‘Facing up to Facebook’

2013 Wilko Report 30 April 2013

‘Facing up to Facebook’

“Social media” are dangerous places for the unwary – ask the parents of any teenager who as been driven to self harm or even suicide  by cyber bullying. But they can also
prove to be an effective way of filtering who really are your friends and enemies.
I use facebook a lot. I can post messages and interesting news items for friends and also limit who sees these items. I am outspoken on many things. That abrades some people, usually not my friends, but some times they are people whom I like. I am a professed arch conservative after all.

Political comments are always risky to post. But hey, we are supposed to be a democracy with freedom of political expression. While the left of politics often scream about the so called “right wing hate media”, the same citizens are not averse to running facebook sites, always with anonymous “owners” with vile personal attacks. Tony Abbott is their target. “Tony Abbott is a Wanker” or “Tony Abbott’s lies” are just two of these. Typically they consist of personal insults with no foundation in reality.

Recently I saw a remark about Rupert Murdoch and his “selfish” “right wing” newspapers. So I posted a simple observation there, that The  Australian actually has regular columns from Craig Emerson ( a  Labor Minister) , Paul Howes ( ACTU leader)  and perennial left winger, Philip Adams. This was all too much for the champions of democracy. The “inconvenient truth” was deleted within minutes of my posting it, and my access to what was purportedly a site for public comment was blocked.

I passed a short comment about this on my own Facebook page. One of Kiki’s and my many gay friends, a talented musician, instantly agreed with me – all I had said was that the left wing hate  media seemed very selective in whose comments they printed.
But another musical friend retorted in a confused post, something that read as an attack on white people who turn their eyes away from those in need. He is a white European himself, and one who just before Christmas was sleeping rough  in share houses, shoeless and  penniless. Yet it was a group of his friends, all white conservatives, who chipped in over $2000 ( and I put in several $100 of those dollars) that set him up in a church run retirement village where his disability pension covers his rent, power and food costs. He has had major depression and in his case I can forgive his unflattering rant on facebook. However, another former friend, a very prominent musician who has benefited to the tune of over $5000 in performance fees from charity concerts for my favourite hospital needs sterner handling. One Sunday morning last year, a post from him sharing some vile anti – Tony Abbott propaganda appeared on my facebook timeline. I  rebuked him in a private e mail – his response was “If you don’t like it, better get used to it”. I was then summarily blocked from further access to his site. This young man is one of the most  foolish I have ever met. He is in a field of endeavour that depends heavily on public relations and goodwill.
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you !!

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