Australia’s celebrity chef and alternative medicine promoter Pete Evans says that he is being “shadow banned” by Facebook.
In the same breath as reporting about this, the New Zealand Herald declared Evans’ worldview on a number of topics as “controversial” right out the gate – his stance on coronavirus, diet, vaccines, etc.
Yet – we never get the publication’s similar value judgment against the very concept of tech giants’ “shadow banning” policy itself, leveled against any user, and their speech.
Still, it’s that “shadow-banning” phenomenon that is being touched upon briefly there – that might yet prove to be the real and harmful controversy of our digital age, much more than the opinion expressed freely by any one chef.
Before we get back to how Evans might be suffering from getting shadow-banned – also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting – let’s remember that it means blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community, yet in a way that will not make it readily apparent to the user that they have, to all intents and purposes, been banned.
In other words, it’s your “friendly” social platforms making the most of your content and your name – while making sure your actual posts and opinions are boxed into a solitary confinement cell on the internet.
Not a fair equity, to be sure. More like – it’s the reflexive way these days of the predatory “eat your cake and have it too” online platform’s tactics, as a means to respond to any real or seeming controversy coming their way.
No wonder then, than Evans is aware of it, given his obvious experience with the platform – and the game itself:
“My reach is disappearing by the day as they shadow ban my page… which is why I invite you to share as you all can have a much farther reach than I can,” Evans appealed to his followers.
According to the report, in July, Evans said that coronavirus was an effing hoax and that the pandemic “doesn’t compare to what is happening in the world on a large scale.”
Perhaps, like any authoritarian regime in history, Facebook wants to make an example of the most prominent critics first. Or maybe all this is just “a fluke” – and Evans might regain his original status on the platform.
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