Tuesday, July 08, 2008

My recent experience with Facebook got me thinking about the precariousness of our online existence. Interestingly, yesterday (just as my problem was resolved) the paper had a four-column article on the issues involved "Online Freedoms Inconsistent." When we sign up for these free services, we are at the mercy of the service provider. We can be screened, edited, or (as I was) summarily booted out, and we have no court of appeal because this is a private enterprise. That's perfectly legitimate, but my experience this week told me not to take too much for granted. Just two days before I found myself exiled from the Facebook community, I published a post about a pro-life video that had been taken down by YouTube for violating unstated criteria. I kind of wondered if my FB experience was in some way related to my having put that post on my FB page and not only on my blog... In other words, is Orwell's Big Brother online?

As the AP article noted: "Community backlash can restrain service providers, but as Internet companies continue to consolidate and Internet users spend more time using vendor-controlled platforms such as mobile devices or social-networking sites, the community's power to demand free speech and other rights diminishes. Weinstein, the veteran computer scientist, said that as people congregate at fewer places, "if you're knocked off one of those, in a lot of ways you don't exist.""

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

YouTube administrators have a very weird sense of what is appropriate. Recently, a video was available for viewing featuring teenaged girls consuming excrement and vomitus. Another video, yanked only after public protest, showed a soldier hurling a puppy to its death. If I was to cease to exist on this particular platform, it may not be such a bad thing...

Joe said...

Look at 4marks.com and parishnetwork.org, both are Catholic oriented Social Networks. I do not think you will have the same problems with them.

xaipe said...

Thanks, Joe. I'm on 4marks; didn't know about parishnetwork.org. But I also want to maintain FB as a form of outreach beyond Catholic borders...

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister Anne ~ this is elsa from FB. I was wondering what happened to you. Now I know and I'm glad your FB account got fixed.

Just as an FYI, in regards to the "creepy" watchers on FB, a Global Justice professor told us last semester that FB is run by the US CIA Dept.

She is a Nobel Peace Laurette too. So it is a trusting source. A lot of my classmates removed their FB immediately after she told us this. I didn't since I try not to post any personal data or write notes.

Besides, my dearest Heavenly Father knows everything about me already. Dont need to worry about this! LOL

Peace,
elsa