I find this whole thing puzzling and disappointing, but yesterday, the Somerville News Facebook profile posted a status update criticizing UMass for shutting down after the earthquake. I expressed an opinion opposing that criticism, but I don’t think I did it in an antagonistic manner. Approximately one minute later, I found myself unfriended. Now, because they use a Facebook profile instead of a page (probably against Facebook’s TOS), I can no longer view nor access their posts. I find this a little disturbing and I hope they reconsider approaching issues in this manner in the future. I regularly post criticism on the pages and profiles of the local Fox affiliate, the Boston Herald, and the New York Post, and they have yet to censor me in any manner. I think discourse is extremely important for intellectual and political growth for all of us. I like reading opposing views and I like engaging with people who have opposing views. Perhaps my enthusiasm for such things is not shared by everyone.
(I have been covered in various capacities by the paper before: Mummified Squirrel National Park, MJEML at ArtBeat, so I appreciate that and I am not intending to force ill will upon them, but I don’t think this action was appropriate.)
I sent them this message via Facebook and e-mail, but have not received a reply yet, so I am posting this publicly, at least for the moment:
“I was a little disappointed today to find myself unfriended for disagreeing with an editorialized status update (regarding UMass closing). I wasn’t antagonistic nor was I trolling. I was expressing an opposing view. In fact, my view was what I think would be perceived objectively as the depoliticized view, whereas the status update posted expressed what I could only describe as an opportunistic anti-government dig. I hope that you encourage open discourse and choose to do better for yourselves in the future. I can no longer read your Facebook updates, so I guess I won’t know much about what you’re covering anymore.”
Update 8/25 – apparently, the entire thread has been removed.
Here is the original Facebook thread
(this link will only work if you are friends with them):