I read stories like this almost every day: banned from Twitter for no good reason; banned from Facebook for no good reason; banned from Facebook supposedly by accident, but come on, we know what’s going on here.
I don’t for an instant think Bret Weinstein’s Facebook account was flagged by an algorithm: someone there wanted to silence him and hoped to get away with it. But most of the time these bans happen because the sheer scale of these platforms makes meaningful moderation impossible. Facebook and Twitter would have to hire ten times the number of moderators they currently employ to make rational judgments in these matters, and they won’t voluntarily cut into their profits. They’ll continue to rely on the algorithms and on instantaneous denials of appeals.
Here’s your semi-regular reminder: You don’t have to be there. You can quit Twitter and Facebook and never go back. You can set up social-media shop in a more humane environment, like micro.blog, or you can send emails to your friends — with photos of your cats attached! If you’re a person with a significant social-media following, you can start a newsletter; heck, you can do that if you just want to stay in touch with five of six friends. All of the big social-media platforms are way past their sell-by date. The stench of their rottenness fills the room, and the worst smells of all come from Facebook and Twitter.
In your heart you know I’m right: It’s time to go.
P.S. Of course, I’ve been singing this song for a long time. I return to it now simply because the election-as-mediated-through-social-media seems to be exacerbating the misery of millions and millions of people. I’ll try to sing a different song from now on.