Category Archives: Facebook activism

The Age of Dislike

It has been a while and during that time there’s certainly been a lot of turmoil as far as Facebook goes. Now, without going into the bunch of nonsense that drove me away last time, I will say that the reigns that had bound my hands for a bit have been let up. However, the incoming Dislike button is likely to begin changing some things around here. And as usual, not in a good way.

And it’s about to get worse.

Combined with the ‘user dissatisfaction ratings’ that even Facebook god has had issues with (for the first time ever!) lately, the addition of the Dislike button is just going to launch a whole new load of bullshit, trolling pages into oblivion and all of the usual bullshit.

So, for now, I am likely to have my assistants begin to rebuild the Admin Assistant Group for page admins who might need some help.

For individuals! Even though myself and my assistants have continued to answer TIOM’s Private messages (and even help a few) we are going to try to expand on this. I am not exactly sure how, yet, but we on the back end have a few ideas how to share information and reply to questions without risking the detriments that can come along with breaking your NDA around here.

What I can’t do is continue to be invited to group after group. I simply don’t have the free time with the administrative privileges needed to help to pick through a hundred groups of notifications asking for help with some of the pettiest bullshit I’ve ever seen. On that note, please don’t ask me to moderate your group of bitching people because you don’t have better vetting processes yourself.

I have two busy but super-smart, dedicated and adept front-end facebook admins that help bring my attention to any given issue, and I’d prefer not to waste their precious time on basic squabbles.

To wrap it up for now.

If you have a facebook page that is the frequent recipient of reports and/or bans for no known violations, feel free to message the admins here at TIOM with the following information so that my admins can vet who will need page facebook moderator helpassistance once the Dislikes roll in.

  • Page URL
  • Fan #
  • Page Genre

You should also include the URL of the person who needs the invite so if approved, my admins can invite you to their friends list and then into the group. I have a thousand good reasons for wanting to vet those who will be invited to receive assistance in the group, none of which are personal biases. My admin assistants are also some of the most just and fair people I’ve ever known. Please be cool to them no matter what.

If you are an individual who needs assistance, continue to message our inbox.

 


A Story Worth Sharing – Regardless of Your Personal Beliefs – Guest Post by Asilee Barnes

For centuries, African-American culture has been significantly influenced by the black church and the Christian faith. So being both black crand atheist can be a lonely and isolating experience for most. I’m a witness to how people can be so unforgiving towards atheists. My family, has given me until December, 2013 to find my son and I a place to stay as I cannot stay with her under her roof because I am an atheist. Things haven’t changed, I’m still jobless and December is coming in fast.

Take a look at this video that debates how black non-believers are treated in their communities. How the way they were raised affected them deeply

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjNNPf0PMQ8

  • Less than one-half of one percent of Blacks identify themselves as atheists.
  • 80% of Black Americans say religion is VERY IMPORTANT in their lives, compared to only 50% of U.S. adults. In fact 3/4ths of Black Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular faith say religion plays a somewhat important role in their lives. Over half report attending church service at least once a week, more than 75% report praying daily and almost all indicated that they are ABSOLUTELY certain that God exists.
  • Blacks are the most likely to interpret the Bible as the literal word of God; and 83% express a belief in angels and demons.
  • Blacks express a high degree of comfort with religion’s role in politics and half feel there have been too few expressions of faith by politicians.

Minority within a Minority

We are a minority with in a minority. I made the blog (blackatheists.wordpress.com) and then the Facebook page to get our voices heard, to help others who may feel that they’re alone. They’re not. We are here and we aren’t going anywhere. Seeing as I lost a cousin when she came out as an atheist. She resided in Georgia and was killed by her peers. The news articles and reports may have said it was because she was black, but I know better.

There has been a few mishaps with the Facebook page along the way, an admin was banned for 5 days due to an image he posted. I can’t remember exactly what the image was about and why it was banned by since then we have toned it down by an invisible standard based on what we feel is not going get us banned. I’m worried about the future of my page due to how easily it is for someone to report a page because there was something on that page that offended them and only them.

Black atheists have a hard time sharing their beliefs with family and friends because the struggle for civil rights was tied so close to Christianity. So blacks who reject god are accused of turning their backs on their history. Not believing in God is seen as a thing for white people. The idea that religious belief fueled the civil rights movement is not entirely true. It only true that churches were the only all-black refuge during Jim Crow. But the story that gets told is, Jesus delivered us. Frankly, it was humans who did all the work; against their will no less.

Why I Protect the Black Atheists Page

Why wouldn’t I?

alix-_langston

Don’t forget to join their page at: https://www.facebook.com/BlackAtheists?ref=br_tf

Author Bio: Asilee Barnes hails from Cleveland, Ohio, where she was born and raised. She is currently 25 years old, with a 2 year old son. She is also a gamer, blogger, IT specialist, and heathen.

Socially Responsible Reporting

The next post will be from a conservative group who would like to share their views on why their facebook fan pages are beneficial to others.

Thanks for reading.

*Verification Code –

b5e5036cb27dfcd7424485c4cc580d7e11efbcfd33e5332a35

An attempt discriminates!


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Some people, some issues, just can’t be helped. Even further, I am entirely skeptical about whether or not they actually want to help so much as what-the-fuck-is-this-shit-3chest pound, scream around and in general, make a huge idiot of themselves. Let me tell you about my most recent experiences since that blog went so viral. I have been hounded, annoyed, berated, assaulted and been privy to the most incredible drama ever to be witnessed on Facebook, and I’ve watched full divorces hashed out there.

Since I wrote that blog, and then subsequently created this page because of all of the people asking for a place to discuss these issues, I have logged 71 hours (of my own, unpaid time) dealing with the following.

1. ) People who want to yell at ME about how they are such great activists and feel it is their civic duty to police everything from titties to beheadings on Facebook by reporting them.  They just want to let me know how wrong I am for telling them they shouldn’t.

a. ) Reminder to those folks. There are actually cyber watch groups that monitor these issues, often. What THEY do when they come across terrible content, beheadings, abuses of children and more, is they actually RESEARCH THOSE PEOPLE. They find out where they live, they send the police to their houses. So, just know this, sometimes your frenzied reports do very little but remove evidence. I am certainly not saying to NEVER report anything, but I am saying, if you aren’t willing to actually do something, maybe you should leave it for someone who will. Educate yourselves. Google, please teach me about cyber watch groups so I can actually do something about something terrible for once!

2. ) People who claim to want to do something for the greater good, but really all they want is for me to ‘ban this account, it’s hacking me. Remove this person’s account, they harass me’ Just so you know, I didn’t get this job because I was willing to take random claims at face value. I’m not your guard dog. When you join the group and randomly announce that you have been banned 2,122 times, I’m not going to automatically assume that 2,122 people are all wrong and you are the misunderstood shining light of civility. Get a grip.

b. ) As a matter of fact, when I look into your account issues and see that you are randomly starting shit on other pages, being a prick or just making a random nuisance of yourself, I will not only remove you from my group, but there will be a lot of pointing and laughing at your back when you go. Try not being a total douchebag and abusing your right to freedom of speech or thinking you are some mini-digital god that people should bow before, before you ask me for anything. I give not one tiny shit about your internet ego and how it affects the rate at which you are banned.

3. ) People that want to be famous. These are the weirdest group. I’ve had a lady ask me to do an interview for her indie news magazine and then beheadthosewhostolemymemetheinternetoffendsmeconfront me with insulting questions and accuse me of xenophobia. I’ve had a guy who runs around regularly on Facebook ranting like a fucking looney about people stealing pictures and then REFUSE an offer to join in a skype meeting where he could share his issues. His reason was that he didn’t like the way I talked to him about all of the previous drama he had caused. After he refused to the chance to help, he ran off proclaiming me fake and telling me to prove who I was. Dude, you’re an idiot. You had the chance to do that yourself, but you didn’t take it. So please shut the fuck up.  *FYI, I trust no one, and for plenty good reason.* The moment I removed him from the group for his batshittery, he immediately went to his public wall and outed me, tried to get me in trouble. Even had people email FB, to which they too, laughed and laughed. You can thank that guy if you’ve ever had creative commons issues on Facebook. It seems some people are only armchair activists and will absolutely refuse to stand up and speak for others when given the chance.

c. ) On another note, I *still* need someone willing to take on these issues.  I’d prefer you be someone who has ACTUALLY had this issue. I.E. someone who has had legitimate content they created all by themselves, or a photo they took all by themselves, stolen and used on another page without credit. If you are interested please inbox us on TIOM and please be a credible person so that your voice has no choice but to matter. I am still getting shit from my superiors about the ‘wanker I was about to send to them.”  CC issues will not get my time in the face of other things I deal with, but I will be 100% glad to assist you getting in touch with someone who is very much looking to hear more about the real problems, loss of income and etc that come from it. Don’t fail after fail guy, or I won’t make the offer again. I can’t. And don’t bother if you have a connection to the aforementioned wanker, I simply do not have another 71 hours to join you in your pathetic reindeer games.

090616-bling1

Don’t send me any necklaces smaller than this.

4. ) Gifters, sharers, money morons. For some reason, people seem to be working under the illusion that if they offer to ‘share my pages,  send me free keychains, babysit my dogs, or just in general offer something, that I will immediately drop everything and see to their issues. Things like, unban their 128th account, delete this random person’s account because they once sold them a bad car, or even, yes, “I’m just wondering if I can talk you into deleting my ex-boyfriends account.” No. You really can’t.

d. ) I’ve never asked for, want, desire, or need any gifts, money, or your undying love for doing something that I have clearly offered to do on principle. But I am here to help people who don’t regularly bust the TOS and are still banned, people who have the right to speak up, and don’t abuse the privileged, but are still paying for it. You can even ask the people I have helped regularly, one of the most common things they hear from me is “I appreciate you thanking me, but you don’t have to keep doing that. Please.” Ask any of them. I don’t even want thanks, much less fucking doodads or your money. Donate any money you want to give me to a responsible charity. Here is one of my favorites. Responsible Charity

And before I’m done, I won’t monitor or manage any more comments here. Feel free to leave them, but I can only manage magnificent levels of stupid on one platform at a time. Thanks to those people, I can’t take the time to filter through hundreds of comments that could only come from the world’s biggest sociopaths in order to find the voices of reason I’ve also seen there occasionally. Since I spend so much time on Facebook, (before that blog I actually avoided it when possible)  if you want to speak to someone, head to the TIOM page.  If it’s important, please inbox there. I don’t actually have time to read there, either. But I do have 3 great people who are dedicating their own time, bringing the issues that need help *regardless of whether or not they are issues I usually support* to my attention and in some cases to the group, so please don’t abuse them, either. There are a lot of people helping besides myself.

*A lot of questions about how FB job ops so I will post that ASAP I am given the correct link to supply for it.


An Overwhelming Response

I wanted to add this due to the overwhelming response and to avoid the need to retype this to so many who have offered to help. I have been amazed, but I also currently work about 16 hours per day on various jobs and I thought I’d just save some time by posting this once.

Token faith in humanity photo. (but really, this one is pretty good)

Token faith in humanity photo. (but really, this one is pretty good)

There are things you can do to help. However, openly sharing some of those things would cause a lot of trouble for me and others, and while I am overwhelmed by the kindnesses offered here, I simply cannot extend an invite to what I can best describe as closed quarters in my secret group on Facebook, to people I don’t know at all. No offense, but protecting me protects you as well.

However, I am not ignorant enough to turn down any offers for help. So I have created a page on Facebook, attached it to a widget on the right frame and here is a link to it directly. https://www.facebook.com/TheInternetOffendsMe?ref=tn_tnmn.

I’d love to have anyone there who wants to join. I’d also love to talk to someone about helping me to admin it. I am already adminning a total of about 20 pages for work, entertainment and of course, these issues, so if anyone has some time, is preferably on the East Coast, I would be super glad to talk to you on this page. For now, anyone that does have a page that receives harassment that isn’t in the group, please also join there and send an inbox message to the page and please share with me your page address so I can check it over and add you with my personal account, so I can get you added to the group.

Again, I can’t thank all of you enough for the amazing response. When I wrote that (actually about a month ago) it was my knee-jerk response to the horrible day I mentioned. Blowing off steam. I never expected it to matter to so many people in so many different ways. Thanks again for reading!

 


The Real Story Behind Facebook Moderation and Your Petty Reports

Imagine going to work every day and at the start of your day, with your first cup of coffee, you sit down to glance at beheadings, children in the process of being raped, human bodies in various stages of decomposition, the living and dead results of domestic violence, hanging bodies of 10 year old boys accused of being gay, real-life snuff films and bloody dog fighting rings and their subsequent results. Can you think up a human horror? I’ve probably seen it or a picture or video of something very similar. It’s fair to say that some of the people who work around me do not fare so well. Often they end up suffering from the endless barrage of horror they witness 8 to 12 hours per day. Did I share that *most* of these people make around a dollar per hour to do this job? That’s the truth. Not me though. I am an American who demands rights and all, so I make approximately $29 dollars per hour more than them. Technically, I don’t even have to do anymore than make sure they are clicking the buttons in the correct order. I don’t have to look at the images, but most of the time my focus on remaining unbiased in the face of, makes me do so anyway.

It’s Not All Blood and Guts, Sometimes it’s Worse

Not all of the information that Facebook moderators are privy to is as horrifying as the end results mention above, some are worse. The terror in facebook_2349612bthose is that they are the calls of those whose private horrors, abuse or murders are currently in process. True cries for help come from FB users every day, all day long. Facebook moderators spend a significant part of each workday forwarding ‘acts in progress’ to the authorities local to those accounts. When those accounts are legitimate (not ghosted or proxies) those reports can and do save people’s lives. That is probably the number one reason why many traumatized by the visual horrors still stick around.

Still no ‘love’ for the people who may have banned you once before? Try to understand that for the most part, your bannings are carried out by an automatic algorithm and only a very small percentage of them handled by an actual person. Why is this? While Facebook can boast that they have nearly 1.5 billion users this year, the impressive feat is that they have 1.2 billion active users who log in nearly every day. Each one of those people have a different level of what offends them.

Considering all of these things, I’d like to tell you what offends me. It offends me that nearly 80% of the manual reports I have to read are from people who find themselves offended by something. A recent list of offenses include: (Translated from the the poor excuses for grammar and spelling most of them arrive in)

  • “I don’t believe in this coin. It goes against what I believe in.”
  • “This fish doesn’t look like a fish, it looks like a man’s private parts, and I have small children around me during the day.”
  • “I saw this on my feed and I do not approve please take it off.”
  • “This page shared my picture without credit or permission.”
  • “Can you remove this picture I don’t like it.”
  • This is not true, my God would never let this happen.

Now, forgive me or not, but personally I can assure you of this. In the face of the actual reportable issues that come in at the rate of 250k per hour, I really don’t give a shit if coins offend you, or if you can’t keep your ass off Facebook while you babysit the neighborhood children. What I care about, what really, truly fucking offends me is the fact that after 5 hours of reading through your butthurt sob stories, I find the 7 year old girl who, too scared to tell an authority has figured out how to report a picture her uncle posted of her that was blatantly, obviously sexual, and begged for help. “He says he’s coming over today at 2. Can you please help me, I don’t know what to do.”

If You Think Your Biggest Problems on Facebook are Photos or Statuses that Offend You – You Have No Idea How Often I Eye Your Account for Deletion

Thanks to your delicate sensibilities, I didn’t get to read her report until it was 5 her time. Four hours ago I could have possibly prevented another one of her rapes. I could have had the police waiting for him when he arrived at her house. Four hours from now I’ll probably cry myself to sleep because I didn’t get to. Thanks again, to people who obviously need to stay the fuck off of the internet. Why did her report not come up faster? Because she’s seven, she reported the picture as a lesser offense that reported properly would have bumped it up the queue past all of your cries of visual injustice. Those pieces of ugliness that are top-o-the-queue every morning.

No. No it isn't.

No. No it isn’t.

Get over your narcissism.  Your shabby reasons behind reporting shit are not just offensive but harmful in many cases. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a way to communicate instantly with people all over the world. We didn’t have a friend on the other side of the earth who cared enough to call the police for us when we were in trouble. And yet so many of you are bent on warping the capabilities of social networking into a crying game at a level that cannot even be remotely handled by 100K + people working 8 to 12 hours a day. Technology gave you an open stage in front of the world and some of you have used it in the old pigeon shitting on the chessboard fashion. You should be ashamed, but as one of your moderators, I can clearly see you are not.

Before I go I want to share some of the most frequently asked questions:

“Can someone see my private messages?” Yes. “Even those pictures I….” Yes.

However, no one is sitting around getting their rocks off on your accounts inbox messages. The only times these are observed for any reason is when an account ID, *your facebook ID number* shows up repeatedly on reports that mention harassment or other issues that would require a mod to delve into to get the truth before banning or calling the police. It’s a requirement you should appreciate, trust me. If we didn’t, half of you would be in prison right now.

“Why did Facebook never respond to my report or my ban issue?”

I’ll be blunt here. Overtaxed system, automatic algo ignored you. OR, not enough fucks given about your issue if manually modded.

Does Facebook even see appeals or emails sent about my page or personal issue?

Again, bluntly, no. Facebook keeps and sometimes rotates out, one-single appeal email address that lands on someone’s list of things-to-do. The rest of them just reply with automated messages about how they might help, they might not. They won’t.

“Will you see it when I report this post?”

Yes, but go ahead, you might as well add to the problem. I’ll have to remove it too, because I didn’t refrain from cursing but hey, fuck you.

I wish I could answer more questions, but I’m not going to give up the opportunities I have to level the playing field as far as some of the incredulous reasons behind why some good page owners get banned or get their pages removed unjustly. That happens a lot and that’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. It would probably help if some of you would revert back to crying to your mothers instead of to Facebook’s moderation system.

*Edit – Update

I would like to sincerely thank all of the people who have extended kind comments, understanding and their own hands and time to help in any way they can. Because of overwhelming request I would like to offer this. I have created a page on Facebook, added it to the right hand side of the blog so you can Like from there, or just click here. I have made this as a sort of landing page. I am going to make a quick post about this so that anyone that wants to help can certainly feel free to join that page. Thanks again for your great responses to this issue!

Additional Sources:


Facebook Alienates Secularists and Scientists – One Anonymous Moderators Story

I am aware that just writing this puts me in the position of jeopardizing my place as a Facebook moderator, but it’s about time someone do this. Since I have never really used my real name on Facebook, I am hoping that those who know me will keep quiet and those who don’t won’t concern themselves with the messenger as much as the message.

Facebook Does Not Care About Your Page

No one should really have to tell you this. If you run a secular or science related page you have probably already experienced reports, bans, hacks and more. Just keeping your account and page going seem to be a full-time job. But while it may be a full-time job for you, there are actually people working behind the scenes that do care about your freedom of speech, your right to enjoy secularism and science, and your protection when it comes to how your city, state or country may treat you for sharing your opinions. However, it is vital to note that the actions of these rogue mods is not supported by Facebook development, managers or its famous co-founder, Zuckerberg. I constantly see atheists yelling about how they can’t believe Zuckerberg doesn’t support them considering he is an atheist. Let me reassure you of one thing right now. He DOES NOT give a shit about your page. He cares about advertising. That is why when large countries like India and China threaten to pull out, Facebook devs go into a flurry of reporting, banning and deleting activities on pages that seem to generate the most controversy. For the record, several countries have threatened to pull out of Facebook citing that secular pages have caused civil unrest in their regions.

This is obviously witchcraft. Thou shalt not suffer a coin to live!

This is obviously witchcraft.    Thou shalt not suffer a coin to live. Stupidicus 3:14

Science Flies in the Face of Faith

While I actively spend hours per day trying to unban admins from secular pages, nothing frustrates me more than trying to cope with the irrational human beings’ reaction to science. I have spent many hours combating the trolls that visit a very popular science page known as I Fuckin’ Love Science.  Some of the complaints I have read include:

“Please remove this picture, I do not believe in this coin and it goes against my beliefs.”

“Jesus teaches us that not all things we can see are worth believing in. I am reporting this because science has proven dinosaurs did not exist.”

“I don’t like Bob Barker, he is a pervert and should not be represented on this page.”

Secular Charities Enrage Stupid People

One of the most frustrating issues I have dealt with in recent months was the banning of the moderator and an incredibly charitable gentlemen who dedicates his time and his life, to improving the living conditions and the health and rights of the people of India. Responsible Charity is just that, responsible. They share where their donated funds go, they are genuine, real and admirable in a time where no one trusts charities anymore, the horror stories about misappropriated funding, deviant behavior and other fraudulent ‘charities’ still fresh in the minds of many. And here is one, doing the right thing, and their administrator is banned for posting pictures that do not make the religious feel warm and fluffy. You know who does get to feel warm and fluffy? Hopefully the people that charity takes care of, even if just for a minute. I’d throw Facebook in the trash forever if it would earn one dollar for this charity, but the moderation team has fought long and hard to repeal a month-ban on the admins account, only to be met with bugs, roll backs and general hamster on a wheel functioning that Facebook has become while they are trying to implement video advertising. Because like I’ve tried to tell you, that is literally all that matters here.

Buzz Aldrin refuses to admit he is Bob Barker. He also wants you to know he is tired of your shit.

Buzz Aldrin refuses to admit he is Bob Barker. He also wants you to know he is tired of your shit.

Facebook has it’s purposes in the big picture; most certainly we are all there for more than just the general sociable circle-jerk of digital high-fiving with a side of narcissism that we all enjoy when we participate there. However, I now want to share the other side of the coin with you. 99% of reports are sent to an automated system that uses an algorithm of a combinations of triggers and filters based on your account. What this means is that when you get banned for some batshit reason, don’t take it personally. No individual, sitting idly by, sipping latte.. has looked at your report and said, “He posted a picture of Mother Teresa riding a T-Rex holding a shot gun, he’s OUTTA HERE!” More than likely, your account just got banned on the popular internet premises, “Because, who cares?” along with an algorithm built to do exactly that. You ever noticed how Facebook doesn’t have a nice blog posting new updates we can expect? Did you notice that Facebook has no real reachable customer service numbers or emails? Did you pick up on how last week, when the Richard Dawkins Facebook page was hacked, it was returned to its admin within a couple of hours?

Several people who know me and what I do on Facebook’s back end asked me how the RD page got fixed so quickly when other sites like Sexy Atheists took a lot longer to return. There are two contributing factors to this.

Sexy Atheists is a great page, however, they aren’t, you aren’t, Richard Dawkins. Don’t get your tits in a rage, I don’t mean that, “Hahaha! You aren’t Richard Dawkins, you suck! Hahaha!” I mean, you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You don’t have millions of people willing to listen to you complain about Facebook’s policies, he does. Period. By the way, you yourself aren’t making that situation any better by only using Facebook to ‘share your message’, whatever it is. While it still has a few years left in it before some 12 year old creates a better network, you should realize right away that it isn’t going to be around forever.

I put a special note "S1" on the accounts of people who deny dinosaurs or claimed they were buried by satan. S1 isn't really fancy, it just stands for Stupid One. This alerts other moderators to the fact that they can then begin pointing and laughing at your profile.

I put a special note “S1” on the accounts of people who deny dinosaurs or claimed they were buried by satan. S1 isn’t really fancy, it just stands for Stupid One. This alerts other moderators to the fact that they can then begin pointing and laughing at your profile.

The Sexy Atheists admin wasn’t a part of the admin group that helps secular and science page owners to deal with these banning frenzies when it first occured. FYI, the bans and reports are most often carried out by packs of religious trolls that know a little bit more about coding than the average bear, but fortunately, my early days on the Internets IRC’s taught me more. The SA page was returned to its owner within two hours of our getting in contact.

I am not a braggart, I never work alone. There are other individuals on the back end that support me, I support them. We take shifts so that I can guard their pages when I am awake, they are sleeping – and vice versa when it’s my turn for a nap. And in some cases, like with the RD Foundation page, the posts I make asking people – YOU PEOPLE – to email Facebook about, get righted in that way, too.  Don’t stop doing that whatever you do. I wish I had a solution for you, but as I warned my group at the beginning of this year, things are getting worse for the secular pages, not better. The chances are that they won’t. I do love reading your messages about how Facebook and Zuckerberg should take these matters seriously, but I can’t help but think your time would be better spent doing something more productive for yourselves or your pages or your fans.

Questions

If you have questions about anything I will try to answer them here. However, trolling in any form has no place here. I am taking a big enough risk just sharing this, I am making preparations with my admin group about a probable deletion, and I don’t expect this blog to stay up indefinitely, though I do believe it has a better chance being on a public forum and search engine crawl-able. We shall see.

If you want to read a real story behind how the underpaid, overworked Facebook moderators feel about your reporting issues, read more here.


Facebook is a Good Place to Encourage Activism and Share Knowledge but Facebook is NOT a Public Forum

You are probably here because you are a part of, or currently watching some bullshit argument on Facebook about how doing something on Facebook matters, or worse yet, doing something on Twitter instead, does not. Please take the time to understand the very basic facts between Facebook and Twitter. Googlebot and Indexing play a huge part in this process.

Before you can truly understand what indexing means, you need a basic understanding of what it means to even be crawled.

Search Engine Crawling and Indexing

I’m not going to teach this full 101 to anyone, I’d rather give a short breakdown in basic terms most people should be able to understand. If you want to know more, details, reality, statistics, algorithm’s, you are welcome to spend the years it has taken me to learn it myself. Otherwise, here is a very short and crude understanding.

Every time new and publicly accessible content goes up on the net, whether on blogs, websites, or open forums, that information sits, fresh and clean, and undetectable by such things as plagiarism checkers or any search tools, until the web crawlers, also known as spiders, (also now known as GoogleBot) make their rounds around the net. Web crawlers are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine that will index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches.

Search engine indexing collects, parses, and stores data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval. Index design incorporates interdisciplinary concepts from linguistics, cognitive psychology, mathematics, informatics, physics, and computer science. An alternate name for the process in the context of search engines designed to find web pages on the Internet is web indexing.

Facebook

Want your Facebook updates to stay off of Google?

If that’s a concern, you needn’t worry. Only people who have changed their privacy settings to Public will have their content show up in Google. Facebook would like you to change that setting, but you don’t need to worry about your private content being sold to Google without your opting-in by changing your settings.

If Facebook is able to prod more users into sharing more content publicly, then it could rival Twitter in importance among real-time sources. Facebook has approximately 10 times as many users as Twitter today, but the fact that its default privacy setting is private means far less content is available for indexing. In addition to a potential for greater quantity, Facebook also holds far more personal information about its users, meaning that search tactics like personalization and localization would have more data points to process.

Public pages, like Facebook or when you turn on the search engine friendly option on your WordPress panel will make pages, contents and the links search engine friendly and easy to be crawled. In that case, using a few links from already indexed web resources would be enough to ensure the FB pages would get indexed and crawled constantly.

The private settings on the other hand will make your contents hidden from most search engines and web crawlers. In that case, even the addition of links to the content will not help that much since the content will still only be accessible to authorized people. (Your friends list)

The Proof is STILL Not in Facebook

Ever go looking for images through Google? If so, you will notice that you never find one single Meme, Photo, or Post in Google with a URL from Facebook. That is because of all of the above. Want to test further? Head to any image on your Facebook wall right now.

You there? Good, your URL will still reflect a Facebook or FB in the string.

Now, click on F5. Got it? Good, now you have the post opened up, down to the nitty gritty.

Still have a Facebook URL? Yes, you do. Now, right-click on the image itself and select “Copy Image Location.”

And paste it into another browser window, a word document, text pad, anywhere. Now, what do you have? What you do NOT have is a Facebook URL. You do have Facebook’s secure photo server address, and yet anything on this URL, also, not making it to any search engines. And for the last time, that is because content from Facebook is NOT indexed by search engines. At best, if you make your account a public one, the only thing you will ever find on a search engine is the link to your Facebook profile.

Facebook Activism, Debate & Entertainment

Unfortunately, because of the privacy issues, or walled compound that Facebook is, activities that are limited to Facebook, on Facebook, such as status posting, thread commenting, picture sharing, and note writing will not be shared with a random person who searches for the topic at hand from a search engine. In that sense, this eliminates Facebook as a true source of activism outside of Facebook itself. No one looking for information on a topic is going to locate a Facebook Fan page or Personal Page link because someone mentioned those things. It is singularly restrictive to any outside growth. Unless, you are aggregating all of your Facebook content manually, or with various tools and plug ins.

Behind the Compound Wall

After all, one of the many reasons to be active against a cause is to help build up YOUR side of the story, the cause, and to do that, you have to have content that is competitive with whomever you oppose. This means blogs, Web 2.0 sites, YouTube videos, and even other digital content such as slide-shares, radio shows, or even digital TV. Placed on the web they become immediate competition when used with the combination of good SEO practices + high quality content, regardless of that content’s platform.

Debate

There are some truly great debate sites on Facebook. I enjoy one known as Atheists vs Religion quite often. While technically AvR has no more claim to being an element of ‘online activism’ directly, any good debate site, inside or outside the walled compound of Facebook should be considered a positive attribute, a contribution of information and education. A welcoming debate site that has users and admins who seek answers, learn new questions, share unbiased resources, and encourage free-thinking from all angles might be considered a form of “grouptivism.” Knowledge sharing – a collective breakdown of the topic at hand focused on entertainment as well as encouragement to like-minded users and open to those who want to oppose them.

Unbridled Sharing Power Still Makes Facebook and it’s 1 Billion Users an Impressive Digital Change Maker

Aside from the fact that Facebook doesn’t get indexed, there is literally nothing else to stop it from helping to enact change on just about any topic. Users can and do share important and often up-to-the-minute news and updates in just about any imaginable realm or topic.  That doesn’t even count the endless petition shares, additional blogs or websites attached to Facebook profiles, groups and fan pages, and the general awareness that it provides to any and all of the 1 billion users each day.

Twitter

The usefulness of Twitter is not readily as obvious to some people as Facebook; although it may be more addictive once you get the hang of Tweeting; you get more immediate responses and it seems to live somewhere between the worlds of email, instant messaging and blogging. Twitter encourages constant “linking out” to anywhere and, in that respect, is more analogous to a pure search engine; another way to find people and content all over the Net.

Personally, I hate Twitter. And I have always been hard put find an accurate way to describe it to the masses who also hate it. But in a conversation online recently, (On Facebook), when another user admitted they really were not sure how Twitter worked, another friend made this reference that is actually an apt way to describe in very basic crude terms how Twitter works.

You leave a message on Twitter (the bathroom wall) and then like minded folks (those using the same bathroom) will see the message, remember it, maybe share it. You already share something in common with them, from the choice/type/industry/topic of the establishment that houses the bathroom, down to the gender, if in fact there are separate bathrooms for both genders. This is scraping the bare essence of demographics, but very primitively.

How Does This Differ from Facebook?

Aside from the fact that Facebook is default private, and when public only shows your public profile, Facebook is mostly limited to your family, Facebook friends, friends of Facebook friends, and other acquaintances you may have picked up from around Facebook or other networks. Connections can be limited by your choice of profile and privacy settings in addition to the compound wall constantly surrounding your account.

Twitter is open to the public, except in very specific cases where a user may have blocked their feed to another user, Twitter is an open book. Type in your keywords, #hashtags, famous names, anything and you are given an endless list of 140 character blurbs from all over the globe. Opinions, news, and rumors abound.

Is Twitter a Genuine Tool for Online Activism?

Yes and effectively if used correctly, more powerful when used en mass. There are many instances, statistics, case studies, info-graphics that show that Twitter IS an exceptional tool for its many reasons alone, but also one that has, can and will continue to force changes in some spectrums previously untouched. Political scandal has been one of those instances. Remember when Weiner showed his Weiner on Twitter? Five years ago, Twitter was hardly a blip on the political radar. Now, it’s a social media giant. President Obama recently urged college students to take to Twitter and pressure their representatives on student loan interest rates.

Twitter users can interact with one another in two primary public ways: retweets and mentions. Retweets act as a form of endorsement, allowing individuals to rebroadcast content generated by other users, thereby raising the content’s visibility.

Mentions function differently, allowing someone to address a specific user directly through the public feed, or, to a lesser extent, refer to an individual in the third person. These two means of communication —retweets and mentions— serve distinct and complementary purposes, together acting as the primary mechanisms for explicit, public user-user interaction on Twitter.

In Conclusion

The walled compound of Facebook means that what happens on Facebook tends to stay on Facebook. For the most part, none of the content produced on Facebook is repurposed out amongst the blogsphere, this along with a limited volume of daily updates as compared to Twitter, makes Facebook of lesser value to Google from a fresh content perspective.

Twitter however seems to be built to be one giant piece of Google bait. With a fixed field for communication and a feel like that of an instant messaging service, where each message becomes a linkable page, Twitter has developed a massive user generated content system for whatever the Twitter audience might be discussing.

Resources:

  1. Twitter vs Facebook
  2. How to Get Facebook Comments Indexed
  3. Facebook Will Be Google-able (If Your Profile is Set to Public)
  4. Facebook Wants You to Be Less Private – But Why?
  5. Facebook the Walled Garden, Twitter Anything But
  6. Snopes – Facebook Indexing Myth Revealed
  7. Did Anthony Weiner Tweet a Picture of His Weiner?
  8. Twitter: From Infancy To Political Powerhouse
  9. Political Polarization on Twitter

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