Here we are again, and for some of you, this is simply the latest chapter in an on-going story for me and the Social Networking Wonder known as Facebook. I’ve been using Facebook for I believe about five years now, not entirely sure, but that doesn’t matter anyway. About two years ago I decided to take advantage of their “fan page” alternative because I was getting so much promotional stuff posted to what is my personal profile. So, I created a page that mirrors my website and called it Romance and Fantasy, as most things associated with me professionally come under that tag line and have since 2004 when I signed my first contract. The fan page currently has approx. 2800 followers, and daily stats show it to be a very active page, seen by just under ONE MILLION people since its inception. So, it has become a popular stop for many readers and fans, often on a daily basis. Something that truly humbles me and leaves me in awe.
One of the things I’ve done as a fun way to chat is post images of sexy heroes for everyone to enjoy. The page’s primary readers are women, and the men have been known to have a lot of fun bantering with the comments that are posted on some of the hunky guys, too. It’s all in fun, and 95% of the images posted are from other pages on Facebook or Male Model sites. NONE of them are naked, graphic, or offensive to those who drop by to hit the like button or leave a comment. However, I was forced early on to set the page as visible to those 21 years old and over. Not a problem, we all get a little profane occasionally, and when I rant, I’ve been known to be less than ladylike. If I was a parent, I wouldn’t want my kids reading what is occasionally posted in comments on my fan page. That stated, it’s rare that anything questionable is said.
In the past two years, the fan page has seen its share of controversy. Only TODAY I have had a photo reported and removed, and I’m currently under a three day suspension with FB for posting what someone deemed “inappropriate content” and this image is the offence. I see an attractive man wearing all his clothes, all the naughty bits are well covered. Yet someone hit report–some supposed ADULT found this image sexually inappropriate or pornographic. Maybe I’m not seeing straight, but how is this pornographic? I can well imagine this guy inspiring a few pornographic fantasies, but here he’s just a sexy model, at least in my view. Feel free to correct this misconception of mine, if you want to, I’m always open to an intelligent exchange of views.
We all have our frustrations with this site, and many of them are valid annoyances. Facebook allows the formation of unmonitored groups that spew hate propaganda to impressionable minds, support homophobia, racial discrimination, violence against women and children, bullying, and any other number of things society as a rule finds repugnant. Yet, these sites continue to exist and are left alone to spread their disease. People who want to put themselves in the position of moral watchdogs need to cast their net wider than romance sites, in my opinion. Some guy’s naked chest doesn’t disturb me unless he’s got a kill list tattooed on it, then he’d be the monster we need to be rid of on a page.
The media has taken some weird twists and stands over all our lives to a large degree. We live in an age where absurdities are accepted as the norm now, and that’s a scary damn precedent to have set. Huge corporations tell us what is and isn’t appropriate for us, and we accept this far too often. Recently Sony Corporation has told a romance author she can’t use the name Adele, because it’s one of their registered trademarks. And there are people who support that stance. I’m only guessing, but I think it’s a safe bet that the author’s mother registered her daughter’s name long before the singer came onto the stage. Can one trademark a commonly used given name? Apparently, but does that mean it should be allowed? Think about that–we might all one day be sued or issued cease and desist orders instructing us to stop using our own names!
People have been screaming for some kind of moderation and review of the vagaries of social media and the control it has over us all. EVERYONE agrees that policies have to exist to protect people from predatory internet stalkers and hate mongers. That isn’t even a question that needs revisiting. What DOES need looking at, with honesty and some semblance of sense is how “reports” are monitored and dealt with on large media sites. Every day millions upon millions of users log in to their Facebook profiles and socialize with people. The site can deactivate you for nothing more than someone vindictively pressing a report button on something you’ve said or done if they don’t like it. You don’t even get the chance to defend yourself, the judgement is passed.
Authors of romance novels have had their book covers deemed “inappropriate content” by Facebook–had their profiles frozen for days or weeks because some ignorant, uptight asshole didn’t like an image, or a story excerpt, or maybe what colour underwear the author said she/he wore that day. We use this site to network with others in our chosen profession, to allow readers to socialize with us in a SAFE environment that works for us and them. Role-play writers pour their hearts into entertaining people and fans, often bringing much needed relaxation and enjoyment to their readers, every day they risk all that hard work vanishing because of some jerk with a bug up their ass reporting them as a phoney profile. It’s acceptable to take out a creative writer, but not the page that screams about white supremacy, or tells you it’s your right to slap around your kids or your mate? If this is the case our next major research really needs to be finding a cure for social ignorance.
See you on the dark side in about three days everyone! That’s when Facebook is going to let me talk to you again.