Yesterday I posted a picture and “news” item on Facebook about a Tunisian swimmer who purportedly refused to compete against an Israeli athlete because he was in the Israeli Air Force and flew missions over Gaza. Although the information was merely based on Tweets, and unreported in the mainstream press, I posted it on Facebook. The posting generated alot of comments, mostly respectful but in disagreement with the post.
When I returned to Facebook this morning to reread the comments, I found that my post and all of the comments had been deleted, presumably by the invisible Facebook Censors.
I then posted the following message:
Dear Facebook Censors, family, friends and fools:
Deleting my posts without my permission is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
I’m going to “save” screen shots of posts and messages which are significant to me, and repost them if necessary.
I refuse to be suckered into Winston Smith’s Ministry of Truth aka Orwell’s “1984”.
You can disagree with my posts; you can debate my posts; but you cannot silence my posts.
I suspect that someone was offended by my post and complained to Facebook, which without warning or notice, deleted the post. If I could, I would paste that post about the Tunisian swimmer here, along with the comments. But they are gone, just like the messages that Winston Smith deleted in his job at the Ministry of Truth.
Facebook’s censorship should alarm everyone. Regardless of the content, whether you agree or not with the posts, the abusive power of the censorship pen (or keystroke) reaches down to touch us all. Your ideas, his ideas, my ideas ….. all can be wiped clean by the invisible hand.
A democracy only survives and thrives with the critical thinking and discourse among its members. Stifling free speech is abominable and the first step towards fascism.
I searched today for more information about that Tunisian swimmer and didn’t find any news agency had reported on the Tweets. There was speculation online that the story was a FAKE.
How easy and dangerous the Internet and Facebook are for sharing lies and truth. I don’t want to be the conduit for propaganda or misleading information. It appears that the story about the Tunisian swimmer has gone viral.
I’m angry. Angry at myself for being gullible and posting a story that was likely a FAKE. I’ve been reflecting all day about why I was prone to believe a story that “slapped Israel.” Have I lost my objectivity in the Israel-Palestine conflict?
I’m angry at Facebook for this act of censorship. I’m REALLY angry. But when all is said and done, I don’t regret posting that story last night. It helped me reflect on what makes me tick. And it opened my eyes to the dangers of Facebook censorship. I won’t be silenced.
Now . . . to restore some accuracy in news reporting, take a listen to NPR’s “All Things Considered” which reported today about the Jewish vote and Romney’s pandering to Israel. The 15 minute program is here.