Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Facebook Terms of Use Violation- @SarahPalinUSA

Sarah Palin's massive new media empire is facing closer scrutiny with the pre-publication leak of a former aide's memeoir. Wonkette picked up on a second facebook page controlled by Sarah Palin, a violation of Facebook terms of use:
Maintaining multiple accounts, regardless of the purpose, is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use. If you already have a personal account, then we cannot allow you to create business accounts for any reason. You can manage all the Pages and Socials Ads that you create on your personal account.
One would think that Sarah Palin's followers and extensive pull in the traditional and rightwing media outlets would be enough power for her, but here she is resorting to an illegitimate doubling of her capacity to influence the social media world with a second account. A normal person only needs one facebook account, but Sarah Palin thinks that she deserves special treatment.

This position is totally consistent with Palin's support for the Citizens United decision, which essentially provided additional political speech power to wealthy investors that is unavailable to 98% of Americans. The Republican notion that the wealthy, or powerful deserve special protections is logically extended in this instance to the social world. Facebook explicitly prohibits this type of activity, yet Palin feels that she is entitled to her second account. While the powerful have carefully ensconced the legitimacy of their disproportionate access to political speech in constitutional discourse (equating campaign expenditures to political speech), Sarah Palin's facebook violation displays the selfishness and elitism behind the Republican idea that their voices deserve more volume than yours.

The Koch Brothers have a type of distributed speech multiplier analagous to a person with dozens of facebook accounts manufacturing artificial buzz. The Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity is running an ad in Wisconsin in support of Walker's plan to take bargaining rights away from public sector workers. While only 33% of Americans support Governor Walker's bill, 100% of the tv ads that air tonight will. Of course, had the Koch brothers only given money or organized one group, this would be analagous to Sarah Palin's main facebook account, a single identifiable source of information. The ancillary groups (or Palin's alter ego, Lou Sarah) form the potentially abusive network of puppet speech agents. The millions of dollars in unregulated and unacknowledged funds that fund Tea Party organizer trainings, think tanks, lobbyists, and astroturf campaigns all work in concert, unidentifiably being operated by the same user. We accept this arrangement in the political arena. Mark Zuckerberg prohibits it. Perhaps because this arrangement feels creepy, or unfair, or invites abuse.

The asymmetry between one high-profile account and a normal one is large, and a coordinated series of profiles adds even more advantage. Of course, shutting down relatively disadvantaged speech goes too far.

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