By David Glenn Cox
One hundred years ago, Henry Ford was one of the most admired man in America. He was a Horatio Alger story; local farm boy makes good. Ford didn’t invent the automobile or the assembly line, he was just the first one to make it work successfully. Ford’s success made him noteworthy and the media began to ask his opinion. Certainly, if you know how to build a successful automobile company you must have the answers to all the world’s problems. Ford began publishing his own newspaper filled with racist and antisemitic tropes. Success led Ford to say, “Any color you want as long as it’s black.”
While Ford was punching out Tin Lizzies the competition was busy adding colors and features. It didn’t matter, the times were good, and they were selling cars. Then the Great Depression struck, and Henry Ford said, “Americans won’t do a good day’s work if they can get out of it.” In ten years, Ford went from one of the most admired men in the country as an industrial visionary to a symbol of everything wrong in our society.
Enter Mark Zuckerberg; he didn’t invent social media he wasn’t even the first to make it work. But Zuckerberg built the Internet Tin Lizzy. In July, Mr. Zuckerberg testified before Congress portraying Facebook as the second coming promoting our American values to the world. If he meant by that anti-trust, anticompetitive and monopolistic – Mission Accomplished! Zuckerberg like Ford knows only politicians can save them now. He curries favor with the Trump Administration and is invited to private dinners at the White House, a high honor normally only afforded to Russians.
Facebook refused to censor a Trump post, “When the looting starts the shooting starts.” A coalition of groups formed to boycott Facebook advertisers. The gauntlet thrown advertisers were forced to pick a side and there were other issues. Advertisers were not really concerned so much about the Boogaloo Boys or Q-anon Facebook pages. They just didn’t want their products advertised there. Mr. Zuckerberg took a hard look at the situation and told them, “Too bad.” Any color you want as long as it is black. Why don’t you call the other Facebook and see what they can do for you?
Gone are the Campbells soup ads and gone is Starbucks replaced by “Make Millions Doing Leather Craft at Home!” Every couple of weeks Facebook updates the rules for Facebook groups. Facebook strongly requests all group administrators approve all posts before publication. The most recent change a “Be Nice” oath before publication. Facebook has removed 1,500 Q-anon Facebook pages and put a pallor over Facebook. Groups can be banned over anything the boss man doesn’t like so administrators best take care in posting opinions.
I was banned for 24hrs for making a joke. There was picture of Eric and Eightball (Don Jr.) posted on a Facebook page about their possible criminal activity and I said, “You know how it is, all White people are criminals.” Making fun of the racist trope aimed at Black people. The algorithm isn’t set for sarcasm it is set for stun. “What else have you got to say about race? You got more? I double dog dare you! Good bad or otherwise, I double dog dare you!” Say Comrade, let us go down to the Soviet Café. The service there is very good, and the prices are very reasonable. There is nobody listening to us there, so we can have free and open conversation and talk about political things without fear.
The Boogaloo Boys will quickly reform as the Minnesota Poodle Fanciers Association on Facebook and speak in code. “I think BO is a big Poodle and someone ought to paint his toenails and give him a good trimming!” This is why we can’t have nice things. Like locking lug nuts the owner is the only one ever inconvenienced by them. My Facebook page is filled with left leaning Democratic pages posting the most radical Leftist posts from the likes of CNN, Newsweek and MSNBC. Calm down fellas! Sanitize and sanitize rinse and repeat. The same posts repeated on nearly every page. Becoming a Playboy Magazine for married men with the same centerfold in every issue and making Facebook about as exciting as a Model T.
Republicans, Conservatives, and crazy people now have their own Facebook called “Parlor” A sort of fifth grade classroom with the teacher out of the room. Free speech! Free speech! Say whatever you want no matter how ugly racist or convoluted. Orwell’s two minutes of hate now open 24hrs a day. It is stupid, it’s ugly and disgusting, but it’s honest. A racist may espouse the most hateful rhetoric without fear while I with my Leftist political views must watch my step. I could be accused of consorting with known Leftist radicals like Wolf Blitzer or Michael Smerconish.
Every business has a life cycle the point where they have reached the mountain top and start down the other side. After building a successful business, Henry Ford became its nemesis with his intransigence and unwillingness to accept change. “Who is the genius around here? It worked in 1920 why won’t it work in 1930?” Rules don’t work if you don’t want them too. Add enough rules and they have the opposite effect. I used to work for a corporation that like to hold organizational meetings with graphs and flow charts. They were jokingly referred to as “How to improve customer service by everyone not answering the phone for an hour.”
Facebook will survive like Lonesome Rhodes as a lower form of life. That place, where grandma goes to talk about macramé and her Siamese cats. Remembered fondly as pioneer from back in the old days. Admired like a 1950s orange juicer or a rotary telephone as relic from the past. Like Western Union or Railway Express, didn’t they used to be big? Social Media with minders is North Korea and has about the same future.