A Small Window Into The World
A few days ago, Facebook started to reject all of my Medium posts. It also removed four years of near daily posts from Facebook. Poof. My thoughts, ideas, musings, and ramblings evaporated instantly. Same with all of the likes and comments on these posts.
My writing is a selfish act. It was a monthly challenge four years ago and I’ve tried to stick to it every day. At some points, I challenged myself to write more, and to write better. For one month’s challenge, it was to write five long articles, for another month, it was to write a five paragraph essay every day.
While I’m part of the Medium Partner Program, any monthly take home has been in the single digits. The writing is really more for ritual more than for any other purpose, though I do get an ego boost when people fan my writing.
Also, in my posts, I write on things more universally interesting like technology and don’t express strong political positions. It’s not really my style to cause conflict.
However, Facebook’s censoring of my articles and the deletion of my friends’ responses to them shook me a bit. It helped me see how fragile our concept of an open Internet is.
What if Google stops showing your business on Google Maps?
What if Apple takes down your app?
What if Amazon no longer allows you to sell? Or Shopify?
Sure, there is recourse but the timeframe might be the same as sitting out a pandemic.
I like Scott DeLong’s quote:
“Running a business on FB is like opening a McDonald’s on an active volcano”
We should keep in mind that while we might have highly distributed systems and redundancies in software, the policies used to govern them have their fragilities.
What Facebook has shown me is what others elsewhere in the world might experience every day. For me, it’s my minor musings being censored. I can get over it. But for many, it’s a life or death situation.