Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?
I don’t spend much time on Facebook these days. I’m bombarded by Bible sayings, selfies – which is a picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website – this according to urbandictionary.com, enlightenment sayings, pictures of what friends are having for lunch or dinner, and worst of all, photographs of me that I’ve never approved to be posted online.
So I end up policing my friends and family, having set up my settings so that photographs of me have to be approved before they dare post them – and yet some slip through the cracks.
I remember when one of my master Thai Massage teachers who, during training, pointed to me and gestured that she wanted me to work on her and while I was twisting and bending her like a pretzel (this is Thai Massage we’re talking about here after all), my fellow classmates were busy snapping pics left and right.
Stomach in, chest out, wet your lips. Check.
I was so pleased with myself. It was such an honor to be asked to work on a master teacher, and I couldn’t wait to post the photographs on my website (Facebook at this time was simply a sparkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye). That is, until said master teacher got a hold of the camera, viewed the photographs and in her limited English, shook her head and adamantly said NO NO NO, or rather, MAI, MAI, MAI.
I looked at what she was protesting about. And I had to admit she was right not to have me post any of those photographs anywhere. It’s not that she didn’t look great – she looked fine – but she felt that she was receiving a massage and not primarily thinking about keeping her stomach in, her chest out and wetting her lips.
I did end up with a few photographs with her that she approved and those ended up on my websites and brochures. And we were both happy with that.
Facebook, however, is a whole different story.
No one bothers to ask you whether you do mind having your photographs plastered all over their timeline AND their albums. No one cares to ask for permission anymore. It’s assumed that the moment you step out of your home, it’s a free for all and your face can be plastered anywhere.
And really, if my friends and family are reading this, that is just not cool.
So when it comes to all the political statements, bible verses, selfies that come up again and again and yet again (don’t these people get tired of taking selfies? Because I know I sure get tired having to look at them), and even photographs of massacres that I never signed up to see, that’s alright. I can live with that. After all, it takes about five seconds to click on the arrow thingy on the right of that post and click “hide” and it’s gone forever – until they post it again on their timeline. That’s when I un-friend them.
But unapproved pictures of me? Nope, I can’t deal with that. Just. Can’t.
I can’t even un-friend them for fear that they’ll be posting pictures of me online and I absolutely will never know! The horror!
Maybe I could have Zuckerberg have his minions police my friends’ and family members’ timelines and censor any unapproved photographs, or even better, unflattering photographs of me. Maybe they can run each photograph through a list of requirements, ticking each one off (like, is the light flattering? Is it showing her left side – since that is, after all, her better side? Are there any grays in her hair? Is her stomach held in, her chest out, her lips wet?) and after that’s all done and only when everything on the list gets checked, then they can go ahead and set it free on everyone’s timelines for all to see.
But let’s face it, do you really expect that to happen? I won’t hold my breath.
But I do hope my friends and family exercise a bit of common sense before posting any of my photographs and run each one through that check list I just emailed to each and everyone of them right now.