Why form a website to discuss Facebook? Why not discuss issues on Facebook itself?
I have been a Facebook member since 2007, about one year after Facebook went public. I was teaching at the University of Alaska Southeast when I first got wind of an alternative to MySpace. I tracked MySpace primarily as a concerned parent as I saw a lot of adolescent nonsense plugging up our sparse bandwidth. As a system analyst I was quick to observe that MySpace had created a monster, beginning with a concept that had a lot of promise, throwing way too much technology onto it and simply outrunning the technical capacity of the average user. For most home users, accessing the Internet was still through a modem connected to a phone line. The concept seemed sound, the application flawed.
Then came Facebook. To better relate to my kids I decided to take the hint and try Facebook. I was immediately impressed. It was far less complicated than MySpace. While it still offered some of the same features as MySpace, the focus of the application was the interchange of messages by friends. Photos, videos and music files were peripheral. This was completely the opposite of MySpace where it seemed that people tried to impress you by how much media they could stuff on their home page.
By and large I have found the Facebook experience better than satisfactory. I enjoyed reconnecting with friends and having a convenient way to share with friends and family photographs and messages. Like life itself, the conversation would evolve from what is happening with our kids and our latest recipes, to events and trips, and our views of politics. Interestingly, most of the political conversation revolved around humor. A new word entered our vocabulary: “meme.”
But then things got a bit strange. When you post things to Facebook, you pick up a rhythm. You get a sense how people respond to your postings. You can usually count on a certain group of people to respond to your messages. Yet when I posted a political statement, article or meme that was a bit controversial, nothing but crickets. I shrugged it off because we often forget that Facebook is like conversation at a dinner party. Maybe what I posted did not merit a response. But as time went on, after I formed a Facebook page for EricN Publications (my author account), I noticed how certain postings registered no response at all, while the same posting elsewhere was much more robust. Were people seeing what I was posting?
Then my experience was echoed by other content creators and word got around that Facebook was not a reliable platform. This was investigated by John Stossel, who noticed the metrics on his Facebook activity was abnormally reduced. It became apparent to some that “shadow banning” was occurring. Stossel took particular stock of “fact checking.” He found it odd that he was fact-checked for some of his reports, a rather bizarre allegation for an award-winning investigative reporter. Facebook became actively engaged in filtering out “fake news”, particularly as the COVID pandemic emerged. Censored publications included alternative press sites such as The Alaskan Watchman. Recently, the Twitter Files as well as Mark Zuckerberg’s own statement have revealed that the FBI deliberately used social media platforms to control the flow of information, particularly that which related to Hunter Biden.
In essence – Facebook can’t be trusted to fairly distribute information.
For that reason, this “safe space” has been created where Facebook-related content can be published without interference. Simply posting this on the web page has generated more readership than what is normally generated in Facebook, which says a lot about the advertising value of Facebook when a tiny website outperforms Facebook. Some of these articles may be distributed to Substack and LinkedIn, as well as posted through chat platforms Twitter, Gab and Parler.
The intention is to generate a forum where users are free to make their comments. The content will not be “fact checked” nor “shadow-banned.” I am free to write anything related to Facebook with the confidence that it is open to the public to view. Posting the same material on Facebook would not guarantee that it is distributed. Everything I posted is screened through an AI algorithm and some of it may be viewed by some anonymous “fact-checker” or content-censor. That doesn’t happen at EricN.Pub.
Another role this site can provide is a clearinghouse for life on Facebook, such as articles on handling fake accounts, managing passwords and e-mail accounts. Platforms such as Facebook will continue to play a significant role in our daily lives. Despite its flaws, Facebook has provided a valuable resource.
So enjoy what is posted, feel free to comment, and spread the word.
And to affirm that I am a libertarian hypocrite, I follow the same general guidelines as the platform provider. If you use filthy language or wish physical harm on any group, you will not be shadow-banned. Your comments will be deleted. 🙂
© Copyright 2023 to Eric Niewoehner