Thursday, 7 March 2013

Has social media lost the social justice fight to newspapers?

                                                                     Tarek Fatah

Dear Readers,

Today, I bring you another example, verbatim of what plagues social media with 'Facebook needs a good poke', by Simon Kent of the Toronto Sun.  My response is below with room for your comment below that, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

 A good man. Three words used to describe Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah by Meir Weinstein, the head of the Jewish Defence League (JDL) of Canada. It’s a pity Facebook doesn’t share the love. Or the inherent tolerance in that remark. The popular social media website has banned Fatah and left him unable to post.

Fatah, a leading Muslim thinker, author and broadcaster, thinks he knows the reason Facebook decided to unlike him, even though it won’t tell him personally. It all started Monday when Fatah sought to access the popular social media site. As he tried, a message appeared saying he had violated “community standards” when he shared a picture showing a young Australian Muslim girl in a hijab carrying a sign: “Jews haven’t Learn (sic). They need [picture of swastika] more than before.”

Fatah had copied it from the Australian Jewish magazine J-Wire after it had earlier been published on blog at the Sydney Daily Telegraph. Then he posted it as his Facebook “cover” with a caption denouncing Muslim anti-Semitism. As Fatah writes: “My posting of the picture was clearly an act condemning anti-Jewish hatred among my own Muslim community, not endorsing it.”

Which is where Meir Weinstein comes in. I asked him what he thought of Tarek Fatah’s Facebook shutout and his first words are the ones that lead this column. Then he went further. “Tarek Fatah does a great service to religious followers of all persuasions,” Weinstein told me. “He is a strong voice against religious fanatics and a direct counter to the forces of radicalism that would seek to change the civilized world.”

It would be good to think that Facebook acts as a unifying force. It is a social website after all. Maybe it could be a digital equivalent of Hyde Park Corner in Central London where for centuries people would gather to argue the ideas of the day and then go their separate way. No way. Ultimately, Facebook exists to make money. To do that it wants to know about you and the things you like and do while being famously quiet about itself.

Facebook also wants to make sure that there is a hall of mirrors separating the watchers from the watched.
Just one year ago, the word count of Facebook’s privacy policy was 6,910 words, more than double the amount of words in 2007. It is also way past the original privacy policy posted in 2004 that came in at around 1,000 words.

By comparison, as The New York Times has pointed out, the U.S. Constitution is 4,543 words. This obfuscation comes most into play when Facebook decides to unilaterally ban a member. Who are you going to call, anyway? There is no such place as the Facebook building waiting to hear your grievance. We did eventually get a response via Meg Sinclair of Corporate Communications Facebook. She said Facebook receives up to 2.5 billion pieces of content a day and sometimes users take exception to a post.

This happened In Tarek Fatah’s case. Therefore, it was removed and the author denied access. For now.
Since the Toronto Sun first made inquiries about this case, Fatah has received what he calls a “cryptic e-mail” from Facebook directing him to their, you guessed it, website. Yet again when it comes to Facebook (and Twitter) there is only silence and a web page offering plenty of links but no direct contact.

We’ll keep you posted on developments. If you’ll pardon the obvious pun.

my response.....

My question is...has social media lost the social justice battle to newspapers? It's hardly a secret that originally, the main qualification for social media types to have their prose appear in print is they must have two functioning index fingers. Judging by some recent events, it appears that the situation hasn't changed! A case in point is some questionable things employees are doing on social media that are jeopardizing their companies and getting them fired. According to HR Haven, an appeals court research attorney recently tweeted a few nasty comments from a courtroom in a very public case while also indicating that she had insider information regarding the ruling. We can’t imagine what she was thinking based on her public statement after the fact.  It didn’t sound like she was thinking the situation all the way through. According to the woman, she was hoping to communicate her personal thoughts about the case with her friends but didn’t factor in that the public in general would also be able to see her posts.  Not only is it irresponsible from an employment viewpoint, but also an ethical/legal viewpoint too.

Or what about the longtime high school football coach who resigned after one of the more embarrassing and bizarre social media snafus in recent memory (if not of all time) when he accidentally? posted a nude photo of himself on Facebook, according to Associated Press. The lewd photo was viewable by the general public and was recognized by a parent of a player on his football team, leading to the coach's self-imposed departure. It is unclear whether this fellow removed his photo of his own accord or whether he was told that the shot could be seen by his entire Facebook network and then took it down. Either way, the brief nude incident raised flags for the School District because of a general policy stance that allows for teachers to be friends with students on Facebook. That means that students could have possibly seen his nude photo in their own timeline, even if there is no indication that any did.

So, with Facebook's silly move to ban Tarek Fatah and leave him unable to post, has Simon Kent proven that social media has lost the social justice fight to newspapers? I would go one step further...with this lowering of the bar even further, it is clear that social media has never even been in the ring! Solid journalism practiced by professionals is still in demand...and the future of today's newspaper is secure as these social media snafu's go from bad to worse!

 bio at
twitter chatter....
Has social media lost the social justice fight to ... 
you tell me? 

No comments:

Post a Comment