We’ve all heard of the problems faced on Twitter with the #TwitterGulag resulting from false claims of harassment and/or spam.
It’s also a problem on Facebook, as detailed by Ruthie Blum (sister of John Podhoretz) at The New York Observer.
Blum speaks of the problem faced by pro-Israel writers on Facebook and draws an analogy to the tactics used more generally against Israel, Abusing the System: Facebook Standards and the People Who Violate Them:
For the past two months, I have intermittently been barred from Facebook….
In other words, someone has been complaining about me to Facebook, reporting abuse on my part. This person clearly doesn’t like what I have to say–which is always from a conservative viewpoint–and has come up with a way to silence me through bullying.
It is actually he or she who is violating Facebook standards, not I. But there is nothing I can do about it, other than go on the defensive, and so far not very effectively.
This is exactly how the enemies of Israel operate. They repeatedly accuse the Jewish state of acting in an illegitimate fashion, thereby placing the burden of proof on the unwitting defendant. It is a brazen and shameless tactic. And it works like a charm.
Facebook is a private enterprise that has the right to choose its users. Those users do not pay for the privilege; and it is a huge privilege for writers to have access to such a massive readership. Whoever has been targeting me knows this full well.
He or she is also aware that all one has to do to ruin Israel’s reputation is to cast aspersions. Social networking takes care of the rest.
While I think Blum draws a proper analogy, I think the problem is more worrisome.
Social media is critical to the conservative / Tea Party / Libertarian movements precisely because our political opponents control almost all of the mainstream media (except the Murdock group). We have talk radio, but that’s a less interactive medium.
This reliance comes at great risk. Those networks, particularly Twitter and Facebook, are run by liberals. They will decide what is appropriate for their networks or not.
It has not become a huge problem yet. But it is a huge risk.