Categories: Cat News

The Social Dilemma: A blog post on Facebook terms, animal rescue and censorship

This article will be a bit different than most I publish because my brain is bouncing around all over the place to give as much information in as short a space as possible while still providing the PoC readers with entertainment as well as knowledge. I decided at the last minute before publication to call this article ‘The Social Dilemma: A blog post on Facebook terms, animal rescue and censorship.’ Perhaps I should have added ‘social media addiction…’

Garfield is safe (SEAACA)

Netflix has a new and highly watched documentary titled The Social Dilemma. The Social Dilemma website sums it up well stating

We tweet, we like, and we share— but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? This documentary-drama hybrid reveals how social media is reprogramming civilization with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.

I watched this Friday night and the main point I took away from from it is Facebook isn’t giving us all the same information. It’s based on our likes, dislikes, political views and many other things that are factored in to create what they hope is the perfect individualized content. All of this is coming from former executives from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, etc.

Trending on Netflix (courtesy of Netflix)

Personally, I enjoy content keyed to my interests, especially animal rescue. I spent the weekend keeping up with an FIV+ ginger beauty named Garfield. He was scheduled for euthanasia September 18 at Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA), a shelter in Downey, California.

While Garfield was only one of millions of cats (and dogs) posted as out of time on social media, he’s also a representative of how people come together and save unwanted pets, one pet at a time. Garfield was down to his final day and spoken for before time ran out. His story was NERVE WRACKING! I was afraid to check his status first thing Saturday morning.

I’ll admit I’m somewhat addicted to Facebook. When I first get online I check on sick friends, sick pets, friends I want to be sure aren’t in jail due to their beliefs or actions and cute memes and updates on whether a shelter pet is now safe. I also check for stories for my Facebook group My Compassionbuzz News where we all contribute uplifting content.

So Facebook isn’t all bad. It isn’t all good either, since social media has learned how to reel us in and all the while we’re thinking it was up to us to check in on our favorite social media site. Even in the middle of the night and when we should be spending time with family and friends.

Come October 1, 2020, Facebook is rewriting the rules of engagement. Will it hurt animal rescue? Maybe. It’s worded

Effective October 1, 2020, section 3.2 of our Terms of Service will be updated to include: “We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”

Facebook terms and conditions (Facebook)

Twitter user Jordan Wildon posted

“We will remove content not because it is incorrect, misleading, illegal, or spreads dangerous misinformation, but because removing it might help prevent us from getting caught allowing it.”

While some are anticipating changes as a good thing, the new terms and conditions will also give Facebook the authority not only to remove what they say is fake information, they may also ban content on how to handle health problems, even going as far as to delete groups and pages that target anything they disapprove of.

Think of how many pets could suffer if Facebook bans disease-specific groups on Facebook. No more sharing information on IBS kitties or the benefits of CBD oil or turmeric or colloidal silver or anything people wish to know more about while connecting with others as to how to benefit themselves or their pets. Most of this stems from topics like COVID-19 and the use of vaccines. They’re already performing what they call “fact checking” where they posting about what they consider misinformation or remove the post entirely.

Facebook can even call the cops on you (Facebook)

If Facebook removes a group for policy reasons, administrators and moderators of that group will be unable to create any new groups for a period of time. Groups without administrators will be archived. They can even call the cops on you if you’re believed to be a danger. That’s great unless you’re arrested for something you innocently posted but which Facebook believes illegal or threatening.

I’ve posted several links below that are worth checking out for more information. Feel free to comment on any of this. Especially on whether you plan to stay with Facebook or have found something you believe will be a better fit. What do you believe the future holds for those of us hooked on social media?

The Social Dilemma

Facebook changes terms of service. What does it mean?

Facebook: My Compassionbuzz News

Facebook is cracking down on groups that give health advice and promote violence

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • I think FB has no recourse for those accused of violating rules. I know people who are routinely put in FB jail yet others are allowed to commit the same "crime" with no consequence. There is no way to make your case and defend yourself.

    That needs to change.

    • Agreed. They are faceless and it is difficult to deal with them. It is the same for the other huge social media companies. They make the law and enforce it as they wish. It is hard if not impossible to contact them and argue your case. That's my experience.

  • Two things come to mind right away. You can't be too critical of Facebook in writing, on the Internet, because I always think that if one of their administrators picks it up you might be in trouble! If a Facebook administrator picks up this comment I apologise. Please don't punish me because I'm just discussing your website in good faith.The second point is that they have enormous power over people and as people become more reliant on Facebook the administrators have more power over their lives. It can actually affect their lives quite profoundly. So you get the rather bizarre situation in which somebody thousands of miles away, a faceless administrator, can dictate the lives of people. They have no authority under the law but they have authority under the rules that they create. It looks a bit like judge and jury to me.

    I think too that Google is watching our instant messages and even emails for suspicious activity which is passed back to government agencies. Beware what you say ;) !

  • My biggest fear is that an innocent post will be censored by Facebook and they'll delete the individual account and all photos posted from the beginning will be gone forever. Facebook rarely rules in favor of the person they've wronged. I try to upload all of my pictures to Google Drive but I'm not sure that venue will remain safe.

  • The purge has already begun and it is exactly what you feared. Cat illness group FIP Warriors was removed citing "hate speech". This was a strict nonpolitical worldwide group that helped pet parents find life saving resources for their cats and kittens with FIP. There were over 100,000 people in that group with new ppl coming in desperate for help daily. Most US vets are woefully out of the loop on current treatments due to terrible patent laws and this page was the first glimmer of hope most of them had.

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