PIERS MORGAN: I’ve quit Facebook – but I’ll still fight for its right not to be canceled

I quit Facebook last week.

Not because I wanted to join the global boycott of the social media platform going on with its major advertisers, more of which in a moment.

No, I deleted my account after more than a decade because I just got fed up reading friends and family banging on about politics.

I get enough of that at work and on Twitter.

I’ve also become increasingly concerned by the company’s ongoing data security issues, and the creepy way adverts pop up on my Facebook page for stuff I’ve recently searched for on the internet, or even after I’ve been talking about something.

None of this is what I signed up for all those innocent years ago.

All I ever wanted from Facebook was a daily diet of happy smiling photos and posts of people whom I like enjoying themselves, to distract me from covering the often unrelentingly grim and toxic news cycle.

But the sad truth is that as Facebook has grown increasingly aggressive in the way it commercialises itself, so its users have become increasingly aggressive too, especially since two incredibly polarising events: Donald Trump’s election win and the Brexit saga.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has tried to resist demands to clamp down hate speech posts, whichever side of the political divide it comes from – but will now apply warnings to some posts

More than 160 companies have agreed not to buy ads on Facebook during the month of July. The firms include Unilever, Verizon, Honda, Magnolia Pictures, Levi's, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks. The boycott has already cratered Facebook's stock price and the financial damage may get a lot worse very quickly

More than 160 companies have agreed not to buy ads on Facebook during the month of July. The firms include Unilever, Verizon, Honda, Magnolia Pictures, Levi’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks. The boycott has already cratered Facebook’s stock price and the financial damage may get a lot worse very quickly

And the coronavirus pandemic has sent this dynamic off the charts – turning almost everyone I know into angry amateur scientific and medical experts, all espousing their often woefully ill-informed opinions with the same intransigent certainty that they’ve applied to other issues in recent years, and all framing their arguments about the virus directly from the views they have about Trump or Brexit.

It’s been utterly exhausting to watch, and also very dispiriting.

I had hoped that one of the few good things to emerge from this catastrophic health crisis might be a curb on the ‘woke’ cancel culture that was enveloping every aspect of society before COVID-19 erupted.

Indeed, for a brief period, the shock of whole countries having to lock down seemed to shake us all out of our incessant enraged shrieking and offer the sharp life-changing perspective that I assumed would lead to a more united and less fractious world. We re-connected to our friends, family and local communities in a way we haven’t done in my lifetime. We even clapped together on our doorsteps for hero health workers.

But then came BLM – and we’ve quickly morphed into a bunch of snarling, snitching, statue-smashing savages intent on destroying anyone and anything we don’t agree with or find ‘offensive’. 

The pre-pandemic ‘woke’ mentality has returned with a vengeance and this new mania is being driven predominantly by the same illiberal liberals who preach about their desire for tolerance but practise the complete opposite.

They’ve spent the past few weeks, since the despicable murder of George Floyd, unleashing a global wrecking ball on everything from monuments of beloved presidents to ‘inappropriate’ movies and TV shows – canceling anyone and anything, dead or alive, that they can shame for perceived crimes against their ‘woke’ world view.

Twitter is spared a boycott by most of these firms that have vowed to keep their advertising off Facebook  because founder Jack Dorsey has started censoring President Trump's tweets and kicking infamous right-wing commentators like Katie Hopkins off the platform

Twitter is spared a boycott by most of these firms that have vowed to keep their advertising off Facebook  because founder Jack Dorsey has started censoring President Trump’s tweets and kicking infamous right-wing commentators like Katie Hopkins off the platform

The 'Stop Hate for Profit' campaign – led by powerful liberal activist groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense - asked 'large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety. Ben & Jerry's was one of the first companies to announce the boycott

The ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign – led by powerful liberal activist groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense – asked ‘large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety. Ben & Jerry’s was one of the first companies to announce the boycott

There's an inherent deceit at the heart of this boycott: these firms, including Starbucks, all want to massively cut back on their advertising spend anyway due to the crisis. This way, they can claim it is all being done for virtuous reasons not financial necessity

 There’s an inherent deceit at the heart of this boycott: these firms, including Starbucks, all want to massively cut back on their advertising spend anyway due to the crisis. This way, they can claim it is all being done for virtuous reasons not financial necessity

Now they’ve set their canceling sights on Facebook, the world’s biggest social media platform.

The ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign – led by powerful liberal activist groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense – asked ‘large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety.’

Their clarion call was swiftly met with more than 160 companies agreeing to not buy ads on Facebook during the month of July.

The firms include Unilever, Verizon, Honda, Magnolia Pictures, Levi’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks.

Organisers are now working on getting European companies to join the boycott and have also urged regulators to take a hard stand on Facebook.

The boycott has already cratered Facebook’s stock price and the financial damage may get a lot worse very quickly.

But what it’s really about?

Coke made it clear why they were pulling its ads: ‘There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media.’

A laudable statement, we can all agree.

There is undeniably some reprehensible material on Facebook, horrible hateful stuff that should be removed the moment it’s posted.

But you should see some of the disgusting hateful threatening filth I get sent on Twitter, and, since George Floyd’s killing, the blatant racism spewing into my feed from people seething about the notion of black lives mattering.

Twitter is spared a boycott by most of these firms because founder Jack Dorsey has started censoring President Trump’s tweets and kicking infamous right-wing commentators like Katie Hopkins off the platform.

Yet I don’t see many hateful left-wing people, of which there are many, being censored or suspended on Twitter.

It appears to be undeniably one rule for conservatives, another for liberals.

Dorsey thus meets the ‘woke’ criteria for acceptable leadership and is spared cancelation.

Whereas Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has tried to resist similar demands to clamp down on this kind of material, whichever side of the political divide it comes from – but will now apply warnings to some posts.

Explaining his position, he said in a live stream last week: ‘We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society – but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies.’

You can agree or disagree with Zuckerberg about this strategy, but one thing it’s not is an attack on freedom of speech. In fact, it’s the opposite: he believes so passionately in the principle of freedom of speech that he wants to allow views he personally despises to appear on his platform.

And it’s not like he does nothing about the problem of hateful material: Facebook removes around three million items of hate speech content around the world each month, 90% of which are taken down even before being reported.

Frankly, I find Zuckerberg’s position more honest than his critics give him credit, especially with a crucial US election looming in November.

With the BLM protests, we've quickly morphed into a bunch of snarling, snitching, statue-smashing savages intent on destroying anyone and anything we don't agree with or find 'offensive'

With the BLM protests, we’ve quickly morphed into a bunch of snarling, snitching, statue-smashing savages intent on destroying anyone and anything we don’t agree with or find ‘offensive’

The pre-pandemic 'woke' mentality has returned with a vengeance and this new mania is being driven predominantly by the same illiberal liberals who preach about their desire for tolerance but practise the complete opposite

The pre-pandemic ‘woke’ mentality has returned with a vengeance and this new mania is being driven predominantly by the same illiberal liberals who preach about their desire for tolerance but practise the complete opposite

Conservatives should not be unfairly targeted or silenced in the months leading up to it, not least because the left can be just as hateful if not more so than the right – just ask author JK Rowling who’s been terrorised for weeks in the most grotesquely abusive manner because she said biological sex is real.

Much of the energy for this boycott comes from Facebook not censoring Trump.

And some of his outbursts are clumsy and vile, as we saw yesterday when he tweeted then deleted a video depicting a man screaming ‘WHITE POWER!’

But Trump was elected by half the US population and 40% still support him.

Are we saying that their views just don’t count – and their leader should be gagged?

The way to stop Trump is through the ballot box in November, not through denying him his 1st Amendment rights.

And when it comes to incendiary acts, why do famous liberals invariably get a pass?

Was Madonna suspended from any social media when she called for the White House to be bombed?

No.

Was Kathy Griffin suspended when she appeared with an image of Trump’s bloodied severed head?

No.

But if a right-wing celebrity or media figure had done either of these things to Barack Obama, they’d have been gone in a flash, incinerated at the self-righteous altar of liberal outrage.

There’s also an inherent deceit at the heart of this boycott: these firms all want to massively cut back on their advertising spend anyway due to the crisis. This way, they can claim it is all being done for virtuous reasons not financial necessity.

Yet their newfound virtuous corporate halos come with large cracks.

You can bet every dollar they’re currently saving that they’ll all come crawling back to Facebook once this temporary boycott ends, because they’ll desperately need the gargantuan number of customers that Facebook brings them.

Amid all this indignant rage at Mark Zuckerberg, ask yourself one question: how did we all get to see the horrific George Floyd murder that sparked this new global revolutionary zeal?

Amid all this indignant rage at Mark Zuckerberg, ask yourself one question: how did we all get to see the horrific George Floyd murder that sparked this new global revolutionary zeal?

So, this is a phony war, not based on principle but fear.

There’s a growing terror circulating around every business and business leader that they’ll be next for the ruthless woke chopping board.

It doesn’t take much to light the fire of public outrage in these intemperate times but once it starts it’s almost impossible to extinguish.

What these firms are really doing, ironically, is bowing to a hate-mob intent on destroying Facebook.

And if this campaign succeeds, the campaigners will feel empowered go after anyone else they fancy tossing on the woke bonfire.

This strikes me as a very dangerous moment in these incendiary pandemic-fuelled culture wars.

What’s at stake is basic freedom of speech.

I don’t personally want to be on Facebook anymore, but I will loudly defend its right to exist and not be subjected to this kind of bullying, hypocritical, cancel culture bullsh*t.

Amid all this indignant rage at Mark Zuckerberg, ask yourself one question: how did we all get to see the horrific George Floyd murder that sparked this new global revolutionary zeal?

It was posted on Facebook. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

Loading...