Over the last few years, I developed a small following of individuals on Facebook and on some other social networking sites. A lot of it is solely for the purpose of networking for The Brand, some of it is entertaining and some of it is actually social. Of my current 1,800 Facebook friends, I probably know 10% of them personally and another 10% I’ve met casually or are acquainted with outside of Facebook. Over the past several months, Facebook has implemented their own form of “Community Standards” that allow people to anonymously complain about people’s pictures and wall posts that they find “offensive or inappropriate”. It covers things such as harassment and (Facebook) identity theft also. What I’ve found is a) it’s just another tool for haters to hate, and b) it’s not protecting anyone from actual harm. Young adults are still being bullied via Facebook and there are still hate mongers, racists and plenty of inappropriate and offensive things slipping through the cracks because the haters only care about reporting what they think needs to be reported, not what protects society as a whole.
Recently, for the second time, someone reported one of my photos as “sexually explicit” and “inappropriate”. The photo they were referring to is actually the back cover of “The Goodie Bag”. In the photo I’m wearing a bra and panties, with black stilettos while laying across and bed with a gorgeous male model holding one of my legs. My breasts, my behind and my vagina are not visible at all. There’s no kissing, touching or hugging taking place in the photo. My body is barely touching the male model’s. It’s a beautiful picture of me. The photo is sexy without being overtly sexual and it speaks to the tone of “The Goodie Bag”, while it leaves something to the imagination. If someone thinks the photo is more than that, it’s their opinion and they are entitled to it. Just like I’m entitled to look fabulous in the photo. The truth is, the pictures inside of “The Goodie Bag” are a lot sexier and the language is completely sexually explicit. It’s erotic fiction; it’s supposed to be. I know that it was likely a hater who reported the photo because they don’t have anything better to do. I can’t wait to see how they will react when the pictures for “The Goodie Bag II” come out.
***yes, there are haters everywhere…including on Facebook***
Once again I find it completely hilarious, and hypocritical, that someone thinks that one of the best pictures of me on Facebook is “inappropriate” with all the near naked women in thong-kinis all over that very same social network. Some of these other women go so far to gain attention that they actually “tag” people in their photos forcing innocent people to have someone else’s nakedness displayed all over their wall for all of their friends and relatives to see without prior knowledge or consent. You have to be a “friend” to see my pictures, unless you “like” my fan page. If you “like” my fan page, you know what the purpose of it is and there’s no need to report anything because you’ve made a conscious choice to be included in the content by willingly clicking the button. No one forced you into it. No one “tagged” you into it without your knowledge of consent. You made a choice. If you don’t like it, don’t look. Pun intended.
We have the freedom of choice. Or so I thought. But Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook developers seem to think that they have more freedom of choice than the users of Facebook. Now that Zuckerberg is a gazillionaire, you can’t add him as a Facebook friend. You can’t send him a message to his inbox, you can’t tag him in a post or picture, you can’t write on his wall or ask him to join a group. He has been stalked into hiding from the rest of us. But he hasn’t done much to protect users like us from being stalked. He has made himself completely untouchable via the social network that he created (or stole, depending on which version of the story you decide to believe). However, he’s constantly making decisions for Facebook users that compromise our right to choose for ourselves. What’s with people being able to add you to a group without you knowing what the group is about? According to Facebook, only your friends can add you to a group. But it’s hell to remove yourself from these groups. The option isn’t even available for mobile Facebook users. It must be done from a computer. That’s not fun.
I’m am constantly and randomly being added to groups by my “friends”. Usually it is the “friends” that I don’t actually know personally or am not acquainted with outside of Facebook or they’d know I don’t want to be a member of a group I know absolutely nothing about. There’s nothing wrong with creating a group to market your product of service, supporting your beliefs or charity, but the beautiful thing about consumerism is that people get to select where they go for their products and services. The beautiful thing about America is that we can all have our own beliefs and support our own charities without being forced to participate in someone else’s. As a consumer you get to opt out of unwanted emails or be placed on “do not send” lists. Facebook groups are not like that. The creator or any member of a group can “add” any of their Facebook friends to that group without any forewarning. You find out you’re a member by notification. It’s like walking into a game of Russian Roulette that you didn’t know was taking place, and someone puts the gun to your head, pulls the trigger and *bang!* you’re a member of their group. Every time I get an email notification from Facebook I feel like I got jumped into an online gang. I get bombarded with other people’s opinions, thoughts and ideas through my personal assistant at all times of day and night. Some stuff is interesting, but for the most part it’s an overload of information that I don’t have the time or patience to read or understand. I don’t get to turn it off immediately. No, that would be too convenient. I have to go to my computer and click “Leave Group”. Then I get threatened again with a message that says if I leave the group I’ll have to be invited in order to return to it. Doesn’t that sound a lot like a gang? Or even the mafia?
I don’t know which is worse, how Facebook allows haters to harass people using their “Community Standards” as a tool of suppression, or how they allow groups to target people at random for mandatory participation. All I know is that if I created a group and forced people to participate, someone, somewhere would complain and I’d be threatened by Facebook – again. Well, while Mark Zuckerberg sits in his Ivory Tower away from us peasants, passing his Facebook laws, I will continue to do whatever I like and post my pictures on my Facebook page, regardless of who does or doesn’t like it. You do not have to be my Facebook friend. It is your choice. I, unlike others, won’t force anyone to participate by adding them to a picture or group that they aren’t actually in or want to be a part of. I respect everyone’s right to choose for themselves, whether I agree with their choices or not.
I’ve also decided that regardless of how many haters complain, I’ll remove my incredibly beautiful photos from“The Goodie Bag” when Facebook bans all of the haters, pedophiles, porn stars, naked wanna-be-models, racists and bullies from Facebook. So take your time and enjoy the photos. And if you want to know what all the fuss is about, purchase a copy of “The Goodie Bag” here.