Monday, January 8, 2018

Still Not Shutting Up

Pexels - CC0 license
Like many writers, I am active on Facebook writing groups, where I post links to my blog posts about writing resources. Yesterday, Facebook suddenly deleted every one of the links to my blog. I was thrown in Facebook jail.

I believed it was some kind of glitch, a change in their algorithms. Much to my surprise, it turns out my confinement was not due to some automated Facebook glitch, but to someone reporting my blog as "harmful."

I have to say I find myself incredulous. My blog is completely innocuous. It's about publishing, and how to get published. My posts are not political, not controversial. And I am certainly not famous. Why would anyone report me? But in the blog's description at the top of the page, I have included a statement that in the interests of protecting the First Amendment - which, as a writer, I take very seriously - I did not vote for Trump, who is notoriously anti-free press.

Of course, on my personal Facebook page, I am intensely political. I'm not a big fan of Nazis or the KKK, or of anyone they support. Any movement towards an autocracy or, in this case, a kleptocracy, is something I vigorously oppose. I have always been critical of both political parties, and of our presidents. I reserve my fandom for the Constitution.

A brief stint in Facebook jail is not a big thing. It's just a temporary hitch. But the fact that someone would go out of their way to target my blog - something so small, so innocent, so inconsequential - is an indication of the mentality driving this climate of authoritarianism.

I say this as a writer and as a responsible citizen: Harassment of individuals simply because they are critical of the government, no matter who is currently in power, should not be tolerated. It is a slippery slope, and one that only leads to the bottom. 

I am not going to remove that simple sentence - that short declaration of support for the First Amendment - from my blog description. In spite of more than a few comments ranging from insults ("You are a stupid bitch") to outright threats, that statement will stay right where it is. And no amount of harassment will induce me to remove it. To do so would be a surrender, if only a very small one, to the very forces that are diminishing the principles that lie at the heart of a representative democracy.

UPDATE: This blog continues to be reported once or twice a week for "abusive content." It is ironic that censorship should be a consequence of supporting free speech, but there you have it.

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