In an effort to crack down on spam, fake news and malware, Facebook often takes down content it shouldn’t. But Facebook’s own censorship policies are unclear, and sometimes the content itself exists in a gray area. For instance, this week Facebook cracked down on dozens of pages dedicated to alternative and holistic health and medicine.
There’s no doubt that deleting false or misleading medical information is a good thing — it can be an actual life or death issue. But alternative medicine does not necessarily mean false. And many of the page’s administrators were upset they received no heads-up about the censorship before it happened, and were not told how they violated the site’s guidelines.
“The grotesque reality is that Facebook doesn’t give a damn that years of hard work by page creators is being callously deleted in an instant without recourse,” wrote Brendan D. Murphy, cofounder of Global Freedom Movement. “They don’t give a damn that businesses are being ripped apart by their acts of censorship violence.”
Facebook walks a tricky line when it comes to policing content. It either goes too far, or not far enough, and no matter what decision it reaches, a broad segment of users is left confused and angry. But Facebook itself sought out that responsibility. Whether or not the company is equipped to handle it is a different issue entirely.