Update: As of 11/26/16, my Facebook account has been restored.
Addendum at the end of the post
I’ve been banned from Facebook.
My account has been suspended supposedly for violation of community standards.
My profile is still active, you can still access the page and comment on posts that haven’t been deleted by Facebook. But I myself am locked out. I can’t post, comment, or access the Facebook messenger system.
The community standard I violated is apparently the one where you’re not allowed to criticize actual, no fooling, Nazis.
Yes, actual Nazis.
That’s right, I was banned for criticizing an actual Nazi.
This is the post that got me banned:
I don't envy Mike Godwin, his law is getting a hell of a workout
I've got hundreds of angry messages here telling me to stop calling Trump supporters fascists. And I would, except for the part where I keep running into ACTUAL FUCKING NAZIS.
This guy for example. He's upset at my "brand of profanity" (I used the term "ball-gargling" in reference to Sean Hannity. My apologies, but as a retired military officer and professional writer when I see somebody gargling balls I'm required by law to use the technical term. I digress), but sees nothing profane about naming himself after an infamous French collaborator and member of the Waffen SS. Not to mention his "heroes" are literally a list of fascists, fascist murderers who became the actual Nazi party, and white supremacists.
And then there's "Jewry." Just right there, in a sentence, like you know that's something people who aren't Nazis do.
So again, you don't want to be called a Nazi?
Then stop hanging out with actual Nazis. Just stop it. Stop it. Stop it.
Stop hanging out with Nazis. Don't be polite to Nazis. Don't think that the First Amendment means you have to be respectful of Nazis. Don't pretend Nazis have a valid point of view. They're Nazis.
Stop standing next to Nazis.
Stop acting like Nazis.
Stop cheering Nazis.
Stop voting for the people Nazis vote for.
They're fucking NAZIS. You don't have to be polite to them. It's okay to hate them. They're fucking NAZIS.
Now, nothing I posted violates Facebook’s community standards.
If you plug “Henri Fenet” into Facebook’s search function, you’ll find literally hundreds of neo-Nazis praising the ideology of Nazism on Facebook. Talking about Nazis is okay. Posting comments favorable to Nazis is okay. Being an actual Nazi is okay with Facebook.
Nor is it use of profanity, in fact, if you type “fuck” into Facebook’s search function, you will literally find tens of thousands of results of that word posted to Facebook, including actual Facebook Communities and Groups that use the word in their titles. For example:
In fact, those who complained to Facebook about the post, flagged it as “spam” because they couldn’t find an actual violation of Facebook’s community standards – despite the fact that my post is obviously not spam by any definition including Facebook’s.
So Facebook removed the post and then banned me from the platform for the next 24 hours.
The people who do this sort of thing, do so specifically in order to silence people they don’t like, not because they are actually offended. This is targeted harassment specifically designed to suppress people like me.
In my case, I’ve been targeted by certain rabidly obnoxious members of the Science Fiction community and more recently by actual neo-Nazis and Trump supporters. These people spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over my Facebook page and scheming to find ways to have me shut down.
As I noted the last time this happened, unfortunately this is the risk you take when you sign on to Facebook and other social media sites. You don’t control the platform. Hell, you can’t even talk to the those who run the platform. And the size of it makes any attempt at real-time moderation by the platform managers a complete joke. Neither Facebook nor Twitter has made any real effort to prevent harassment, bullying, or any of the other more unfortunate aspects of social media. And Facebook has made no effort whatsoever to prevent abuse of their system and they’ve made it impossible for the victims to do anything about it. They are in fact complicit and they are very likely to become more so in the future.
My ban from the platform is the result of Facebook’s lousy architecture, which lets bullies and harassers abuse Facebook’s automated system – a system that was supposedly put in place to make Facebook safer – and I have absolutely no recourse for protest or appeal.
Despite the fact that I personally bring more than 90,000 people to the table on Facebook every single day, the people who profit from the content I create simply don’t care.
If Facebook was serious about their supposed commitment to free speech and the safety of their users, they would take immediate steps to publicly remove those who abuse the system. But not only do they not remove those who abuse the system, they actively protect those abusers and keep them anonymous.
I’d like to say that this won’t silence me, or keep me from posting to the community I’ve created on Facebook.
But the truth of the matter is that it very well could no matter what my determination might be.
If Facebook allows fascists, Nazis, Sad Puppies, racists, bigots, haters, and other assorted mal-adapted bilge to continue to abuse their system, then it’s likely I’ll be permanently banned from the platform. And I have no control over that – less I choose to knuckle under, raise my arm, and shout Sieg Heil with the raging mob.
Those who know me, know that I am a veteran who fought under the flag of the United States of America for more than 20 years, who fought for what that flag used to represent, can probably guess which way I’ll go.
Given America’s new acceptance of fascism, I suspect platforms like Facebook and Twitter will either have to become more accommodating of actual fascist ideology and less tolerant of people like me, or risk going to the wall themselves – especially given that our new president has made it very clear that he intends to directly control how the media, including social media, reports on his administration.
I guess we’ll find out.
Addendum: Comments on this post are now well over 200. When that happens, if you want to see all of the comments, including those nested under other comments, then you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “load more.” You may have to do this several times. // Jim