October 4, 2018 Tas Britas

Dear Facebook, I’m a hatespeech victim, and you blocked me for hatespeech. What’s up with that?

Hello Mr Zuckerberg or whoever is actually reading this. I am an elected representative of the people of the superawesome city of Vilnius, Lithuania.

Listen, Mark, I have been a heavy user of your staggeringly ubiquitous advertising-supported social network for ten glorious years. I have spent literally thousands of dollars on adverts and boosted posts to promote my political campaigns, business activities, charity fundraising drives and numerous public events. You know this, because you have all the data.

But that’s not why I am writing to you. The addictive nature of your wondrous electronic creation is not what I am complaining about. That’s not the problem.

As a long-haired, pro-LGBT, sometimes skirt-wearing, passionately outspoken and very publicly visible immigrant, I am quite accustomed to reading horrific abuse about myself on your fabulous website. Not a day goes by without an opportunity for me to learn that I should hastily return to my country of origin and/or perform a sexual act of a nature too explicit to mention here in this letter.

It’s lucky I’m at least white and able-bodied, because that keeps the level of verbal abuse down to only one truckload of poisonous libel per day. Sometimes a death threat.

If people knew I was straight, that would be a big help, but even though I keep trying to come out as a heterosexual, people just don’t accept me for who I am.

Whatever I do, I keep hearing that I am romantically attracted to people with penises. There are so many people who publicly declare this as a fact, and they think it’s a very naughty thing.

But I’m not even complaining about the soul-destroying bullying from which you profit, although it would be really nice if you would do something more about it.

The problem is that for the second time in our complicated relationship, your artificially unintelligent algorithm has banned me for 30 days for hatespeech.

Me 🙁

I’m Mr. Equality. The first and only immigrant to be elected to public office. Campaign slogan was “for a friendly Vilnius”. Put LGBT equality on my flyers and went round knocking on doors to distribute them. Protested against the police’s lack of enthusiasm for investigating hate crimes. Backed a project to map the most tolerant restaurants and cafés in the city. Fly a rainbow flag on my balcony. Initiatior of the municipality’s sexual harassment prevention policy.

Elected most certainly because of the power of your Facebook thing to reach and mobilise my audience so effectively that they actually went out and voted for me. Cheers. You banned me 🙁 Because haters reported me to your stupid robots when I quoted a hatespeech attack in a post against hatespeech.

Your Community Standards enforcement system has gone a bit wrong, and it’s silenced me twice. Well it’s silenced me three times, because there was that time back in the day when we made an app called “send a dick” where people could send each other childish marker-pen drawings of dicks. You didn’t ban me for that, but you banned me for 24 hours when I posted an ASCII penis. Fair play. But a 30-day ban for nothing is a bit harsh.

This is not a flameout. I would like to continue using your internet-enabled debate-sponge as soon as possible.

I would like to continue my work. I would like you to shrug and realise that you made a mistake and turn me back on. It’s OK, stuff happens.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you have time to look into that, I would much appreciate it.

Thumbs up 🙂