In November 2007, Prodicus made reference to Facebook’s censorial tendencies:
What Dizzy said. Excellent. But on the subject of anonymity on blogs, of more concern to me than the anonymous trolls discussed by Dizzy is the possibility that some libel specialist at Sue Grabbit & Runne, fired with missionary zeal and the prospect of his own entry in the legal text books, will persuade the high court or legislature of an important jurisdiction like the USA (or the EU — Prodicus spits) that anonymous libels of the sort that wash around the ‘sphere by its very nature, are inimical to the ‘human rights’ of his client who, accordingly, asks the court for relief and redress.
Then what price the long-term anonymity and freedom to blog of the perhaps righteously angry but arguably libellous blogger? Guido asks this and is protecting himself as far as possible by moving himself out of the UK and his IT kit out of the EU – and he’s no longer anonymous.
(Opinion is not libel, however rudely expressed. ‘Factual’ allegation can be. You can’t go to jail for calling Gordon Brown a cunt. You can if you say he steals old ladies’ purses when he doesn’t. No, don’t go there, not now.)
… there is the simple fact that Facebook have always been doing this, whilst playing fast and loose over privacy and gathering information on users as its prime directive. I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last to post on this issue.
The topic of censorship of views is one of interest at OoL of late [whatever the whys and wherefores] and it is also a new topic of concern re Facebook. At least, it was always a topic of concern but hadn’t gone mainstream before.
So it might be worth a look at Facebook’s antecedents. Ian wrote at the time:
Just remember who funded the building of Facebook and why it is there. It was funded by DARPA’s Information Awareness Office, and is there to collect information about you and build a profile on you. That’s why they dont like pseudonyms.
That’s why I put no info about myself and don’t indulge in its silly games like poking and friending. In fact, in signing up all those years ago, on the strength of fellow bloggers doing so and it being he next big thing, it was immediately suspicious when they started this “what’s the story here” request next to each bit of info one filled in.
No thanks. The surveillance society has enough on all of us without volunteering for it.
In response to Greg’s question, I’ve just put up a new page at OoL for you to peruse if you wish: