I recently wrote that Facebook should be regulated like a utility, but maybe social media is more like an addictive, harmful drug than a utility. The companies that push social media on us are like drug dealers. Given my libertarian sympathies, adults should generally be free to use the drugs they want, but society should regulate promotion and distribution of the substance and protect children from being preyed upon by the dealers.

The real problem with Facebook's behavior is the revelation of its rampant institutional lying. In the XCheck story, we learned that after Facebook spent more than $130 million to create an Independent Oversight Board to oversee its content-moderation decisions, Facebook executives routinely lied to that board. Facebook told the Oversight Board that XCheck was only used in "a small number of decisions," even though the program had grown to include 5.8 million users in 2020.

"We're not actually doing what we say we do publicly," and the company's actions constitute a "breach of trust," reads a confidential internal review done by Facebook.
We also learned -- shockingly -- that the CEO and COO of the trillion-dollar behemoth are regularly involved in decisions of what posts to remove when such posts are made by certain people who are exempted from Facebook's community guidelines and content-moderation procedures. This is all while Facebook asserted that it applied the same standards to everyone.

Apparently, XCheck was created to mitigate "p.r. fires" or negative media attentions when Facebook takes the wrong action against a high-profile VIP. Even worse than the existence of the XCheck program was Facebook's dishonesty about it, reflecting the state of mind of a company that knew it was doing something wrong -- and still did it anyway.

These revelations strengthen the case that Facebook likely serves increasingly as the censorship arm of the US government, just as it does for other governments around the world.

That last sentence gets to the heart of the matter, and explains why collective action against social media dealers has been so slow: the elite class wants to control our speech, and is happy to use social media dealers to do it.

Facebook is soma.

What is soma in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley? In the context of the novel, soma is a recreational drug that several of the main characters take throughout the story. The government in Brave New World strongly encourages individuals to take soma as a way to increase the happiness and complacency of the population. Soma can be taken as a pill or as a powder and can also be released as an aerosol. It is freely available to everyone in the novel. Its inclusion in the text is central to the novel's themes of complacency and resistance in society as well as the theme of escapism.

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