So in this cursed year that is 2020, we have a definitive answer on the source of all our problems and all of our shortcomings.
And we also have our savior, and no, Fauci and Co. have not cured COVID.
Let’s all raise our praise to Zeus the Zuckerberg and the Fantabulous Facebook, because now the social media titan has fixed our social masses’ troubles.
It banned QAnon.
Yeah, we can all forget that Mark Zuckerberg’s oversized online juggernaut has been more than happy to cash-in while the social media cauldron boiled over the boundaries of decency and decorum.
And, never mind that pesky little thing called freedom of speech or whatever. I forgot the name of the document, something about a bill … I’ll just look it up on Twitter.
OK, maybe that’s an overstatement — no way I’m trusting Twitter.
But before we go any further, we need to cover two caveats:
First, I am neither a student nor a grandparent, so I’m not neck deep in the Facebook wheelhouse. Second, I couldn’t tell a QAnon from a quaalude, and in truth, most of us have no idea what or who the QAnon folks are, other than they have come to rise and come into the controversial light because of their support of Donald Trump.
Brian Schaffner, a political scientist at Tufts University, surveyed people about whether they support QAnon and some range of conspiracy theories. The results may surprise you. Most of those surveyed who said they support QAnon — about 7% of the total polled, a number which mirrors national stats — had never even heard of the theories that include accusations about Satanic rituals of child abuse by Hollywood stars and notable Democrats.
And to blur the lines even more about this QAnon group, which is now Facebook focus Numero Uno, more than a quarter of the QAnon supporters said they were voting for Joe Biden.
So yeah, the outraged masses who are finding ways to be mad at Trump are now mad at a group that has a growing number of folks supporting Biden.
Say what? And for comparison, a Pew poll over the summer showed that the percentage of white evangelicals planning to vote for Biden was just 17% — some 10 points lower than the QAnon crowd surveyed.
Which begs the question: if Facebook is after pro-Trump groups will it go after the pages of the white evangelicals next? Because dear Lord, those photos from last Wednesday night’s potluck supper could cause an uprising. Talk about violence, if Nana doesn’t bring more biscuits next week, someone may get punched.
And while we are offering questions, why was this decision made and why was this group targeted, especially when it was roughly a year ago that Facebook’s internal algorithms were used, according to ComputerWeekly.com, to automatically set up hundreds of pages for the Islamic State and dozens of pages for terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda.
Yes, a couple of months ago Facebook removed hundreds of groups and pages with QAnon content that included discussions or plans of violence. That I can understand. We all can. And moreover we can all support.
As long, of course, that the same spectrum of violence and promoting safety for all groups is a priority, whether it’s a controversial group like QAnon or the hard-core edges of the Black Lives Matter uprisings that frequently turn important peaceful protests into riots, looting and violence. Because, let’s face it, the extreme edge of every group on almost every platform is going to be controversial, no?
Again, I would not know a QAnon forum from a quail flock, but I do know a difficult precedent to follow when I see it.
This week’s announcement seems at best puzzling and at worst censorious, but either way it feels like another attempt to appease the outraged anxiety mob that lives on social media.
Facebook is a private company that is quite free to make its own decisions, and if that’s to make sure QAnon is silenced, well, that’s its call.
But if you are willing to happily sit by as other groups that differ in opinion from the mainstream social media mob are silenced, who will be there when they come for your Facebook forum or Twitter tribe?
And maybe they won’t — as long as you don’t offend the PC police, or take the last one of Nana’s biscuits.
Contact Jay Greeson at [email protected]