Sunday, May 1, 2016

Facebook M.I.B.?

THERE's been a number of posts that I read in the last few days saying their FB accounts have been “locked out” or demobilized, some posts deleted. If this is really happening, so be it. This is essentially a free media venue or an “open” public/universal forum. We should realize that someone is in-charge of “keeping the house” via standards that they are trying to instill, probably. It's their house. Meantime, I do recognize the good things that Facebook and social media offer. One huge advantage/benefit of FB (Twitter etc) is the presence of a flowing exchange of thoughts and publication of work and info-sharing that were not as easy and accessible before. Old school media was a specialized profession--which means, a byline is earned by way of a news story that was gathered out there and was deliberated by a board of editors before publication. An eagle-eyed scrutiny of articles. Once a faulty report comes out, the newspaper runs the risk of a libel case and/or the ruin of a journalist's career. It'd be hard to find another writing job again if a report was proven to be fabricated, distorted or made up.

          The major disadvantage of social media-fed news is—there is no way to edit or filter all these infos and “facts.” One survey says this, the other study debunks it. Videos are staged, visuals are photoshopped. Anyone can blog as a so-called sexologist, psychologist, or some “expert.” In fact, “legit” news on Yahoo are actually based on click frequency and “trending” behavior and not because it is news, per se. One needs to figure things out if a news item is a sponsored advertisement, a political campaign fodder, an opinionated take on some issue, or actually the traditional/conventional 4 Ws and 1 H of journalism. Worse, the freewheeling and nonchalant way how people converse or argue in social media equals the way drunks and stoned individuals banter. There seems to be no way to put a break on these—especially on this season of election/s. An obvious derogatory meme or an apparent bogus data come out so fast and shared quickly globally that there's no way to control it.
          Let's go back to our eWonderment. Are some FB accounts really been “locked out” or demobilized, and some posts deleted? Could be or maybe it's true. Yet I don't see it as “censorship.” I struggled with that at the height of my long journalism career back home. Yet I don't think this is censorship—it is a simple case of “Let's put some breaks a bit.” There's been a lot of obvious false and misleading/destructive infos pertaining to elections (here in the US and in the Philippines) and the people involved as candidates that I read in the past few months. And the way how people talk? Damn, it's like a damned nasty relationship fight or bar-room brawl. Cuss words, curses of all kinds. Thing is, we always howl about the right to free speech. I get that loud and clear. But free speech doesn't say mouths and language running berserk. The words “rude” and “abusive” and “judgmental” that we so love to accuse or caution people about are splattered all over Facebook like that's actually how humans talk?
           I don't want to overthink the “lock out” or demobilized accounts and deleted posts. Facebook is still a free venue to one and all. Yes, it isn't actually free because we pay for internet connects, but you know what I'm saying. I try my best to post what I deem as alright—within and around the boundary of rational chat and light fun—for my kids and schoolchildren, Christians and Pagans and Muslims, Republicans and Democrats and Communists, and Americans and Filipinos and Koreans and Kenyans to enjoy. When you think about it without overthinking, it's a no brainer.

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