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The Power of Social Media

Social media is a wonderful invention...when it is used properly. But it is a tool nonetheless and holds a significant amount of power over our lives. No different than the power of traditional news media. It connects us to the world and also shapes our beliefs. It can inform, but also mislead. It is a tool utilized for harassment, and also for censorship.

I began using FB back during what I refer to as the "unemployment years." I was going through a time in my life when I was suffering severe loss. The app allowed me to connect to others and it was a lifeline I utilized to hang onto friends and family. I then began to realize it was also an effective tool for sharing and promoting my artwork and, later, my writing. I met countless people through the app from all across the globe. And many became my friends.

There is a lot of hate in this world but I have been trying to focus on the positive. It is this goal that sometimes causes me to comment on posts with a different perspective or one that is generated over a mutual frustration. For the past four years, I have seen a change across multiple social media platforms that is a bit alarming. And that is censorship. All under the guise of attempting to create a safe and positive environment. Where I do support the mission, it is the execution I have an issue with. Primarily because they are utilizing AI technology and allowing a computer to determine what is or is not appropriate. As I've always said, a computer is only as good as the human that programmed it and it also does not understand the context.

So what has prompted today's blog post? Well...I am a bit frustrated and, quite frankly, angry that my account has been blocked for 24 hours for hate speech. So of course, I appealed. And I am leaving it here for all to witness and judge for yourself:

The original comment (by a male) was an innocent one directed toward women that he was married and not looking for a hook-up. Another commenter (female) had stated she took down her photo for her profile due to being bombarded by men wanting the same. I had commented I did the same and only show a painting as my profile picture to keep men from sexually harassing me.

The comment that was written as "hate speech" is as such: I would say men are pigs...but women can be worse at times. I have male friends that attract them just by being nice. I wish everyone would just understand the difference between social media and dating apps. The two are not the same...

Key points to this comment: I would say but it would be false because women can be worse.

Linked to: I wish everyone would just understand the difference between social media and dating apps.

The problem is the grey area. Having my comment flagged as hate speech is missing the point. One, because my comment is not directed toward anyone specific or in general, rather it is a reflection of my frustration.

Sexual harassment is abundant on social media because people do misunderstand the difference. I run a small business and rely on social media networks to earn a living. I cross-network with my personal page and I am very careful about what I do and say. The comment I made also stems from the frustration that Facebook is not doing anything to stop the direct and covert sexual harassment that occurs on a daily basis and instead is focusing on keywords taken out of context across the board and deeming them as hate speech.

I have always been open to positive, open communication to help identify and address the problem through dialogue. Dialogue exists by showing the problem and then exploring ways to overcome them and agreeing to a mutual understanding. Conversation is how these matters are addressed. Not blocking out of context and silencing through censorship.

As always, thanks for stopping by and listening to my frustrations!

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