Monday, January 15, 2018

The Facebook Purgatory of Michael Yon

An historical photo of Michael Yon. The New York Times said that no other journalist spent more time in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yon prefers to be described as a writer. 

Missing the incisive commentary of my brother, Michael Yon, whom Facebook banned from its platform for 30 days. His thoughtcrime? He made some comment about the Korean comfort women issue, an issue that he dominates. Nobody knows more about that dispute, that Chinese information op, than Michael Yon. 

Michael Yon brings eyeballs to Facebook, he has more than 637,000 Likes on his page. Yon earned those eyeballs the hard way, in combat, in Afghanistan and Iraq, shooting iconic photos and writing unsettling, precise analysis. 

Yon talks to everybody. He talks to Prime Ministers, to Secretaries of Defense, to grunts, to me, to everybody. And he sets an example for fairness and evenhanded discourse that I try to follow and fail. It was Yon who told me to stop swearing in my posts. I grumbled, but as I observed, attuned to the issue after he focused me on it, I realized that he was right. Again. 

Yon is often right. He talks about issues big and small, and he is often right. He and I do not agree all the time, but Mike listens, and if you can handle his response, he will teach you something that you did not know before. 

I asked him what his thoughtcrime was, and he said that he was discussing the Korean comfort women issue. I cannot imagine what he possibly said, what he possibly could say, that would merit a 30 day ban from Facebook. 

This just underscores how despicable social media is becoming. The behemoths of social media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, increasingly enforce thoughtcrime standards on us all, primarily suppressing conservative commentary. Even on my own page, the suppression is obvious. 

I often call for social media to be regulated like any other communications utility. More and more of us use social media as our primary means of staying in touch with everybody and everything on a daily basis. As much as I dislike Facebook, and I do dislike it, I still end up writing on Facebook everyday, for an artificially suppressed audience. 

That is partly one reason why I do it. Because to hell with them. They can suppress us, they can use their fake algorithms to marginalize our points of view, but they will never succeed in shutting us up. 

When Facebook bans somebody like Mike Yon for 30 days, they expose themselves, they expose their dictatorial values, and they confirm that they are unworthy of so much control. Who are these Silicon Valley idealists to impose their values on us? 

We disagree. We see our world another way. We are entitled to hold our views, we are entitled to express our views, and no Silicon Valley twerp will ever throttle us. 

My guess is that the disgust that I feel for Facebook will continue to grow, it will spread, more of us will feel it, and eventually, at some future point, that rejection will culminate in a great correction. 

They got it coming to them. 

This post was originally a rant on my Facebook page. 

Mike Yon and I walking off Soi 20 in Bangkok, 2017. 


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