I have heard from several old friends who’ve inquired whether I’m alright because I had not posted on Facebook in a long time.
I realised that I’d made only a brief Facebook comment about adding my voice to those protesting against Mark Zuckerberg’s shameful refusal to act decisively to ban all forms of hate speech postings including those of President Trump; and to banish political advertising that was debasing American politics. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey had finally done so and it seemed that Zuckerberg might follow his lead. But he hasn’t and made things even worse by his feeble actions and muddled rhetoric.
Instead he lamely tried to claim he was championing free expression and First Amendment rights and wouldn’t yield to pressure to curb free speech. But to most critics and to me he appeared to be buckling under to White House pressure and trying to stave off any possibility of new anti-trust legislation along with possible regulation.
Zuckerberg’s pathetic defence has led to a brushfire in the form of a corporate advertising boycott. Who’d have thought that big corporations would embrace the anti- Facebook protest movement and blast away at Zuckerberg’s leadership.
And Zuckerberg is certainly not getting his money’s worth from his highly touted corporate communications chief, former British Liberal Party leader Nick Clegg. . His facile explanations on programs like CNN’s Reliable Sources have failed miserably to persuade critics. Why Zuckerberg thought a tainted and discredited glib politician like Clegg would be persuasive in American media is beyond me.
Meanwhile Zuckerberg is trying to maintain his credibility inside Facebook as some of his best and brightest are furious about his pro-Trump fawning behaviour and his inability to articulate why he can’t seem to stop right -wing extremist groups from finding ways to post hateful anti-Black Lives material.
So I, too, have had enough and have signed off Facebook for now. I do miss reading posts from old friends and keeping track of what my former students are up to. But enough is enough. If and when Zuckerberg and Facebook do come to their senses and institute the kinds of changes ordered up by Twitter’s Dorsey, then I will happily resume my Facebook activity.
Until then, I’ll be shifting to LinkedIn and hope to find many of you there to continue our conversations and postings.
For those of you who want more detailed information about the anti-Facebook protests I commend an excellent new piece posted by the Columbia Journalism Review.