Facebook, Roger Ebert And The Pointlessness Of The Jerk Patrol
from the it-doesn't-work dept
But, perhaps a larger point of this is how private companies now have tremendous say over what speech they will and will not allow. That's legal, but it leads to a certain arbitrariness, as was demonstrated here, with many people thinking Facebook went too far. The company later tried to claim it was a "mistake," but not many people seem to believe that.
However, I think where this gets more interesting is in raising a separate issue: the total pointlessness and arbitrariness of the "jerk patrol." Some people apparently disliked Ebert's comments. That's fair enough, but does a few "offended" people mean he should lose his account? That's what makes lots of people quite uncomfortable. As it should. And yet, as all of this is happening, there are all these efforts to try to criminalize being a "jerk" online. But, as this little kerfuffle shows, what is and what is not "a jerk" or "offensive" is totally subjective, in most cases, and offending one person is hardly a reason to take action against the speaker. It's too bad that Facebook doesn't seem to recognize that, but it's even scarier when governments pass laws without understanding it.