In mid-2018, a member of a writers group noticed some similarities between how Facebook conducts penalties for social behavior and English author George Orwell's novel "1984." It was once required reading in many high school literary classes.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published with the title "1984", is a novel released in June 1949. The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of omnipresent surveillance and propaganda. Her query: "is Zuckerman utilizing Facebook for more than advertising and a marketing research source?"
In time much discussion within the group evolved an idea to test her theory. The group began aggressively applying memes of varying themes as Header Editorials or Response Comments.
Here are four examples of one issue of several social and political subjects presented:
Neither considered hate content by Facebook. Each posted several times in various Facebook groups with no punitive response.
This post is against Facebook's community standards. Penalty: poster given seven day exclusion from Facebook & Messenger activity. Note: a no-caption version was also posted but received no reaction. Average Facebook reaction within four postings.
This post is against Facebook's community standards and the poster given seven day exclusion from Facebook & Messenger activity.
After posting many times by several members, but in different Facebook groups, the memes on the Left were never challenged while the memes on the Right were eventually challenged as hate content and the member was sanctioned with an exclusion from Facebook and Messenger. Facebook sanctions appears to begin after a member posted more than once something that Facebook interpreted as "against community standards." To be succinct, the group came to the conclusion that Facebook does utilize a behavior modification method to subliminally change or manipulate public opinion.
Subliminal behavior modification is not new. In many store environments, underlying messaging in music directs customers' subconscious to not steal and to some degree, it is believed to work. In a study by North, Hargreaves & McKendrick 1999, researchers played music in a European market in New York. On days when German music was played, German wine outsold French wine. However, the reverse happened when French music was played.
Below is an example of sub-visual messaging. Anyone see the dollar bill in the lettuce? It is to subliminally promote that it is a value purchase.
Below is a post that was deleted and the poster excluded for two days, but the exclusion imposed was not classed by Facebook as a penalty but is clearly an attempt at behavior modification. Though a review was requested, Facebook did not respond and the two day exclusion was enforced.
Partial header art for Facebook group Antifa USA and is not considered a hate group. Two weeks after Facebook was notified, the header was changed to a group photo.
Click on art to see this Facebook page.
This photo "comment" was posted to a "border wall Go Fund Me" 'shared' post. No action by Facebook. Post remained for two weeks with many opposing responses. However, some opposing responses were considered "against community standards" and incurred exclusion penalties
Facebook did not consider the photos offensive but the caption was considered "against community standards." Here, click continue, and the "violator" has the option of deleting the post or closing the text box that results in deletion and an exclusion penalty. This "violator" deleted their post and received a warning.
If someone is constant in posting against community standards, their posts are challenged often and the FB member may be banned.
This post was reviewed after three days while the poster was suspended from FB activity.
NOTE: in consideration to Facebook, all participants in the study are established authors and have a Facebook page with the understanding they are only to post information about works or personal interaction. No political, social comments or sharing are permitted.
However, none of these posts were on the Facebook member's personal Facebook page but to Facebook venues appropriate to sharing the subject matter.