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Is Facebook Trying to Stifle Open Debate?

Facebook, El American

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At the end of March, it was revealed that Facebook is working on incorporating into the social network a feature for both personal profiles and fan pages and followers (very common among companies, associations, institutions and fan portals or public figures) aimed at restricting open debate.

A company unaccountable

Specifically, the idea is to determine who can comment and who cannot comment on public posts on Facebook which, until now, could be commented on by any user of the social network, as long as they were not blocked by the administrator of the profile or page.

Users would be able to determine whether the possibility of comments is of public extension or remains limited either to profiles and pages of which we are friends/followers or to those pages or profile accounts that we have come to mention. This would be done in both the general and post-specific settings.

Similar functionalities already exist on Twitter and YouTube (in the latter case, basically, it is a matter of not allowing comments in certain videos, if so desired by the corresponding channel administrator. A priori, nothing should be feared because it would be a bad thing if a web application were “much more practical.”

However, although one should try to be as objective as possible, perhaps, in an umpteenth exercise of “democratic-economic” participation, following the Misesian conception of the free participation and interaction of society in the market, it is appropriate to make some allegedly measured observations, without “rough conspiracy”.

It is not so much a question of ownership, but of media object

It is true that one, inasmuch as one has a natural right, not derived from any kind of artifice (even less of those that cause us so many problems, of many different kinds, today). On this basis, one can reserve the right of admission and management of what one “owns.”

The social networks that you will use to communicate are not entirely yours. Quite simply, a proportion of space in a cluster and a database allows you to have a space whose occupation will depend, in general and above all, in principle, on the activity you intend to carry out.

It is therefore obvious that you can determine with whom you may or may not communicate. The same applies to privacy, which we should not consider as a “specific right,” but as a consequence, or rather, as an obviousness intrinsic to the recognition of the right to property.

Leaving aside other debates for the moment, I can understand that, for example, a young girl may not want her romantic summer getaway to be vox populi, just as a family has no need, if they don’t want it, for their moments together to have the same repercussion as any tabloid affair.

In fact, for this, from the very first moment, there were already privacy options and, obviously, that usually defensive mechanism based on “user blocking”, so that in no way could they even try to track our social and virtual life registered in these Web 2.0 services.

Similarly, on the microblogging social network Twitter, you could set up your account so that your tweets were private, i.e. only seen by your followers (new followers had to wait until they were authorized to receive certain content on their timeline). More or less the same with direct messages.

We can therefore say that, a priori, there were enough privacy options to “survive” in these Web 2.0 services (I insist, leaving aside the maneuvers of Big Tech and its collaborations with those states that tend to invade our privacy) to limit meaningless conversation.

Public exposure

Normally, personal profiles are usually reduced to more private environments when, in case of not wanting to be identified, one can think not necessarily in a virtual private network but in a somewhat simpler task, based on throwing imagination to anonymize the information exposed or emitted.

The same is not true when we talk about a person who wants to build a reputation or fame with the help of social networks, a media that aims to reach a larger number of potential readers or an institution that aims to advertise through social media in order to be more valued in one way or another.

I’m not going to justify harassment or bad manners. But when a person assumes public responsibilities or makes publications whose interest is expected to be public, both applause and praise are to be expected, as well as criticism (morally and ethically, it must be healthy or constructive), and reprobation whenever appropriate.

The same in relation to a media, since users have the right to assess the analysis that can be transmitted (which is a great opportunity for any mission of debate not necessarily “very intellectualist”) or simply to convey concerns about what is being reported.

Therefore, I can say that I don’t understand, neither technically nor non-technically, what is being proposed for certain contents broadcasted through social networks that, coincidentally, all belong to the conglomerate of those large corporations known as Big Tech. But I’m going to dare to make a speculation.

No such thing as a coincidence

It is well known that we are living a very tense moment in the network of networks because the so-called Big Tech, more concerned with political interests than with those social issues to be answered spontaneously through the market, are collaborating with the imposition of the revolutionary political agenda.

Any content or institution whose principles represent principles contrary to the dogmas of the “progressive” and, lato sensu, socialist, runs the risk of being censored in these networks, despite the fact that they were originally designed as mere tools to facilitate communications between different points of the world.

Although there is no explicit intention other than that of “preventing harassment”, we can venture and dare to suppose that, by the way, the persecution of the so-called “hate speech” could be reinforced, which could be, simply, a criticism of gender ideology or a criticism of uncontrolled immigration.

One thing that can be taken for sure is that in one way or another, directly or indirectly, not only the cancel culture is being promoted, but also a culture contrary to the free discussion of truth and healthy debate, for which, unfortunately, it is betting on being the most cutting edge and innovative.

Ángel Manuel García Carmona es ingeniero de software, máster en Big Data Analyst, columnista y tradicionalista libertario // Ángel Manuel García Carmona is a software engineer, master in Big Data Analyst, columnist and libertarian traditionalist.

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