Musings, News

Social Media Assassination

…or, Death in the Social Media Matrix

In recent days I’ve been on the receiving end of a troubling and growing phenomenon. The assassination of a Facebook Profile. 2-3 days ago I had posted to a group page on Facebook about Reiki Energy and my view about where it comes from, personal belief/faith kind of stuff. The post itself was an invitation to read my thoughts about Reiki Energy, not about my faith, on my blog (direct link to article in question), within 24 hrs, my Facebook Profile had been reset with Login Access only granted if I provide full and verifiable photo identification, or sufficient other documents to Prove My Identity.

Normally, when one is prompted such a situation would be considered as a Phishing Scam.

The troubling aspect is that I do not know the reason why my Facebook Profile was summarily executed, my last posting was to my Timeline and was about my recent online publishing of some of my old Poetry. I have not and still have not received any indication as to why my Facebook Profile was Terminated – I guess that is the nature of Assassination, the Victim has no idea and doesn’t see it coming. Was it because of my Poetry? Was it because of my Personal Belief System?? Was it because of my name???

Facebook is a platform that allows the building of virtual Communities, It has rules of engagement like any forum or facility however Facebook is not a Sovereign Nation, it is not a Gated City. Like the European Union, it has an open door policy that allows anyone and everyone to enter, with no focus on valid names or what it thinks is a valid name, no Proof of Identity, nothing more is required than a working email address to enable confirmation that it has a way to funnel its newsfeed/notifications into you. Like the Matrix its a way to plug you in and keep you plugged in.

Now it is we who build our networks and communities, not Facebook. We like virtual Eloi grow, develop, and mature in our communities. But within any community is is not uncommon to interact with other communities, to occasionally rub someone up the wrong way. Normally this results in an exchange of opinions or even heated words. At best, the regular crossing of verbal swords at worst, disengagement and the choice to ignore. Social Media Murder? Rarely, if ever. Rules when broken usually have a precursor, which leads to warnings and then eviction from an offended group.

Flagging a Profile causing its termination is more akin to a drive-by shooting, it is a Social Media Crime that is enables and supported by Facebook’s Proof of Identity Policy. It is akin to a virtual Inquisition where a Profile can be accused and seized, without warning, without notice, without investigation, and held ransom until the creator of the Profile gives in to the torture, selective isolation, and demands for Proof of Identity. Selective Isolation? Yes, because while your profile is being held in Facebook’s virtual Guantanamo Bay, its Intensive Care Unit for victims of Social Media Assassination, its back door guarded by trollish, thuggish policies that require, Pay to Play capitulation by providing Proof of Identity to be stored on a Secured Server.

In this day and age, it is no longer enough to just have a website and rely on passing the address around in order to develop a sense of virtual community. While it is essential to have a blog, it is imperative to have a Social Media Presence. Flickr, Youtube, Vimeo etc. are our online portfolios, Twitter our broadcast medium, ICQ, Messenger and Skype our contact systems, Linkedin and Xing our Resumes and Professional networks, but Facebook is the platform where we build communities, we link our families and friends and interests, our social and our professional lives together in this one space and these spaces form interlinkages with other virtual communities.

We invest deeply of our energy, spirit, opinions and friendships, squabbles and disagreements, share information and resources like any real world community. The seizure of a Profile then is a very significant and high value issue, it is virtual incarceration, or worse, banishment, exclusion, execution. Demanding Proof of Identity documents in this way is blackmail, it is enticed corruption and bribery, and in real life in many jurisdictions might be considered corporate crime.

This is forceful Identity Harvesting, is also known as Phishing and like Phishing, those of us who’s Profiles have been suspended, are being tortured through isolation from our communities; tormented by Facebook email notifications of conversations in various groups we belong to, tormented by being able to view the conversation but unable to participate in it; and blackmailed into handing over any and all Proof of Identity that this faceless policy demands in order to regain access to our Profiles.

Worse some have reported that on regaining access they have to Change their Name because their original name is no longer acceptable in the Facebook’s Social Media Utopia. they have effectively been isolated, penalised, blackmailed, and re-branded because  some anonymous individual caused some nameless, supposedly intelligent entity with apparently two opposable thumbs to decide between the Red Button and the Blue Button, one that releases the Profile from incarceration, the other flushing the Profile out of their plugged in Facebook incubator, out a door and across a bridge guarded by a unreasonable Policy that’s been allowed to commit virtual Highway Robbery.

It is necessary to policies that protect online communities, but these policies need to be written with one eye on those they are meant to protect and another on those who become the target of those policies. Virtual Laws need Virtual Police to enforce them, but they also need proper guidelines and mechanisms for the appropriate implementation of  those policies. Policies that rely on accusation without proof, judgement without investigation, execution without warning, and resurrection through blackmail, are not Policies that protect, they are Policies that punish victims of false renunciation. Even the Judges of Megacity One, Officer, Judge, Jury, and Executioner all in one had a highly refined Rulebook that they needed to know off by heart in order to carry out their work. the virtual Megacity Facebook One need to overhaul is Rulebook, review its Open-door join-in Policy In Concert With it Identity Harvesting Phishing Scam.

For today, that’s what’s in my

Line of Sight.