Facebook Says “No” to Political Dissident, Prefers Dogs
Sometimes Facebook does something that makes us wonder if it's run by people, or by crab-men from the outer space – let’s just mention the recent hated image viewer update. But that’s nothing compared to this new mistake, which might turn out to be one of their biggest.
Reportedly, Facebook canceled the profile of Michael Anti, claiming his identity is fake. The thing is, “Michael Anti” is a widely recognized pseudonym of Zhao Jing – a free speech advocate, journalist, blogger, and a fellow of Cambridge and Harvard Universities.
Michael had over 1000 friends and used his profile to promote free speech related ideas. He can’t continue his work without it. In an interview for Taiwan News he said: “Today, I found out that Zuckerberg's dog has a Facebook account. My journalistic work and academic work is more real than a dog“. By banning Michael, Facebook just told everyone using a pseudonym, or wishing to remain anonymous, that their business is not welcome.
But if you’re a dissident from Iran, PRC, or any other country where human rights aren’t worth their weight in toilet paper, I bet you’d rather stay anonymous.
Our big Chinese friend is a bit heavy-handed, when it comes down to handling criticism. The list of crimes eligible for capital punishment in China is a few pages long and includes treason and espionage, two easy ways for prosecution to get rid of people not satisfied with the system.
By the way, in China you can also get shot for paying with a fake cheque, breaching a dyke, storing guns or smuggling pandas. And those are no empty threats - in 2009 there were at least 1800 executions. The exact number remains unknown. With this Facebook policy in place, I’m sure many Chinese activists will go offline, as even those who live abroad frequently employ pseudonyms to protect their families.Continued on the next page