FaceBook Enacts Witch Hunt — On October 16th FB demanded I put my “real” name on my personal account. At that point I had to make a choice — ditch over 4,600 people on my personal account and 17,000 followers by refusing, or change my name. If I did not change my name — right then and there — I would be booted off FaceBook. Most frustrating, there was no contact information to argue the point. I know that there are several people who count on my daily posts, and I felt it was my responsibility to continue — so, I sighed, put my real name in the box and hit the button.
Once I was cleared to get into my own account, I posted that I had been hit by the FB Troll (someone who indicates you are not in compliance with company policies — and in this case, the newly enacted policy that you can’t use an undocumented name) and that I would contemplate what I wanted to do about it. When I came to the realization that many magickal people had gone through, or are going through this same problem with FaceBook, it became evident to me that something very evil was definitely brewing. Realizing that I alone was not being affected, that hundreds of people were experiencing the same difficulty — I decided to stand my ground and fight.
In the meantime, I asked any magickal folks on my personal page to “unfriend” me if they were using their spiritual names so that they would not be targeted. I also changed my settings in an effort to protect my friends.
As of today I have been unsuccessful in contacting FB. The company has pulled telephone access to the general public and provides no contact information that I could find. They want to use the public; but, they have insulated themselves against that public.
Over the last week I’ve received many e-mails and posts about individuals who have been targeted — radio show hosts, tattoo artists, writers, singers, Native Americans, etc. — not just magickal people; but, many others as well. But, more worrisome? Many of the individuals indicated they fought FaceBook and lost, that the experience was painful and upsetting, and that they were treated unkindly by FB employees. One woman won by getting her attorney involved, and then was targeted a second time. We have a bigger issue here — a corporate entity that uses people and their personal lives as a product, and who feels they can dictate the lives and choices of those same people. They have no right to do so. Yes, it is a free service. Yes, all internet involvement is a risk. However, with anything any of us do — we have a responsibility for what we create. FB is purposefully putting the safety and security of individuals at risk — and that is unconscionable. Not only that, they have no respect for those of us who fall into subculture or sub-groups (musicians, artists, writers, LBGT community, and the minority religions). Put bluntly — if you don’t fit the model — the FaceBook model — you are undesirable and must be made to conform.
One argument I’ve heard is that the original FaceBook platform indicated one must use their real name — however; times have changed since the birth of FaceBook, and you happily accepted the throngs that migrated from other social networks to yours without enforcing your own rules. FaceBook today is a far different animal than when it first started, and therefore requires adjustment in a way that fits its tremendous growth without sacrificing the privacy of its users.
The excuse that once your “real” name is on your personal page that you can adjust your settings to private and therefore be ensured of your safety is ridiculous. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is safe on the net. Ever. The human condition adores a secret — it never rests. Gossips never cease. Hackers will never quit. Stalkers will continue to stalk. Religious zealots will keep up their harassment and discrimination tactics — and FaceBook? You just let that door swing wide open. Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans are still targeted today — and you just declared open season on them.
I agree that an attempt at protection on the net is necessary — but, rather than using the public to rat on each other by pushing a button, why not require a form that is private (sic), still allowing the individual to use whatever name they please on their personal page? To ask for a drivers’ license, marriage certificate, social security number, paycheck stub, etc, (which is what FaceBook is doing) is unconscionable! A free service wanting valuable and private information? For what? You are not a bank, the government, nor state service entity. You, nor your employees, have no right to view any of these private documents, let alone keep copies of them. You are a corporation — making money freely on your product –
which happens to be us — the general public — which you are getting for FREE.
Free to use the data you collect for target advertising, for growth in revenue, and statistical analysis that can even move into the realms of the study of human behavior and psychology, let alone tuning to the amazing marketing information that even someone as small and as insignificant as myself can see. You are sitting on a gold mine — and you want to increase it.
Gold mines do run dry.
As an aside, I have very much enjoyed reading the feed (which is not available on a professional page) of my fans and readers on my personal page. I know when they are sad, hurt, angry, or in need. I know when their pets pass away, when a family member falls desperately ill, when they marry or give birth to a child. I value this window into the lives of my friends — it allows me to celebrate their triumphs and to mourn with them when death takes a beloved soul. And for each and every one? I pray. That’s right, I sit at my computer and I ask that whatever runs this universe to smile down upon them — to give them laughter, to give them joy, to give them hope. I can’t do that on your Professional page. You want to force me to be clinical, to be business-like, to once again…fit your model. I don’t want to give up this connection with my “friends”.
I wrote to you once (when you could actually do that) asking that you up the cap of friends (you can only have 5,000 on a personal page). I gave you sound business reasons for doing this.
Of course, you never answered.
I changed my name thirty years ago for religious purposes and to protect my family. Only three people in my life ever use my given name. Three. Just three. Everyone else calls me “Silver RavenWolf” and that is who I shall continue to be. Yesterday, I had to un-friend my own husband on my personal FaceBook Page so that he would not experience discrimination on his job. Protecting me FaceBook? Protecting your pockets and padding your bank account is more like it. To my FB Friends, my friends on Twitter, Instagram, Linked-In, and Tumbler, WordPress — please sign the petition if you find it in your heart to do so. If we stand together? We can make a difference.
Tis the Season of the Witch — They think we don’t really matter…that we have no power…that we are a silly minority that dresses in black and prances around uttering gibberish and baying at the moon. Let’s just show them how plain our words can be — sign
and share. Share, share, share this article.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. ” – Edmund Burke. I’d like to amend this a bit — “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good Witches do nothing.”
Please make a difference. So be it.
Silver Ravenwolf, popular Llewellyn author, has written over 21 books on the subjects of Witchcraft, Wicca, Pow-Wow, Angels and Magick. She has extensively toured the United States, giving seminars and lectures about magickal religions and practices. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the US News & World Report and appeared on the A&E Biography channel as an expert in Witchcraft and Wicca. Silver is the Tradition Head of the Black Forest Clan that includes 100 covens in 19 states, Canada and Italy.