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Thread: Facebook's 'ethics'

  1. #1

    Default Facebook's 'ethics'

    Have I got the sequence of events right here? First of all Facebook had no qualms in allowing scenes of beheading, then they removed them due to the outcry, then they put them back on, now they've removed them again due to an even greater outcry. Gosh, how ethical of them. The fact that all this was brilliant publicity for them had, of course, nothing to do with it.

    Their justification for allowing these clips on their site was freedom of information; viewers should watch it so they could make up their own minds about it (i.e. the rights and wrongs of beheading); and it was right to show it so that people could have the chance to condemn it, as if facebook was initiating and championing an important intellectual debate on the subject, and showing the graphics of it was a vital part of the debate. Warped or what?

    There are perhaps 3 types of people who are on the potential receiving end of these depressingly dreadful scenes :
    1. Those who don't wish to and would not choose to view it, and are therefore not affected by it - maybe 40% of people, or am I being optimistic?
    2. Those who choose to view it, and to one degree or another enjoy and/or are shocked by it, but who are not affected by it to the detriment of the rest of us. Maybe 59.99%. The sort who ghoulishly slow down to gawp at a fatal accident on the motorway, take photographs of it, and then drive on pleased as punch they'll have something to tell and show the folks back home.
    3. Those (the remaining .01%) who not only watch it but do what facebook tell us that people don't do - they glory in it, and probably can't get enough of it. It must de-sensitise such people even further I should think. Worse than that, some of this group would be affected to the point of copying what they see.

    It's all very well Facebook glibly saying people can make up their own mind about beheading (although we don't need to be reminded what it entails with video clips). The vast majority of the population can, it's the effect on that .01%, and then the effect that that tiny minority could have on innocent lives, that should cause anyone in a position of power in social and other media to give far more serious thought to it than Facebook has.

    (My percentages are a guess for illustration, I don't know the exact numbers in each 'grouping'.)
    Last edited by molesworth1; 10-23-2013 at 11:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rook's Avatar
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    I haven't used facebook in years, and I'm surprised it's still going strong - but I'm not the most social of people I suppose. Anyway, why can't they just allow people to link to the vids on external sites? There are no shortage of video sites that host these type of clips, so just allow the linking as long as the link is clearly identified. People could then make up their own minds?

    I suspect facebook don't want to encourage people clicking away from their site though

  3. #3
    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    Not quite molesworth, I believe Facebook allowed the clips but members were only allowed to condemn the act and any other opinion would not be tolerated. So, consider that freedom of information: you will think the way we want you to think, or you don't exist.

    Personally I don't think subject matter like this should be hidden, but I think the context of such events should be in part of the publication. Just showing the beheading of a person is gratuitous, but if it is part of a large frame of information where the person's crime is revealed (I believe they do this is Saudi Arabia prior to an execution), then people are in a far better position to make a reasonable comment. Did the BBC hide any part of the Syrian who ate the human heart? Was it information that should have been revealed to the world?
    Faced with certain disaster, defiance is the only answer.

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    It should be 'de-heading' shouldn't it?

  5. #5

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    That's right, it should be, and would be, as long as it's a near-miss.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatmywords View Post
    Not quite molesworth, I believe Facebook allowed the clips but members were only allowed to condemn the act and any other opinion would not be tolerated. So, consider that freedom of information: you will think the way we want you to think, or you don't exist.
    So members were only allowed to condemn it (i.e. by posting a response). How do Facebook know that that expressed response is actually the opinion of the member, or that the member 'thinks the way we want you to think'? (No doubt Facebook would love to actually dwell in the brains of all its members, and think for them!)

    I'm sure that the tiny minority who are so affected by these sorts of images, as they ghoulishly drool over them, are clever enough to hypocritically enter a note of condemnation. It does not mean that their voracious appetite for such material has not been fed, nor that it has not affected them to the detriment of some poor innocent whom they consider to deserve the 'punishment' that they have just relished on-line.

    I'm talking about the tiny minority who areaffected by watching this stuff. This is the baseline which unfortunately ALL censorship SHOULD be based on in my view, even though such easily influenced people are so few. It's no good the vast majority of us complaining that we're being treated like little kids, unfortunately there are grown people, who are easily swayed by what they see, who are just that.


    (I couldn't get out of italic mode)
    Last edited by eatmywords; 10-26-2013 at 10:01 AM. Reason: TRYING to de-italic - (I fixed it for you - too many formats - for each one used it needs another to be closed)

  7. #7
    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molesworth1 View Post
    So members were only allowed to condemn it (i.e. by posting a response). How do Facebook know that that expressed response is actually the opinion of the member, or that the member 'thinks the way we want you to think'? (No doubt Facebook would love to actually dwell in the brains of all its members, and think for them!)
    ...
    I'm talking about the tiny minority who areaffected by watching this stuff. This is the baseline which unfortunately ALL censorship SHOULD be based on in my view, even though such easily influenced people are so few. It's no good the vast majority of us complaining that we're being treated like little kids, unfortunately there are grown people, who are easily swayed by what they see, who are just that.


    (I couldn't get out of italic mode)
    I don't think that will be an issue molesworth, as they will just wipe whatever doesn't fall within the remit of Facebook's hastily compiled list of what is and isn't acceptable. But it is concerning the level of control the social media site is exerting in an effort to promote this kind of material, and so setting themselves up as their own (online) arbiter and censor. This is a social media website, but where is it in the interest of society to gratuitously observe disturbing murders? How is this of benefit to society, no matter how small that society. As I said, if there was a contextual element (I have not seen the pages but I presume little context is being revealed about the material) then there would be something to be learned from this, but this just falls in with the bullying videos Facebook allowed to be published to its pages some years ago.

    What is concerning is that Facebook is not going to allow people with valid opinions supporting the death penalty, because naturally those people would argue for methods such as this; although would they want those images promotes in society? So what we have is Zuckerberg's company exercising executive control over the society in establishing these images, and defining the context of the argument. Restricting public reaction therefore indicates a deeply disturbing aspect to Facebook's claim they are only trying to show human nature and social/political policy and seems more like an aspect from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four with the elision and redacting of comment and opinion that aims to advocate such murder, and the promoting of it in a general sense. Therefore is Facebook trying to hide any criticism of itself and their boss Zuckerberg, who probably had some say in the publication? Nonetheless, this issue has pushed Facebook into the global media spotlight, for other reasons than corporate or personal. However you think about these images, publicly publishing them glorifies the issue and denigrates, further, the person's suffering; all on the back of shameless self-promotion.

    So where will Facebook now stop? Will it allow videos of rape? Live streams of abortion? Facebook was initially created by Zuckerberg to rank college women based on attractiveness and personality. Since the rise of Facebook Zuckerberg has since surrounded himself with people who themselves could be considered morally and socially dubious: "Mr Parker, a digital entrepeneur, joined Facebook as an adviser in 2004 before becoming the site’s first president. But he was forced out of the post following a cocaine possession bust a year later. He was never charged due to a lack of evidence." The film based around his rise to internet stardom, which he has never endorsed, highlights him in a far more negative light than the shy, retiring man he likes to promote, and instead floats the idea of an amoral control freak who has rather a malicious streak. "The film's fictional Zuckerberg steals the concept for the Facebook social networking idea from his fellow college classmates. On top of this, it even has a somewhat graphic scene where Zuckerberg snorts cocaine off a woman's breasts. Clearly such a depiction has given the real Zuckerberg cause for concern." Indeed, in the book 27 Amazing Things You Didn't Know about Facebook the man's life is littered with amoral behaviour and dubious practices, and one could equally make the claim Zuckerberg's mandate is to shock and ignore the moral high-ground. His recent marriage to Priscilla Chan was more a business deal than something based around morality and human substance. For the ceremony the man dressed more like an undertaker than a groom. Few, if any, were invited to the wedding, and few were made aware he was getting married. Not only that, but the engagement again emphasised their relationship was to be formulated as a business deal, with Chan setting out a relationship contract that Zuckerberg was expected to follow if their relationship was to develop, or at least to get into the bedroom: "One date per week, a minimum of a hundred minutes of alone time, not in his apartment and definitely not at Facebook." (Neither Chan nor Zuckerberg have confirmed the validity of Lacy's claim.)". This is a deeply dysfunctional man, who fortuitously fell upon an internet idea, and had a dubious set of friends who surrounded him to establish the idea. Indeed, the man's personal and moral background may not be reflective of the site's intentions, but nonetheless, the man created the idea (seemingly) and it is his vision which is driving it across the globe.

    So what right does Zuckerberg have to remove the morality of an ethical issue, and by removing half of the question, this can only result in removing part of the answer. I'm afraid this is a private website, based on subscription molesworth, and so people can exercise their will in viewing the images or not. But I think we are both aware some people, and children, will not exercise any will or forethought when wanting to view these images, and so through tacit support by his community this issue will only flourish, and as mentioned before, further shocking imagery will then continue to flourish on this site. With half the question and answer removed, then if there is a massive demand to see such imagery, and if the dissenters can be relied upon to remain voiceless, then what is stopping Zuckerberg and his advocates from trying to create some social media from the US's own store of death row victims? With the corporate world behind Zuckerberg and Facebook, the online execution of a heinous criminal could then become a regular and promoted event; much like the public beheadings in Saudi Arabia, which are events which attract significant interest in the community, and which also generates funds for the victim/s and the surrounding shops and stalls.
    Last edited by eatmywords; 10-26-2013 at 04:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by molesworth1 View Post
    That's right, it should be, and would be, as long as it's a near-miss.
    What?

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    Well nobody could possibly accuse you of brevity EMW.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollyof39 View Post
    What?
    Well if 'beheading' is a misnomer (or whatever the correct term is), so is a 'near-miss'. A 'near-miss' = a 'hit'. e.g. on the back of the neck with, say, an executioner's axe. I don't feel very good about this play with words on such a serious issue, and in fact I wish I hadn't replied to your de-head post, but just left it at that instead.

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