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Social Networks and Australian Reconciliation challenges


Let’s pretend this isn’t groups on Facebook but you’ve just spotted them on member created forums on your own little community.

Do your community “spider senses” tingle when you start to see groups with Gary Coleman and Nazi Swastikas all over it? And then -oh dear – you see the group is called…

we dont need to say sorry to the aboriginals… we did nothing wrong

Further investigation reveals other groups in the list…
… have you already started framing a post for the moderators forum, with a warning to go out over MSN Messenger or Yahoo!Messenger (or Twitter if you are cool enough)? Figured out how to ban people for stepping over the line (Swastikas are not part of ‘respecting each other‘ right?) without it seeming like a ‘political’ action? Deciding whether it needs a special post in the Announcements forum? Quiet Private Messenging with the Swastika members? Or an example?

Remember, a social network is not a blog. You don’t get to take partisan sides on a political issue. You can’t ban just because you disagree. This is a many to many (group) discussion. But those swastikas – and yes, I’ve heard before how they were misappropriated by Nazis, I’ve heard everything from misguided community members – have to go. Someone tell Facebook?

Or are you just going to rush over to see which of your friends belong?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

4 thoughts on “Social Networks and Australian Reconciliation challenges

  1. Wow…that is a really good question. What do you do? Facebook’s ToS does say:

    [You agree not to use the Service or the Site to] upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.

    I wonder if this group qualifies as any of those? And if Facebook thinks it does, I know its admins are incredibly quick at suspending and cancelling accounts. Let’s see how things go.

  2. Having different points of view is often healthy, particularly when both views are well-considered. However when people slag other people off for the sake of it (such as these Facebook groups do), is there any point in giving them more airspace than they deserve? If you read the comments that people are making on these groups, most of them make vast generalisations about Aboriginal people.

    Ameel has a great point. These groups are blatantly racist, that is, they are implying that one racial group is superior to another. I wonder what Facebook is doing about it, if anything, considering the groups contravene their user agreement.

    Back to Laurel’s point, if you are advocating for a group of people that is likely to be attacked by another group of people (and Indigenous groups are a good case in point here), it is wise to moderate so you can screen out abusive comments. There is a line between disagreeing on the grounds of opinion, and disagreeing on the grounds of abuse.

    Would love to hear what others think about this, a v. interesting topic …

  3. i say let them be racist if they want to be. So long as they’re not in others’ way, there is no problem. They’re just airing an opinion, no matter how distasteful.

  4. I disagree with Anonymous’ comments.

    I know the internet should be free and all, but I think if Facebook leaves these kinds of groups floating around, it just spreads hate. And social networks shouldn’t be about propagating or allowing the propagation of blatant discrimination against any group of persons. Like Priscilla says, these groups tread on some dark areas, that of abuse, it isn’t like some “I don’t care how comfortable crocs are, you look like a dumbass”, which in my opinion is relatively more light-hearted than the kinds of groups we are talking about, which we just KNOW are bad news.

    However, just because Facebook takes these groups down doesn’t mean the sentiments behind the groups disappear. That’s what I’m more worried about.

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