Facebook’s Non-Discrimination Policy

Facebook is an internet service where you can advertise your life to people who pretend to be your friends. Facebook is a paradise world, where everybody is happy, smiles are everywhere, everything is inclusive and there are lots of cute little cats. This paradise is something like Venezuela, only instead of oil there are advertisement. They pay for it all. Specifically, targeted advertisement.

But there is a slight problem with “targeted”.

“Targeting” literally means “discrimination”. It sounds bad, but I’m not talking about the feeling, but the meaning. And discrimination literally is:

“the ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment”.

If you are selling something and want to make distinction between one group of people and another, you are targeting. For example, if your want to sell a video game to boys, you wouldn’t want to waste your money on advertising the game to women. Right? Right.

So where is the problem?

In a religion professed by Facebook targeting is a sin.

It’s all written in their new Non-Discrimination Policy, which every advertiser must accept from now on. The first commandment is: thou shalt not discriminate!

It’s a part of Facebook’s endeavor to create a grand new paradise, where everyone is colorless, sexless, ageless, heightless and nationless. A beautiful world where nobody is worse or better than anyone else, due to complete lack of differences. All are equal. And because they are equal, they are productive. And because they are productive, they are rich. And because they are rich, they are happy.

In other way, communism.

I’ve been reading this policy of Facebook for hours, and I still can’t make sense of it. Well, I come from Poland (don’t you discriminate me now), but is my English as bad as that? They have examples of what is holy and what is a sin in Facebook world, but I read it and read it and can’t see a difference.

Apparent, you are holy when you target, which is:

Targeting an ad for an apartment rental to people who live or work in the general area around the location of the listing.

But you are a sinner when you discriminate, which is:

Targeting an ad for an apartment rental that excludes certain ZIP codes with the intent to deny it to people of a certain race.

If you read it without the meaningless part “the intent to deny it to people of a certain race”, both sentences are… the same. Aren’t they?

In both cases you want to advertise your house only to people in certain areas. You point the areas by using ZIP codes. So what is the difference between the right action and the wrong action, if the actions are the same?

It’s either 1994 and we live in Orwell’s world or the key must be in that meaningless part: it’s about the intent.

It must be. There is simply no other option.

So it seams that Facebook is going to decide if we are good inclusive boys or bad exclusive boys not by our actions, but by our intent. Great idea. But how?

If you want to build a paradise, I guess you need some superpowers. One of them is Facebook’s ability to read in people’s minds. It’s the only way to be sure what the intent was.

So let’s assume I wrote an advertisement like this:

Young man is looking for a date.

Now I want to hide it from all men. Why? Because I happen to like girls as my dates. When Facebook gods see my targeting, they will know that my intent was pure and honest. I’m a heterosexual and can’t help it. Another victim of unequal world.

But when my homophobic friend happens to write exactly the same advertisement, the gods will know right away that his intent was to demonstrate his hatred towards gays. His advertisement was obviously a hate speech and mine was a voice of a victim.

Or hang on, maybe we are both sinners? Maybe our sin is this: in our endeavor of finding a young, beautiful girl, we are not inclusive! Because we discriminate all people who are old, ugly and male.

Should we all date anybody who wants to?

Next time when you advertise on Facebook, you better be inclusive! Because if you’re not, every targeting you try to do may be interpreted as a sin of discrimination. And remember: the only difference between social light and social darkness is your intent.

Ask yourself a question: do you trust in Facebook’s superpowers?

I don’t. My account on Facebook has been arrested several times already. And since I was never given any specific reason, and in most of those cases I couldn’t find anything I did to deserve the prison, it must have been my intent.

Here’s another example what Facebook excepts of you.

This is allowed:

Targeting an ad for a job as a salesperson to people interested in sales and marketing

This is not:

Targeting an ad for a job as a salesperson in a way intended to exclude women

Now, now. I’m sure we would all enjoy having an all-powerful, all-knowing nanny, who takes care of us and tells us what what is right. But I’m not 2 years old anymore, all right?

So I find it difficult to accept that I don’t have right to decide what I want to do with my life, my person and my property. It seems that I cannot limit my choices. I cannot make decisions that concern me without giving part of that right to other people. I can’t hire men, if I prefer to hire men. I can’t hire a woman, if I want to hire a woman. Is my company still my own if I’m limited in my decisions?

I guess there are good sides of living in paradise. But why would anyone want to have a company there?

It must be hell to run an enterprise these days, when you are forced to make deals with people not according to your own judgment, but on judgment of what is called “Facebook Community Rules”. You care for what is best for the company, because the company is yours. What does the “Facebook Community Rules” care for? You have to obey unclear, illogical directives made by anonymous, irresponsible people who risk nothing, because they have nothing. They dream of paradise, but they never pay for it. They make you pay for it. By rules that can be interpreted whichever way they like.

Ok, I get it. I understand how this world works.

So here’s my decision: I decide to be poor.

Yes! I want no responsibility, no companies, no decision-making. I want to accomplish nothing. And I want all the rights. I want to be given what I need and I want to be cared for. I want an instruction on my tea, telling me how to drink it so I don’t get burned. And if I do, I’ll say it’s still not my fault. I just wasn’t protected enough. I want to be like a little baby, happily screaming for protection and attention. Oh yes, what a bliss! I want to be a victim! A victim of prejudice and discrimination.

Protect me, protect me!

So tell me, isn’t life easier thanks to Facebook?


Facebook’s Non-Discrimination Policy was originally published in Completely Unprofessional on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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