Archive for topic “call to action”

Facebook censors dissent among users

facebook screenshot

Facebook won't allow users to post messages critical of their privacy options, or so I discovered this afternoon.

In the midst of trying to warn my friends, family, colleagues and cohorts on Facebook about a major hole in their privacy and security, I discovered that the problem is far worse than even what I initially was complaining about. I attempted to post the following text as a status update:

Just discovered that facebook implements their security settings haphazardly. So, for instance, if you have a list of people set up so that they don’t have access to your wall, that does not mean that they will, in fact, not have access to your wall. Yet another reason why you should not trust this privacy abomination.

I was subsequently confronted with this error message:

Facebook’s systems block chain letters — like this one — that contain false and misleading information. Please be careful when deciding whether to pass along messages like this. To learn more please read this blog post.

See the screenshot above for evidence. Needless to say, I’m disgusted. This isn’t the first time that Facebook has unjustly censored individuals. Good thing I have my very own trusty news machine, already set on “BLAST”, to fire off this alert to the interwebs.

So what to do now? Quit Facebook? Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. Once you join, they’ve got you. Literally, forever. Well, that’s a bit dramatic. They have you until such time that a non-human citizen of the United States of America (a “corporation”) such as Facebook, one that exists solely to mine data of consumers such as you and me for profit, would freely destroy that data that they are serving to their clients on their far away servers and protected from your prying eyes by byzantine EULAs (ex. 1, 2, 3), swarms of attorneys and spanking-new patents, hot off the printing press. Wait, I guess I wasn’t being dramatic.

Here’s what I recommend: don’t put any information, be it picture, video, thought, phrase, anything you care about, on Facebook, starting today. It isn’t a safe place and anything you put in there, you are likely forfeiting your rights to it. Worse, you may be accepting the onerous task of a prolonged legal battle should you ever want to claim rights to whatever content you are sharing again.

I am not an attorney and this should not be construed as legal advice.

There are plenty of good alternatives out there. Use Twitter and Flickr, or start a blog of your own. It really isn’t difficult, I swear, and with these options you have much more control over your data. You still have to be wary of EULAs, but so far, these organizations haven’t shown the menace that Facebook is brandishing.

I’m now going to try to post this article on Facebook. We shall see what happens. I’ll keep you updated with any developments. Who knows, I may get myself scoble-ized momentarily!

[Update: It posted! Their logic eludes me.]

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Public education deserves your attention…TODAY!

View March 4 Day of Action in a larger map

A map of campus organizing around the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Education, compiled by Angus Johnston of the Student Activism blog ( As of March 4, shows 122 events in 33 states.

March 4 is upon us. For those just joining the conversation:

…the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Education is a grass-roots event in which students, faculty, and others are coming together around the country to speak and act. The Day of Action was originally conceived in California as a response to the current crisis in higher education in that state, but it has since grown to encompass students and others at educational institutions at all levels in all parts of the country — from Berkeley and San Diego to Portland, Maine and Montgomery, Alabama.Angus Johnston
Historian, Blogger

My classes were slated to be about copyright law from the start of the semester. I’ll be “teaching in” on the issues facing public education and blending that in with copyright and the Creative Commons. It should be a wonderful day of radicalization! Don’t you just wish you could be there?

Unfortunately, if past is prologue, today is not going to consist entirely of polite discussions of issues. You can follow all the latest news of the protests in the #march4 twitter feed right here, brought to you live streamed via HootSuite.

As a purveyor of higher education, there is one particularly sickening question that I always come back to when discussing the hash that I sling for a living, so I’ll leave you with that. What does it say about our society that we are willing to allow our children to indenture themselves just for the opportunity at an education?

Now, with that said, go out and read about the issues (and read that last link!) and then get involved in the process of defending a strong, vibrant, cheap (preferably free) public education in your area, wherever you may be. In the oft quoted words of Zach de la Rocha, “It has to start somewhere; it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?

Educators and non-educators alike, endorse the movement here.

Follow the March 4 movement on Facebook.

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Jane Hamsher makes the case for killing the Senate bill

Jane Hamsher: “We have never mandated that the public pay eight percent of their income to a private company. That is obscene.”

Way to go, Jane! Remember, dear reader, sign the petition to kill the Senate bill here.

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