Thursday, December 27, 2018

Facebook keeps prodding me to "play ball" and ask for money; the potential for compelled speech

It seems a day can’t pass, even during the “holidays”, without another platform crisis.  This Patreon-etc stuff has taken up a lot of time.  I have worked on the book and even music a bit, but I’m falling behind where I should be.

Yesterday, after much prodding by Facebook, I updated my Page with a reminder about an early page from September where I had discussed an article I had written and where Facebook had not been willing to boost it without my selling things (essentially).

And I pointed to it from my account with another post with no links, and once I again, I get a rude box “ordering” me to add a donate button.  I do get annoyed by Facebook's unnecessarily trying to get me to change my profile picture, or to ask for "likes" (which sounds rude). 
I commented on my own post indicating that I don’t raise money on for causes under my own name under my own pages (normally), and a friend even commented with a flush face. (I do give links and encourage others to visit the non-profit site on their own first.) 

I’ll add here that there have been some bizarre problems with raising money for non-profits.  David Pakman points out a problem he has had with residual Amazon Pay:

I get that Facebook is uncomfortable with people (like me) who use the platform’s friend’s accounts (as opposed to pages) for adjunctive publishing.  They want to see action, not talk (the “skin in the game” thing).  And their business model, for all the controversies over privacy and echo chambers recently, depends on people selling things and raising money and “socializing”.  I do much less of this online than most people, partly because I am much older.

So in a sense I am a bit of a problem because I spectate and don’t “play ball”.

But there is a dark matter implication also.  You could demand that to have an account and self-publish at all, you first establish you will raise money for other people’s causes – a conditionally compelled speech problem.  As I explained, most of my donations are private and automated through a bank and a trust.  But that doesn’t serve the interests of the non-profit world, with its matching donors and drives, and businesses (like Facebook) whom the non-profit world depend on. 

You could also, at some point in the future, demand some kind of community engagement – voluntarism.  Maybe that could be kept private, but it tends to lead to wearing T-shirts and demonstrating and raising money.

I can see that the Facebook social media culture that Mark wants now makes it OK to ask for things.  I do get the point of that.

By the way, there is criticism that donating through Facebook undermines some non-profit's strategies 
I'll add that many of my posts with pictures are based on things happening locally, like the completin of Ballston Quarter in Arlington VA.  These get lots of positive reactions; they are on-the-scene live coverage of what I walk in on. These usually don't get onto my blogs, only the social media platforms. 
There are more articles about “emperor Mark”, such as Brian Phillips on The Ringer, “The Cost of Living in Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet Empire”, that reminds us what it was like to move into this second life of the Internet in the 90s, before modern social media took over.

There’s a new social network, MeWe, that appears to be much simpler.  Shelby Brown of Cnet describes it as the “anti-Facebook”.  It seems to encourage posts to disappear faster (quasi-Snapchat). 

Right now I don’t have time to build audiences on new platforms, unless they really become necessary.  I haven’t invested much time in Instagram, because it is clumsy to base everything on photo. I have no real use for Snapchat.
But I do have to think about what will help me sell the novel next summer. 
I want also to note that some good friends seem to be posting a lot less on Facebook and Twitter in the past few months than they used to, given all the scandals. It's not just conservatives who are worried. As Tim Pool says, if you just ban everybody, you have no business. 

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