hétfő, június 21, 2010

Sudden Death on Facebook

It seems the Second Media War has begun in Hungary. The Declaration of War is called Media Act. The most hilarious part of it was that the conservative „Fidesz”-government wants to control the Internet too. Naturally, we eggheads thought that this would simply not be possible. But since last week there are strange things happening on Facebook. (This is the biggest community portal in the world. If considered as a country it would be the most populous one. It has become a real political force, so it is not by chance that some Fundamentalist governed countries are banning its use or want to limit it, eventually even by punishments.)
Anyone can sign in, and anyone can find his/her old acquaintances and may find new ones; we may chat, send in our pictures, videos and we are able to exchange political views. It is relatively free, the Facebook Rules only exclude openly pornographic and anti-human contents. The content-controllers of the site are warned by the users’ reports about these violators.
There have been strange phenomenons appearing on Facebook for a couple of days. I am constantly urged by Facebook to find new acquaintances (friends), but suddenly I got Warnings that if I try to find a new friend I am actually „stalking” people by my signing them. It was interesting that I did not even initiate any such move, I just responded to (regular and normal) requests of people who wanted to get in touch with me. As I have talked this over with my facebook-user friends (although we had suspicions about some evil design behind this), we all came to the conclusion that some technical failure must be the cause ofit. But more and more of my user friends told me they were warned by FB. And it was strange that each of them was self-proclaimed Leftists, or Liberals.
On Sunday we found a proof: Facebook has completely deleted a two- thousand-member progressive feminine community the „Thirsty Oasis – Szomjas Oázis”, of which I was naturally a member in spite of being male. Mainly, because – as its name hinted at a recent anthology on this topic – it has tried to promote the texts of so-called „women’s literature”. Naturally this has contained sexual contents, like most literary texts do use this type of topic. If I am well informed, this group was led by Zsuzsa Forgács, one of the most-well-known and most spirited Hungarian editors. It is quite logical to suppose that the attack was intended to intimidate her personally. As the Deletion could only have come about by a serial User Report, this event may be looked at as the first real victory of the Internet Media War.
I have no idea what kind of effect this will have on the image of Hungary, when we will be forced to inform the leaders of Facebook in a detailed analysis that while they are doing a huge service to World Democracy in autocratic countries like Iran and China - that they must slowly have a probing eye on Hungary too.
Since here, after an overwhelming victory (two thirds) of a one-party-nostalgic government, about which we knew during the elections already that they had collected data of the opposition voters’ views - and this was not considered to be worth of criminal research by the responsible State Attorneys, although their Party Director has proclaimed it proudly in a private shot at another community portal (YouTube). What is worse than this, the new governmental force has initiated a uniquely anti-democratic Media Act that wants to limit the freedom of the press, including communication on the Internet. They are continuously declaring warning messages, criminalizing their political opponents and they use the tool of Character Assassination in a very effective way. The uninhibited methods of their police-report style is typical: while in opposition they were „reporting” on their country's government and this reporting method was also characteristic in their inner party political infightings.
We must raise the attention of Facebook and of the organs trying to preserve the Freedom of the Press that in Hungary it is quite possible that the government uses naive or gullible (or maybe even well paid) believers to report those oppositional figures who are active in political issues.
Naturally we may even suppose that this phenomenon is initiated not by overly busy activists of the governmental party, but by members of the newly parliamentary Neo-Nazi party, the „Jobbik” (meaning: „Better”), whose activity and impertinence is on the rise.
They are constantly trying to effect pressure upon Liberals and Leftists: they warn them and call them to leave the country – in a complete agreement with the governmental party. So it would not be surprising if the attacks would have stemmed from them.
Although Facebook has deleted the Thirsty Oasis without any prelude or warning, obviously their operators are not responsible for what has happened. But we would like to initiate a deeper research into Hungarian "public reports".

Ivan Andrassew


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