Amid the clamor for better Big Tech moderation rules (and better enforcement of those rules), it's important to remember that complex laws favor those who can afford lawyers.

That goes whether we're talking about actual lawyers or "consultants" who know the platforms rulebooks inside and out.


"The lines between good conduct and bad conduct are necessarily arbitrary: if you create a rule against 'harassment' then you have to create a threshold beyond which conduct crosses over from merely “unpleasant” and into 'harassing.'"

"The difference between 'harassment' and 'very nearly almost but not quite harassment' is so arbitrary that the subjects of this v-n-a-b-n-q harassment will probably not register that there’s any difference."


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As bad as this power-imbalance is, it's even worse if the platform collaborates with you to revise its rules so that any time you cross the line, they move the line.

That's what Facebook did for Trump, according to a Washington Post investigation by Elizabeth Dwoskin, Craig Timberg and Tony Romm.


They cite multiple Facebook sources, including senior people who quit over the practice and went on the record with their allegations.

Not only did Facebook collaborate with Trump to help reword his posts so they wouldn't break the rules; sometimes, they changed the rules.

The Trump complicity began in 2015, when Facebook found a way to leave up Trump's campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the USA, despite its clear violation of Facebook's policies.


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Lurking in the background of this scale-thumbing is Vice President of Global Policy Joel Kaplan, a far-right operator brought in to assuage the victimization-complex of right-wing commentators who claimed FB was biased against them.

It was Kaplan who, with a straight face, argued against banning dangerous disinformation campaigns because this would disproportionately affect right-wing users. Even worse: Zuckerberg reversed an anti-disinfo plan on the basis of Kaplan's advice.


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A leaked Kaplan memo reported on by the Post shows how Zuck's personal Richilieu leads the company through the most torturous mental gymnastics to justify complicity with political lies and obvious influence operations.

What's more, these policies have paved the way for dictator-friendly policies that have created a set of custom-tailored rules that permit Duterte, Bolsonaro, Modi and Orban to fuel autocracy and even genocide while silencing their victims.


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But Facebookers don't have to take it. There's a huge labor shortage for skilled tech workers, and even junior employees can quit their jobs and walk into a comparable one by just placing a call to a recruiter (or a friend working at a rival, hoping to collect a bounty).

5,000 Facebook employees have denounced the company's pro-dictator policies, and many have quit.


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The fact that so many were willing to go on-the-record with their grievances suggests that they're past caring about retaliation from the company.

It's not just employees, of course. Some of Facebook's biggest advertisers have "paused" their business with the company, including Unilever, Eddie Bauer , North Face, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, REI, Mozilla and Upwork.


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Of course, the joke's on us. Everyone who's fucked off with Facebook is flocking to Instagram - a company Facebook bought EXPLICITLY because Zuck viewed the company as a nascent competitor that could grow to become a threat.

IG may be a groovy place to reboot the zine revolution, but all those pixels from from the same organization, which combines and mines the data from across its properties.


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That's why the majority of the 15,000,000 13-34 year olds who broke all records by quitting FB in 2018 ended up as Instagram users.


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