network, and yet your community standards are a joke if your site suspends people who don’t cross the line- from the help forums, I see I’m not alone in this dilemma, there are a lot of people either being treated this way- while at the same time letting goddamned hate filled jerkoffs get away with being bigots. You’ve become the problem, while your site goes further and further into hypocrisy and double standards. If you actually gave a damn about users, you’d make your site accountable, allow for appeals of wrongful suspensions, refuse to give bigots a free pass, and give users real answers and actual communication instead of bullshit automatic replies. Faced with the rampant double standards and hypocrisy running rampant through their life’s work, someone with integrity would bloody well deal with that. It would seem you don’t have any.