Letters – How Facebook Can Perpetuate Hate

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the EditorTHUNDER BAY – LETTERS – Facebook makes it all too easy to create divide in the community. Like any tool, it can be used to create or destroy. For the most part, the general community abides by social norms and uses it for day to day meandering in our generally simple lives.

What about the people who need us the most, those suffering and who live in poverty. Pages have surfaced locally on social media where an individual (it’s not known if they are local or not) has created a page to highlight the grim realities of people who seem have hit bottom. Looking at the content one would assume these people needed help. Anybody living in poverty, or suffering with addiction would need help. And yet, the focus of this page is to scrutinize, judge and condemn these people for what’s “dirty” in Thunder Bay, when in reality, the ignorant nature and cold attitude of the posts is what makes a stain on our city.

Keep in mind, we’re talking about people. Real live people with emotions, pain, loss, fear, hopes and dreams and who are from environments we may never understand. At one point the admin says it doesn’t matter what skin colour we are we should be treated equally, while simultaneously, treating a minority differently.

Interestingly, knowing the financial difficulty of these people, the admin posts a statistic and assumes the poorest of the population is purchasing the most alcohol. I don’t have the numbers, but I’m confident all groups of ethnicity and race purchase alcoholic drinks. Canadian culture is steeped in it.

So I asked the admin to remove the veil of secrecy and let their name be known for the stunning efforts in trying to make Thunder Bay a better place. In response, my comment was deleted and I was barred from commenting again. Maybe the part where I compared the page to a school yard bully who fights people who can’t fight back didn’t appeal to him. Maybe the request to show their true identity and be proud of their accomplishment put them on edge. After all, who would proudly stand up and say, “Hey beautiful Thunder Bay, I’m the admin of this page!” Thereby putting themselves under a judging eye and possibly suffering scrutiny for their own lifestyle.

Reporting the abusive content, racial profiling, and hate propaganda to Facebook was not effective. These derogatory images and comments do not violate their social standards policy. I question, is it a machine or man making those decisions?

So the page sits there, and as a tool, at the very least, I can see who likes the posts and photos, the people who support the citizen behind the computer screen of safety. The one sided page, diverting real issues, putting down any opposition, holding the paintbrush, what stays, what goes, paints a dark picture indeed. It paints a dark spot on our beautiful city with beautiful people, and yes, people who need our help, not our judgements.

John Lowe
Thunder Bay

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