Digg.com started as a place to promote stories ordinary people found newsworthy to see if others agreed. That was done by voting a story up or “Digg-ing” it. Another useful site feature if Digg users find duplicate, badly written or inaccurate stories, is “Bury”. A Bury cancels out a Digg.
The potential for abuse is obvious. The practice of such abuse permitted by Digg’s operators is legendary. Left leaning stories are Dugg while Right leaning stories are Buried by aptly named “Bury Brigades” which prowl upcoming stories for anything smelling of Conservatism. Digg did nothing to address complaints of their idea being hijacked and gamed. Along with many others, for exactly that reason, I left Digg years ago.
A similar scenario may be brewing at FaceBook. The Social Media giant approved and accepted an ad from Americans for Prosperity touting their NoStimulus.com site. NoStimulus.com features material supporting Americans who find the Stimulus Package dangerous and harmful. One feature was a petition to the Senate asking members to oppose it. Due to vigorous promotion, despite being hosted across 10 servers, the site was overwhelmed with traffic. Over 400,000 signatures will be delivered to the Senate this week.
Success by organizations standing for Individual Liberty, Free Markets, Limited Government and Low Taxes cannot be unchallenged. CNS News is reporting FaceBook has pulled an ad promoting NoStimulus.com which they had previously approved. Not because ad content changed. That remains same content FaceBook approved. What changed was “public” input.
— “Political content that exploits political agendas or uses ‘hot button’ political issues for commercial use regardless of whether the advertiser has a political agenda”;
–“Hate speech, whether directed at an individual or a group, and whether based upon the race, sex, creed, national origin, religious affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation or language of such individual or group”;
— and “Content that advocates against any organization, person, or group of people, with the exception of candidates running for public office.”
FaceBook cleared AFP’s copy in light of these. So what changed? CNS goes on to report,
But Facebook, which confirmed that it took “NoStimulus.com” down, told CNSNews.com that it did so because of user complaints–and did not mention any violations of Rules 8 or 9.
“At Facebook, we strive to create a trusted environment for our users and advertisers,” Facebook spokeswoman Erin Zietler said in an e-mail. “We encourage users to report any advertisements they find offensive or misleading, and we offer the ability for them to provide immediate feedback on our ads. We have a team dedicated to investigating ads and user complaints.
“In this case, users informed us about misleading offers in many ads with promotions related to the U.S. economic stimulus package,” the spokeswoman said. “We are in the process of removing ads with these types of misleading offers as they are brought to our attention.”
Go to AFP’s site. What is misleading? The ad promoted a petition drive and that’s what people found when they got there. What is misleading is the premise that AFP is somehow less than trustworthy for having run the ad. What is misleading is the suggestion AFP deceived FaceBook. What is misleading is any suggestion that FaceBook is not complicit in this. When can Americans expect the FaceBooks out there to tell busybodies to shut up and sit down? When will they have the spine to state the truth that “offend” is not the moral equivalent of “mislead”? I’m offended that FaceBook did what they did. Does that mean FaceBook will reinstate the ad? As a FaceBook user and AFP supporter, I want to know what was misleading? When different agendas compete, there’s going to be friction. I have no problem with that. When one side actually does “mislead”, I do object to that.
Unfortunately for Americans, whether it’s the Fairness Doctrine, the preponderance of Left leaning thought in Universities and traditional media, paid blockers harassing petitions signature gatherers or any number of other examples, the Left cannot win a fair fight so they don’t fight fair. If they did, they’d get shellacked as Americans generally disagree with their actual views. As my colleague Kevin Jackson at The Black Sphere notes,
… I was raised by my grandparents who were staunch Democrats. I recall as a child watching Reagan give a speech in his unsuccessful run for the presidency. After Reagan finished, I said to my grandparents, “Why are we Democrats, when what we believe is what that guy [Reagan] just said?”
The latest skirmish seems more of the same. They cannot win on content; time to bring the slander, smoke and mirrors, distortions and lies. It’s too soon to tell if FaceBook is actually adopting the Digg.com model for irrelevance. Perhaps they’ll grow a spine and refuse to serve as a tool for the Left. Stay tuned …