Did Facebook close down an artist for attacks on Zuckerberg?
As you know, Mark Zuckerberg definitely isn’t running for president of the United States in 2020. But if he were, posters plastered all over California saying “Fuck Zuck 2020” would be just the kind of thing that would make him really, really cross. Angry enough to shut down a Facebook account from a provocative street artist, though?
That’s the claim of Sabo, creator of the campaign, who posted on Twitter that “Today 8/13/17 the facist [sic] at Facebook unpublished my unsavoryagents fan page. Mark Zuckerberg will never be president.”
So is Mark Zuckerberg so thin-skinned that the artist’s page was taken down in response? Or does someone at Facebook think that their boss is so thin-skinned they had to take it down on his behalf?
Facebook’s moderation policies are opaque and inconsistently administered, so we’ll likely never know for sure. But if you wanted to look for work that would violate Facebook’s policies on hate speech, you wouldn’t have to go too far into Sabo’s back catalogue – which includes a fake poster for War for the Planet of the Apes with the text “BLM [Black Lives Matter]: Kill Whitey” – to find grounds for a ban.
Still, it’s hard to argue that the timing of the ban is a tad suspicious. The page had been up for some time without any action but suddenly goes down as Facebook’s CEO is lampooned for perceived presidential ambitions. Facebook’s moderation stance is inconsistent at best, and it has a hugely patchy record when dealing with hate speech. But if you paint a crosshair on your back by targeting Zuckerberg, you can’t be hugely surprised when Facebook moderators suddenly decide to take a greater interest in what’s gone before.
For Sabo himself, he claims he’s done with Facebook, which he equates to ghost-of-social-networks-past, MySpace.
Where next? Instagram!
Instagram is owned by Facebook. Currently, the “Fuck Zuck 2020” poster isn’t up on the photo-sharing app – if Sabo posts it and is banned again, then I think we can concede that Facebook’s CEO has a skin just thin enough to be “modern-day presidential”.