As I sat and stared at that big fat ‘0’ I felt as if I was the loneliest man on the planet. Did nobody like me anymore? Used to bathing in the warm glow of Facebook approval, my world had suddenly turned upside down. I felt alone, rejected and unloved. I wanted to cry.
I reread the blog post over and over to myself. Although one shouldn’t really judge oneself, my review of BBC1’s late night political show This Week seemed as irreverent as usual. Sure, I had applauded host Andrew Neil’s savaging of a BME activist and his message of institutional racism, but it had been richly deserved.
Nothing untoward there then. I have always made it my business to promote rational debate over emotional blackmail. So why the Facebook freeze out? Did my readers disagree with my assessment of Mr Neil’s glorious performance? He’d hit the poor BME activist with cold, hard facts. It had certainly been brutal. But I was still puzzled.
“Tried to share your This Week post, but unable to do so,” e-mailed a friend, “Think Facebook are up to something.” What? The thought of Facebook being ‘up to something’ sounded preposterous, at least initially. Why on earth would the social media site be interested in my humble little posts?
A little while later and I had my answer. Facebook it transpires have blocked the facility for visitors to my site to share/like my blog posts. Even as I write that sentence there’s a part of me that still can’t quite believe this turn of events. But it’s true. Facebook have indeed blocked my website!
But Why? Presumably to give the impression that my blogposts are not very popular. After all, there’s nothing more damning than a big fat Facebook ‘0’ is there? Makes you seem uninteresting, irrelevant even.
Now blocking visitors’ ability to interact with blog posts is certainly a petty, vindictive act, but more than that it also raises some pretty profound questions around free speech and censorship.
So I went back over my blog posts. Just what exactly had prompted Facebook to act like some kind of third party censor, arbiters of what can and cannot be liked and shared between grown men and women?
Theatre and TV reviews? Could it be they disagree with my assessment of David Hasselhoff’s gloriously over the top performance in ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life?’ Surely not. So what then? My F1 posts? I racked my brains. And then it hit me.
Recently, Facebook have agreed, at the request of Angela Merkel, to censor posts that express negative sentiments regarding the behaviour of migrants in Germany. As far as I can make out, Zuckerberg and his organisation have readily agreed to take on this role of the new Stasi.
So much for free speech. But it doesn’t stop there.
It appears that the Facebook censorship remit does not only stretch to explicit anti-migrant rhetoric, but any kind of blog post that exhibits even mild scepticism of received wisdom. I can only assume that calling out the bias and hypocrisy of organisations like the BBC does not meet with the approval of Zuckerberg and friends. Wrongthink, I guess you could call it.
I say ‘assume’ because despite several attempts to contact Facebook, I have yet to receive an explanation for their behaviour. Scary. Rather reminiscent of the practices of certain ideological groups from the 30s. Remember those? When individuals with ‘wrong’ opinions could disappear with alarming frequency and even more alarming ease. No trial. No explanation.
I understand that Herr Zuckerberg is a fan of open borders, but then again aren’t most billionaires? Odd that such an enthusiast of open borders and mass immigration should himself live in a mansion protected by a multi-million dollar hi-security fence, bodyguards and cameras.
Or perhaps not. Since when has hypocrisy and contradiction ever worried sanctimonious liberals?
So it’s goodbye Facebook. Don’t know how I’ll possibly survive without it. I mean what about all those virtual ‘friends’ and their not-to-be-missed status updates? Going to get my results today!!
As if you actually give a shit.
And what of all those endless invitations to play Candy Crush Saga with persons unknown? What about being tagged in the posts of complete strangers resulting in hundreds of posts appearing on my timeline 99.9% of which I have not the faintest interest in?
How I’ll ever get back to normal life I shall never know.
At least I will no longer be subject to scrutiny by one of Zuckerberg’s army of Asperger’s nerds monitoring the ‘correctness’ of my posts from deep within their Silicon Valley bunker.
The only question is: Why the hell didn’t I dump this bunch of fascistic cyber-geeks aeons ago?