Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Fashionable dogma. Religious zealotry. We're bigger than that. (This blog is written by Candian journalist Donna Laframboise)

Foul Play on Facebook

Climate skeptic pages on Facebook were recently targeted. Our content was alleged to be ‘abusive’ and the ability of readers to share it was temporarily blocked.

This blog has a Facebook page. Some readers have chosen to “Like” it (connect to it) on Facebook – after which announcements of new blog posts are automatically added to their news feed. This is a matter of personal preference. Some people find it handy to be alerted to new blog posts via e-mail, others via Twitter, and still others via Facebook.

Two days ago a reader from Sweden mentioned that readers were unable to “Share” my articles on Facebook. I wasn’t sure what he meant. As reported yesterday on WattsUpWithThat, someone appears to be misusing a Facebook feature that allows users to report abusive or spam-like content. Once this occurs (it’s not clear whether one instance is sufficient or whether multiple reports are necessary), a Facebook mechanism is automatically triggered that prevents the sharing of that content with others.

This feature obviously serves an important purpose. If people post child pornography Facebook has good reasons for wanting to be alerted asap – and for erring on the side of caution until an employee can investigate.

Unfortunately, someone appears to have been systematically targeting Facebook pages of a climate skeptic persuasion. In recent days a number of us have had our content reported in this manner. Thus, the sharing of our opinions with other Facebook users has been obstructed.

As far as I can tell, everything has now been resolved. (Anyone deliberately misusing the abuse mechanism on Facebook surely runs the risk of having their own Facebook account terminated.)

On the left-hand side of this blog’s Facebook page, under the heading About, this line appears:

Climate skepticism is free speech. Alternative points-of-view deserve to be heard.

Between 1998 and 2001 I served as a Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. My participation in the climate debate is due, in large part, to the alarming attitudes toward intellectual freedom and free speech displayed by some climate activists (see here, here, and here). The title of this blog – No Frakking Consensus – is an expression of my feelings sense of exasperation with these attitudes.

It is perfectly OK to argue that your opinions about climate change are right and that other people’s opinions are wrong. May those with the best arguments prevail in the court of public opinion.

It is not OK to “disappear” opposing views – to pretend that they don’t even exist. The claim that there is a consensus about the extent and seriousness of climate change – and that anyone with a brain holds one particular opinion – is false. Climate change is a complicated matter. It can be approached from a variety of scholarly, sociological, and historical perspectives. There are many smart, informed people on the climate skeptic side of the debate (see here).

We don’t all think alike. Anyone who believes that we should is trying to build a dramatically different world than the one in which I wish to live.

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This entry was posted on April 10, 2011 by in ethical & philosophical, free speech and tagged , , .
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