Facebook giveth; and it taketh away

“But the fact that citizen efforts to conduct legal political activities over private networks can be arbitrarily stymied by private service operators is an example of how the political discourse in a democracy can be eroded if citizens are not vigilant about exposing political discrimination when it occurs and holding companies publicly accountable.” — Rebecca MacKinnon, Consent of the Networked

Re-reading bits and pieces of MacKinnon’s book. Her work is incredibly prescient and, as we battle over our social networks for our political beliefs, relevant.

Facebook gives and takes away the power to speak on our politics. We accept Facebook’s dominion over our speech because it is a private network and we supposedly use its facilities at its tolerance. But should we keep quiet and accede without question to Facebook’s judgment? When Facebook has yet to clarify the basis of its decisions to take down and put back up our pages? When there appears to be no clear and easy mechanism for redress in cases where the take-down is unwarranted?

If Facebook continues to fail (refuses?) to address these issues, who should?