Two significant events happened on Facebook today. A friend drew my attention to a page advocating the slaughter of feral cats. The page was full of graphic pictures of dead cats, many decapitated. In my opinion, it was violent in the extreme. Along with other posters, I reported the page. The reports were rejected, as the site apparently didn’t breach Facebook’s ‘community standards’.
Another friend, an excellent writer of erotic fiction, posted that she has been told to remove all nude photographs from her adult-only blog site, or risk having the site shut down. Now, erotic fiction isn’t my bag, but I’ve seen the images and they are beautiful. They celebrate the human body. They are not offensive. They are artistic.
Elsewhere on the net, I’ve heard that atheist sites are being shut down because they are deemed to be ‘hate’ sites, aimed at Christians, simply for putting forward a different viewpoint.
So what is the nature of censorship on the internet now? The judgements seem random, but I think that is a generous assessment. Why target adult sites, which are clearly popular and clearly marked as for adult viewers only? The ‘family friendly’ argument doesn’t hold water. There is enough room on the net for all tastes.
Why allow a vicious, violent page to remain, uncensored, when it causes distress to so many people with the sheer barbarity of its content? I am broadly against censorship, but there have to be some lines we do not cross. Barbarity, especially where it involves the weak, the helpless, those creatures, whether human or otherwise, that cannot defend themselves from evil actions or the celebration of those actions, must be challenged.
I have no answers to these questions, just a growing disquiet concerning the power being wielded by faceless organisations that pull us in with promises of freedom of speech and support for our businesses, only to change the goal posts when we are well and truly hooked.
One more question. If these same organisations would rather give us a the bloodied head of a decapitated cat to look at than a beautifully posed picture of the human form, what does that say about where the internet is heading?