Last week’s Saturday picture gallery included this pointed but by no means outrageous or beyond the pale meme about Tide Pods:
Well, guess what? Facebook has slapped the creator of this meme with a 30-day suspension because of it. Reason has the details:
Tom Champlin, who owns the libertarian news aggregator The Liberty Review and runs its associated Facebook page, was slapped with a 30-day Facebook ban for posting a Tide pod meme. His post showed a screenshot of a teen who was stupid enough to bite into a Tide pod; the caption said, “This is why I can’t pay for your health insurance.”
Facebook sent Champlin a message telling him that his post had violated the site’s community standards and he would be temporarily locked out of his profile as a punishment. . .
As a private business, Facebook is within its rights to restrict content for any reason it wants. But the company claims to “allow humor, satire, [and] social commentary,” and Champlin’s post clearly fits the bill.
Time for the DoJ to open up a huge can of antitrust whoopass on Facebook.
UPDATE: First, everyone should post this meme on his Facebook page, and give Facebook a lesson in the Streisand Effect.
Second, Sen. Ted Cruz reminds internet gatekeepers that they enjoy legal immunity under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) only on condition that internet gatekeepers are “a neutral public forum.” If they practice viewpoint censorship, they may be vulnerable to legal consequences without having recourse to problematic and cumbersome antitrust law.
“The pattern of political censorship we are seeing across the technology companies is highly concerning,” Sen. Cruz said in his closing remarks. “And the opening question I asked of whether you are a neutral public forum — if you are a neutral public forum, that does not allow for political editorializing and censorship. And if you are not a neutral public forum, the entire predicate for liability immunity under the CDA [Communications Decency Act] is claiming to be a neutral public forum, so you cannot have it both ways.”