It started a matter of weeks ago. I have attempted in every manner I know to make my anger at this known, but Fudgebook makes it virtually impossible to file an actual complaint about the service. Instead, when they alter the interface so that it gives certain people headaches to look at, one is expected to either grin and bear it, or move elsewhere.
This, of course, leads to an excellent example of why anti-competition strategies by commercial entities such as Fudgebook should be punished with the economic equivalent of shoving a bargepole into their arse.
Some weeks ago, the Fudgebook company decided to start adding advertising to users’ newsfeeds and profile pages. The cop-out text claiming “ads not by Fudgebook” are at the foot of each ad, of course, but this is a piece of pisch. If a television channel allowed ads for Holocaust Deniers to be broadcast on their airtime and then addressed the resulting complaints by saying “don’t look at us, we did not make the ads”, the advertising standards board in their respective country would have their guts for garters.
So you can imagine how furious I am that ever since the whole “ads not by Fudgebook” stunt started, I have seen at least one advert for Autism Speaks every few days when clicking on the Home link. If you think this is any different from placing adverts for whichever attempt to revive the Nazi party within any country on the Fudgebook page of a Holocaust survivor, their children, or their grandchildren, you are sorely mistaken. Not just mistaken on the level of “Mozart And The Whale is a good film”, but mistaken on the level of “two plus two is five”.
Elsewhere, I have written that my opinion of Mark “I look like I am trying to hold it in when I have not done a shit for five days” Suckberg is already pretty low. The little asswipe has made himself rich by stealing ideas that were developed by other people, violating the most basic rights of customers, and engaging in a campaign of deceit in his favour that would make Bill Gates gasp at his nerve. So when I say that this act of allowing advertisers whose obvious intentions cross the line from discrimination to genocide to advertise anywhere on the site, leave alone where the same people they intend to commit genocide against can see it, has lowered my opinion of him to less than the parasites that live in a mammal’s small intestine, I want you to understand my full meaning. If Fukkheadberg was lying at the foot of tire tracks at the front of my house, and the paramedics were asking me to move out of the way so that they might be able to save them, I would be swinging an axe at them. How does it feel, Fukkheadberg, to know that a simple, split-second decision has put you among the list of people that many a Powell type would enjoy seeing dead?
Okay, let me start the main point over. In previous writings, I have talked about how both the Internet and the Information Technology market need to be regulated so that one sole provider of services cannot become a gatekeeper over the information that a person has access to. Well, now you have heard a classic example of the reason why. I repeat: if Ernst Zündel’s publications or websites were found being advertised on the Fudgebook pages of Holocaust survivors or Jews in general, Fudgebook would get it in the arse from several authorities so hard that it would be impossible for them to sit down. Germany would basically disallow any local hosting of Fudgebook materials within their borders, as an extreme example. You might think that this is different. As one of my favourite examples of an autistic adult being portrayed in film by accident says so well, “No. No different. Only different in your mind.”
Also fairly recently, Lydia Brown, the author of the Autistic Hoya journal, stated that she was deactivating her Fudgebook account. Her cited reasons had to do with being too busy to maintain it and problems with the contents of commentary on her posts there. But I am deeply suspicious that she saw the adverts for Autism Speaks popping up in her Home feed and decided that was more than enough incentive to consider herself unwelcome on Fudgebook, too. I mean, seriously, if you were of an economic/social strata sufficient to feel welcome in tertiary schooling, would you put up with anything that pushes advertising of your dire enemy in your face if you had the slightest inkling that you did not need to?
This sentiment is far from being without precedent. There is one woman… I hesitate to use the word crusader because it has some unpleasant connotations. Let us go with the word advocate. She advocates for the right of a woman to not be raped, against the rape culture of our world, and things along these lines. But the post that drew her to my attention has spread like wildfire. Here is one mirror of it. And here is Fugitivus posting it on a WordPress site that is attributed to her. (I use the handle Fugitivus to refer to her because she is understandably guarded about putting her name anywhere.) In this post, unsubtly titled Fuck You, Google, she says a lot about how poorly set up one service Google decided to “offer” was, but that is not my point here. The point I wish to make is that contrary to what Mark “I am a walking ‘geek’ stereotype who deserves a punch in the donut” Fukkhead says, privacy is a very, very important thing. You do not believe in privacy, Mark? Let’s ask the good lady at Fugitivus together how she feels about privacy.
Privacy, to me, is not such a big drama. I mean, it is a drama in the sense that I like to guard details like where I live, what I do with much of my day, and pertinent things like that. But what I look like or where I go on certain days, things like that, no big deal. However, things like what gets shown to me, or associated with me on things that other people can look at, is a big deal. Let me put this the proper way. What gets put on pages that have my name attached to them or have any discernible association with me is a very fukking majorly big deal. Fukkheadberg, if you were to come to me in person (yeah, like you would ever be that brave) and ask me if I wanted advertisements for Autism Speaks on a page that is associated with my name or any of the few relatives I have left that I am inclined to speak to, you would not even get a verbal answer. You would get a punch in the face.
Many suggestions have come Fudgebook’s way that could have resolved problems like this. Probably the example that stands out to me is the “dislike button”. For those who are not aware, Fudgebook has a feature where if you want to receive notifications or other things from something that has been posted in your Home feed, you click on the linked word “like”. In essence, a dislike button appears to be believed by its advocates to be like a thumbs down, an expression of discontent with the subject. I vote that we should get a HATE button. As in “when I see a person write that this is a good thing in any sense, I want to tear off their fukking head and roll it down the street”. Groups like Autism Speaks would oppose such an addition, but the reason for that is bloody obvious. It would wound their little egos so terribly to see their Fudgebook page or their adverts with maybe a dozen or so’s “likes” and the HATE button clicked thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of times. And let me be even more honest about this. When I click the HATE button, that means I am expressing the fact that I do not want to ever see a thing associated with the author of that advert, page, or profile again. Ever again. Imagine for a second that I am Gregory Peck if you, Fudgebook and Fukkheadberg, want to get my meaning when I say that. In a just world, Suzanne Wright would be leading a walk for the autistic (not a “walk for autism”) as a head stuck to the hood of my Lamborghini. And if you continue trying to slip adverts of her hate group into viewings of your stolen service, I will add you to that hood ornament, too.
In fact, whilst I am thinking of this, let me tell you about some words I heard a teacher say to some children once when I was a child. I was still a child then in the sense that I did not feel an actual desire to murder people. This teacher had several children gathered in front of the rest of the class in order to chew them out for a transgression I did not know the nature of (and still do not). One of the things she said ended in “…would not want to be associated with you”. Well, Fukkheadberg, let me clue you in one something. If I were a “guru” (I will polite and not use the word thief in this example… oops, too late) in an industry that now has a reputation for autistic people gravitating to it, and I learn that a group like Autism Speaks wants to advertise to users of the service I provide, I would have two words for them. Fukk, and off. And just so you get my full meaning, so that I do not end up getting correspondence like this, I would make damned sure that I have tight controls on what my service is used to advertise to people. No cop-outs that the ads are not made by my service and therefore I am off the hook, in other words. So I mean this more than any teacher possibly could when they are addressing a seven or eight year old child: I have no wish to be associated with the like of you.
Now, of course, people can tell me to their heart’s content to go and use another service for my “social” networking needs. Good idea in theory. I mean, if this were a choice like Blu-ray Disc versus DVD-Video, I would have already been out of Fudgebook like shit through a goose. But there is a problem with this idea. First of all, which alternative? Like many markets that have never been regulated, the “social” network market suffers a terminal lack of credible alternatives. Diaspora has turned out to be a load of promises and adverts with still not even a sign-up site for users to behold. Google Plus… well, let us put it this way. Remember that link a few paragraphs above about that lady who most emphatically does believe in privacy? Well, let us just say that whilst she is an extreme example, she is far from alone in the anti-Google sentiment that has arisen over their lack of respect for users’ desire to make decisions about how much information to release about themselves, and more importantly what kind.
So for all intents and purposes at this point, Fudgebook constitutes a de facto monopoly. That means that there is a more or less total absence of credible options in terms of other places to go. And in the information technology market, restoring competition is going to take a decade and change even when the likely effort by Fudgebook to sabotage such efforts are discounted.
Adding to the problem is that when a commercial site of Fudgebook’s kind is a self-contained apparatus with no credible facility for sharing information, that means leaving and planting one’s feet elsewhere entails losing the contacts made there. Whilst there are some contacts I really would not mind losing, there are others that I would be devastated to lose any and all contact with. And being that I am already haunted by the ghosts of people who really are dead, are dead for all I know to the contrary, or in hiding, I like to minimise such losses wherever I possibly can. It takes a lot of heartache to make me want to sever all contact with you. So not only does the lack of any credible alternatives keep a user bound to Fudgebook as a platform, so too does the non-portability of connections between users.
This gets back to what I have said before about the need for aspects of the Internet to be regulated. Unfortunately, conservative shitheads have tried to dirty the word regulation, including conjoining it with words like “stupid” or “excessive”. But the Internet as it currently stands is like a game of baseball with no audience or umpires, and all of the players are high on PCP. The batter runs at the pitcher, ready to smack him around with the bat, whilst said pitcher is defensively throwing balls at them as hard as they can. And the fielders are all exchanging blows with the rest of the batting team.
At the very least, we deserve a body that we can complain to when advertisements are beamed to us on sites that we cannot reasonably be expected to avoid using. Whilst it is presently unrealistic to ask that Autism Speaks’ status as a charitable, tax-exempt organisation be taken away, nobody who is biologically compelled to spit in their faces should be roped into advertising for them. Or reading their adverts, for that matter. Assuming that the “ads not by Fudgebook” thing is even true, whomever is pasting the ads into Fudgebook feeds should be fined a precipitous amount every day until they either regulate their advertisements so that autistic adults do not receive ads from Autism Speaks, or plainly inform Autism Speaks that they are not welcome. I doubt it actually is true, so Fudgebook should cop the same until they can dig up a credible entity that they can say they ads are “by”.
To Mark Fukkhead and Fudgebook, I can only say the following from this point. You have lost me. The second a credible alternative to you comes up, I am jumping for it like Evel Knievel over a bus. In film, there have been few civil rights activists as fearsome in portrayal as Magneto. As portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen or Michael Fassbender, he makes very clear that the only reason you are not seeing autistic adults ripping Jenny McCarthy’s spine out on international television is because we are unable. But if one of us changes, if one of us finds a way to make that possible, well, let me put it this way, Mark. Nobody who has heard you congratulate yourself for doing the equivalent of flashing swastikas in the faces of Hebrews (among many, many other things that are, probably to some beholders, just as despicable) will grieve if your blood is spilled.
My feelings about a lot of things, but in this instance Fudgebook, can best be summed up by a GG Allin song title: You Hate Me And I Hate You. Fudgebook might protest that this is not the case, but constantly flashing Autism Speaks ads in my face and refusing to listen to any objections is an act of hate. If you understand this fact to the point that you cannot be told otherwise, then thank you for reading.
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