Friday, July 12, 2019

Standing Up To Facebook

I missed this story when it came out in the last week of May, but the corporation behind Crossfit, the extremely popular exercise and nutrition enterprise, withdrew their pages from Facebook after Facebook deplatformed another fitness-related site.  Hat Tip to via the weekly newsletter.  According to an official statement published at the time:
Facebook deleted without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan user group. The group has 1.65 million users who post testimonials and other information regarding the efficacy of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. While the site has subsequently been reinstated (also without warning or explanation), Facebook's action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion….

Facebook…serves as a de facto authority over the public square, arbitrating a worldwide exchange of information as well as overseeing the security of the individuals and communities who entrust their ideas, work, and private data to this platform. This mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process.

CrossFit, Inc., as a voluntary user of and contributor to this marketplace, can and must remove itself from this particular manifestation of the public square when it becomes clear that such responsibilities are betrayed or reneged upon to the detriment of our community.
In a typical week, we hear of people being deplatformed by Facebook or Google several times.  What we don't hear about is corporations that are paying these companies for their advertising striking back by moving off the platform to other services.  If for no other reason than for the point in the famous Martin Niemöller quote:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Crossfit is clearly concerned that being a health and wellness corporation based on contrarian ideas that they might well face the same bans as the Banting7DayMealPlan user group.  They opened the statement quoted above essentially saying so with this "mission statement":
CrossFit is a contrarian physiological and nutrition prescription for improving fitness and health. It is contrarian because prevailing views of fitness, health, and nutrition are wrong and have unleashed a tsunami of chronic disease upon our friends, family, and communities. The voluntary CrossFit community of 15,000 affiliates and millions of individual adherents stands steadfastly and often alone against an unholy alliance of academia, government, and multinational food, beverage, and pharmaceutical companies.
Nick Gillespie writing for Reason says:
Instead of taking it upon themselves to police more than true threats and instead of calling for government regulation of expression, Facebook and other social media services would treat their platforms as free-speech zones and focus instead on providing users with tools to personalize their experiences.
Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in.  Facebook (and Google/YouTube and The Rest) seem to have staked their future on being regulated utilities and using the high cost of entry as a bar to future competitors.  They seem to have decided if they piss off enough conservatives, they'll join the movement to get the Big Gov to regulate them.

Reason calls it a "Bonus Video" to hear CrossFit founder Greg Glassman say he's a "rabid libertarian". 

1 comment:

  1. "If for no other reason than for the point in the famous Martin Niemöller quote:"

    I prefer the Michael Z Williamson editipn to the quote:

    First they came for the blacks, and I spoke up because it was wrong, even though I'm not black.

    Then they came for the gays, and I spoke up, even though I'm not gay.

    Then they came for the Muslims, and I spoke up, because it was wrong, even though I'm an atheist.

    When they came for illegal aliens, I spoke up, even though I'm a legal immigrant.

    Then they came for the pornographers, rebels and dissenters and their speech and flag burning, and I spoke up, because rights are not only for the establishment.

    Then they came for the gun owners, and you liberal shitbags threw me under the bus, even though I'd done nothing wrong. So when they come to put you on the train, you can fucking choke and die.


    Or you can commit seppuku with a chainsaw. I really don't care anymore. This is the end of my support for any liberal cause, because liberals have become anything but.

    Adios MFs.