Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Freedom of Speech

I had an unsettling experience on Facebook yesterday. I got into a lively discussion with a friend of a friend on someone else's status. Eventually, I wrote that I'd enjoyed our argument but that it was simply going around in circles and I didn't want to clog up our friend's status any further so was going to stop. He replied - maybe in jest - that he knew that the real reason was because I was losing. I really didn't want to get into any further discussions. In a supreme act of bitchiness I deleted all my comments. That should have been the end of the story. Later, however, I noticed that he had reposted them. The only way he could have done so was to have copied them elsewhere on his computer before I deleted them. At first I found this amusing. On reflection I found it creepy.

The security settings on my Facebook page are very high and I never like or comment on anything that will show up in the newsfeed of someone I don't know. All I want to do is interact with my friends. Obviously by commenting on a friend's status his friends are going to see it whether they're my friends or not. I don't have an issue with that. My issue is that someone copied my comments without my permission. It wasn't a funny or a copy/paste status; it was comments I had made and then deleted. I can see the value of keeping a record if someone is cyber-bullying or if one is dealing with a company but neither was the case here. I simply fail to see why they were copied.

The blog is different. I want people to read it and comment on it. The more the better as far as I'm concerned. If anyone wants to quote me feel free; it's public. They're not words I want copyrighted or protected.

I do, however, moderate comments. So far every one of them has been published. I'm definitely not trying to censor. I decided to set that up after a fellow blogger was personally attacked in comments left by a follower. She was very upset and considered stopping the blog. If someone disagrees with what's in the blog or with the comments of one of my followers, that's fine. I don't believe, however, that any blogger or their followers should have to be subjected to something more personal. As bloggers we're putting ourselves out there and are a potential target for abuse. I guess that our personalities shine through to a certain extent. That doesn't mean our followers know us and can pass judgement on us as people. All they can do is pass judgement on our blog.



  1. Not funny. If this is a "friend" of mine, they never get access to me or anything of mine again; people only get to do this kind of $#!+ to me once, and they'd better enjoy it the first time. Of course, only you can assign a value to any given friendship you have, but somebody who has so little respect for you that they would do something like this... Well, your call.

    Whatever you think of this person, Facebook is not your friend, nor anybody's. One of your fellow Aussie bloggers posted a cartoon that showed a pig showing a newcomer around the barnyard, pointing out all the comforts and amenities. "And the best part," he concludes, "is that it's all free!" As he's talking, a tractor-trailer marked "Smith's Slaughterhouse" pulls up in front of the barn. The point being made is that if you aren't paying for a commodity that's being sold to you, then you are the commodity that's being sold. Facebook is only interested in what they can exploit you for as part of the revenue stream, and they don't believe you have any privacy at all; all of your personal business belongs to them from the moment you click on "Join." I've never touched anything that said "Facebook" on it, although, of course, anything my friends have said about me belongs to the world. It's too late for you to reclaim anything you've already put on there, but you never have to put anything else on there unless you just want to give it away. Again, your call...

    Just note that you are always calling for people to shun companies that exploit the poor, the weak, the environment, and so on, and that's good, that's what we should all be doing. Just be aware that nobody in the history of the world has ever exploited more people in more social strata or more walks of life than Facebook. Hitler is dead; Facebook is Satan...

    1. I love Facebook but am increasingly aware of its pitfalls, particularly after yesterday. I've always tried to be very careful but have had two incidents recently which have involved my privacy which have left me a little shaken. Did you ever watch Star Trek: The Next Generation? If so, you'll know what I mean when I say it's like The Borg. I'm one step behind in my privacy when I think I'm one step ahead.