Social media firewalls

I used to believe that all censorship was bad. I still do. However, as more and more social websites out there starts censoring people, more and more — I feel my opinions about the subject slowly starts changing. A month ago Donald Trump’s Twitter account was closed for, quote; “not obeying by Twitter’s community guidelines”. You can say a lot about Donald Trump, and you may not necessarily agree with him — But when the President of the USA, regardless of how “bad” he is, is censored on a social media website — Something is terribly wrong with the world. For the record, Donald’s account was reopened after only 7 minutes, still it proves a point.

The prime minister of Norway was once locked out of Facebook for three days, for breaking their community guidelines. Her crime? Sharing the following photo on her wall.

This image started the protests against US involvement in the Vietnam war, and its photographer won several prizes for it. Facebook found it to be in violation of their community guidelines, because it showed nudity.

I have lost my own Facebook account. I first had two warnings, which locked me out for a couple of days. Their final reasoning for banning me permanently from their website, was that I chose as an act of demonstration, to share the image above on my wall. That was enough for them to permanently shut down my account. A couple of days later the prime minister got her Facebook account back. I have now been locked out of Facebook for 15 months, and I don’t intend to return.

If the above photo is “pornographic”, it begs the question of which sexual preferences the moderators at Facebook has. Not to mention their lack of knowledge about history. Facebook and Twitter is not alone here.

I once shared a picture at 4chan/b, as an experiment, and my posting was censored and removed. Yes, even 4chan/b censors people. The forum that prides itself in allowing people to post pictures, that all other websites will censor, censored me for posting a picture of Jesus. Please realise that at 4chan/b, you can find nude photos of she-males, often conducting in sexual activity. You can find photos of people pooping, often in other people’s mouths. Yet for some reasons, a simple picture of Jesus, with the header of “Hallelujah, the World Wide Web lives, and is Jesus 2.0”, simply became too much for them. I guess we can conclude with that 4chan/b is not a believer in neither Jesus nor that “the truth shall set us free”. At least not unless it shows some revolting nudity of some sort. You can probably find images at 4chan/b of Jesus conducting in homosexual sexual behaviour. But my picture of Jesus, having no nudity at all, simply was too much for them. Don’t ask me why …

Reddit, DZone, Twitter, Facebook, 4chan — These are just a handful of websites that have censored me. So I realised that if we can never speak the truth on these social media websites, that often prides themselves in not censoring us — Why should we give them access to our truth? Being a savvy software developer, I started working on what I refer to as a “social media firewall”. It’s a web app, which I have now started installing and selling to clients of mine. Mostly small mom’n’pop shops, who wants to improve their social media marketing efforts. The app allows a guest, or a customer, to “rate his experience”. It is based upon a simple QR code at the exit of the establishment, allowing people to scan it, and provide their opinions about the establishment. So far so good. What’s the controversy here you may ask?

Well, if the rating is “bad”, it doesn’t allow the guest to share his experience on other social media websites. If the rating is 2 or below, the software system apologises on behalf of the establishment, and sends a warning email to the owner of the restaurant, bar, hotel, whatever type of establishment who wants to use the system. If the rating is 3, 4 or 5, it allows the guest to share his experience on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc, etc, etc. Basically the system becomes a “social media firewall” for small companies, wanting to use social media marketing as a tool, to get more customers, by having their happy customers, tell their friends about their pleasant experiences. It arguably prevents Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and TripAdvisor from gaining access to “bad ratings”.

Obviously, the system is literally founded on the concept of censorship. In fact, censorship is arguably its main feature. Does that make me a bad person? Well, you could always tell me if you want to, but I have to warn you, if you give my idea a lower rating than 3, you won’t be able to share your opinion with your friends — At least not through my system. So I guess the question becomes that of the following …

Am I an asshole?

I guess you’ll just have to rate me to tell me ;)

So, let’s see if censors this post. Just to be on the safe side, I will copy its entire text, and save it in a file on my disc. And if they censor me, I will write a blog post at WordPress, the only site that has never censored me, entitled; “The article censored me from posting”.

PS, I once had 298.365 readers on that blog, in a single day … ;)

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