Facebook Ushering in 1984, in 2015

1984On Tuesday, Dec 8th, Competitor magazine published a piece I wrote about ultrarunning being at a crossroads on the performance-enhancing drug question. In the short time it was up, it was shared over 500 times on Facebook. It started some wonderful conversations. My own post on FB had a fantastic, intelligent comment string well worth reading through.

Twenty-four hours later it was gone. Friends started telling me their post weren’t just gone but any comments made by anyone were completely stripped from their histories. You couldn’t find the article or any mention of it anywhere on FB. It was even removed from Competitor magazine’s FB page.

Scary stuff.

It may have been flagged and taken down or it may have simply been stripped by a FB algorithm that searches the site for keywords. It’s conceivable that because the article was ostensibly about drug use it was taken down. It’s possible that a few people didn’t like my writing and flagged it as offensive. Either way its gone on FB’s whim. With so many of us getting our news from FB that they can make or break articles, they can make or break page views. If you’ve ever tracked this stuff, FB destroys Twitter or any other way of reaching an audience. It’s just so big. The bigger it gets the more control it will have over the narrative and the cultural discussions we are allowed to have.

I don’t know about you, but that frightens me.