Facebook Doesn’t Want To Be Friends With Activists

September 18, 2010 at 2:20 PM (Uncategorized)

Facebook has put into place a series of convoluted rules and policies, some of them not very transparent and many of them enforced sporadically and inconsistently, that severely limit certain political and anti-corporate activists.

A small “Boycott Acme Widgets!” page with a few hundred or a few thousand members might have no problems. However, once that page grows beyond a certain point and might actually be having an effect on the target of the boycott, Facebook may suddenly decide that it violates some policy or another and start disabling features. As you would imagine, many activists are pissed.

Don’t be too surprised by that. The people who use Facebook are not Facebook’s customers; they and their private, personal information are just a commodity being sold to the corporate advertisers who are Facebook’s customers. Is it any wonder that vague, inconsistently-applied policies cause a headache for activists who oppose corporations who I’m sure have no problem at all running their own Facebook pages?

Just take all this as a lesson. When you set up one of those activist pages, use it to drive people toward a website that you control. Don’t let your entire project be at the mercy of a company that might not agree with your activism. Take whatever steps are necessary to ensure you retain the ability to get your message out, even if Facebook suddenly decides your project violates some obscure policy nobody’s ever heard of.

(h/t to Rainey Reitman of Bradley Manning Support Network)

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