Facebook is not your living room

I’ve written on this general topic in the past, but I want to emphasize it once again: Your Facebook page, your blog, and whatever other discussion-facilitating website you use and/or control is not your living room. It seems as though I see someone somewhere claim that the two are one in the same just about every other day. “Why, this page is just like my living room. You’re my guest, so you must only say what I find appropriate.” That’s horseshit.

A person has the right to censor and be a general douche as much as he or she wants when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc, but that does not mean doing so is ethical nor, more importantly, that the right to do so is the same as it exists in one’s living room. First, I can tell someone to leave my blog all I want, but I cannot have that person charged with trespassing. The law does not recognize the comment function of social media platforms as anything like the couch in my living room. Second, no one invites hundreds or thousands of people into his or her living room. It just doesn’t happen. At best, your email or private inbox is like your living room. At best.

It’s legally fine is someone is sensitive to criticism or some sort of discussion and, as a result, decides to insulate him or herself from it all. But that doesn’t mean said critics and others were sitting in front of anyone’s fireplace having a chat over a cup of tea. It’s just a stupid comparison.

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