Sunday, 22 August 2010

He should be so lucky

With over half a billion members to its name, Facebook is now one of the most omnipotent online entities in existence. Appealing to everyone's innate desire to be the centre of attention, the social media site enables people to share the pointless ephemera of their lives.

Of course, this comes at a price, albeit not a financial one. Facebook may be free to use, but conspiracy theorists are constantly speculating about the potential for people's privacy to be breached by the all-powerful web giant.

Matters aren't helped by Facebook's indiscriminate approach to censorship - they've disabled all kinds of groups, from holocaust deniers to breast-feeding mothers. However, Facebook's latest attempt to stifle free speech and self-expression might be a step too far.

At the centre of the controversy is a perfectly innocent picture of Kylie Minogue receiving the gift of a giant teddy bear during a public appearance at G.A.Y. Unfortunately, the pint-sized popstar struggled to get her arms around her ursine buddy, and ending up holding him uncomfortably, with a microphone still in her hand. The resulting picture looks as though she's giving the lucky teddy a happy finish.

Unsurprisingly, the NSFP (that's Not-Safe-For-Playgroup) image soon went viral and inspired more amusing captions than the final round of Have I Got News For You. But Facebook didn't share the rest of the world's amusement in Kylie's grabby antics.

The site's operators yanked (pun definitely intended) the picture from one fan's page, explaining that “We do not allow photos that contain nudity, drug use or violence.” It doesn't seem to matter whether the nudity is real or imaginary. Perhaps they were concerned that Kylie has a thing for 'yiffing'.

Although people are finding the whole debacle rather comical, there's a serious concern here - we're still a long way from the 'democratised media' we were promised when the internet revolution first took hold.

As long as the powers that be have the ability to control what information people share, we'll never be truly free. The one upside is that Amazon Kindles are much harder to burn than their paper-based predecessors.

No comments:

Post a Comment