I am a member of over a dozen Facebook horror groups…and I am very happy to be a member of each one. The groups are great places for horror lovers of all kinds, from everywhere on the planet, to share opinions, ideas and, of course, photos about everything related to horror cinema. Hundreds (and often thousands) of members of a single group can share their thinking, in a world where finding such like-minded people is not always so easy! Most of the groups, so far, have been wonderful about allowing the uncensored posting of reasonable material related to horror. However, there is a trending habit of some group moderators that is as disturbing as any of the scariest horror films I’ve seen–censorship of deep, intelligent thinking!
“Unbelievable,” you may say. “Why, for Pete’s sake would moderators censor deep thinking about a topic, in a Facebook horror group?” I have no idea, but, sadly, I have personal experience to prove I am correct. More than once, after posting a link to a very intelligent, professionally-written review or article of a definite horror topic, my post was deleted and/or I was banned from the group, without even an explanation as to what I had done wrong. After posting the link, and after being banned, I was also no longer able to even find the page listed, using the search function on Facebook. Yes! My post, my membership, and my search abilities were immediately terminated, without even a single warning. “Unbelievable,” you say again? “You must have done something more serious! Why would anyone do that?” Believe me! It’s true! To narrow things down, let’s consider the limited (albeit ridiculous) reasons as to why this would happen.
Is it because I am a repeat offender of another sort? Is it because I have, more than once, violated some rule of the group? Is it because I am spamming the group with my links, trying to sell things on my website, rather than purely directing members to my thoughts on horror? No, no, no! I always read the rules before posting in any Facebook group, and I have never done any of the things I mentioned in my questions, regardless of what the rules may allow by omission. Each time I post a link to an article or review, I always mention the fact that I wrote the material myself, making sure its relevance to the Facebook horror group or post is obvious. I NEVER even tag my Space Jockey Reviews Facebook page in the post, to avoid any misunderstanding of my intentions. I try to make it clear that I am NOT just trying to advertise my Facebook page and get more “Likes” myself. Does it help? Sadly, not often enough.
Unfortunately, there is yet another possibility that damages the integrity and reputation of Facebook horror groups even further, soiling the worthwhile mission some could otherwise have. Is it, perhaps, a fatal selfishness, wanting everything posted and accessed only within the Facebook group, to be read and reacted to only on the group page, with all discussions originating from nowhere else? Is it, perhaps, from a fear that out-of-group travel will take away from group traffic, for the brief time it takes to read a member’s opinion? Sadly, this could be possible. However, again, even if this is the reason, it goes back to the basic tragedy of resulting censorship…this time, with the added, childish motive of greed to keep information and opinions confined only to a particular page. This greed comes at the expense of excluding sources that generate discussion, express ideas, and support opinions. Facebook groups should not be run like Nazi bureaucracies, stifling free thinking and information sharing, banning people who simply offer a deeper, more detailed opinion. The fact is that I, just like everyone else, cannot post an entire feature article or review in a single Facebook post or comment. But, I can post a link to related articles and reviews I have written, where everyone interested can read my full opinion about it. Why should this NOT be acceptable? Unless group moderators are greedy about keeping everything (and the source of all opinions) on the page of their own group, why should they care? A review or article, written by a Facebook horror-group member, should be more than welcomed; it should be appreciated! If I had a Facebook horror group, I would love to have someone like myself posting links to relevant reviews and articles! However, is it greed that takes its toll on some moderators? Perhaps!
Maybe the Facebook culture has handicapped the human ability to want more than the typical one-sentence Facebook comment. Maybe, as humans, social media platforms have “dumbed us down” a little (if not a lot), making us less interested in reading more than short comments. Maybe “Check out this picture?” with replies like “Wow! That’s cool!” are all people want. Maybe “Liking” (or now “Loving”) things has become too easy, making us lazy, replacing our drive to explain or wonder why people think what they do. Maybe group moderators are just doing what they think members want, ironically insulting them (if not banning them or deleting their posts) more than satisfying them. Many times, after people ask “What do you think about this movie?” I post a link to one of my very well-thought reviews explaining what I think, covering many key points in detail, supporting my opinions with reasons and facts. The people who just comment with one-liners like “It was awesome!” get dozens of “Likes,” but the link to my review (if it is not deleted by a moderator) often gets not a single response, and not a single “Like,” as if it was never posted. Without trying to be arrogant, I ask myself questions as well: Is it because my review or article did not answer the Facebook post better than any of the one-sentence comments? Is saying “It’s cool” better than explaining yourself in detail? Being honest, I say NO! Being hopeful, I say that people still want more than such simplicity. While I don’t really believe moderators ban out-of-group links to satisfy what they think members want, I see, from experience, how they could use it as justification. I mentioned it, just to cover everything.
Fortunately, at the time of writing this article, MOST Facebook horror groups have been more than liberal in the freedoms they have given me, as a member. Banning and post deleting have, so far, not been the norm. I am a member of over a dozen Facebook horror groups, and I can say nothing but good things about most of them. For example, Shock Waves Horror Movie Club, All Things Horror!!!, The Horror Movie Cafe, Horror Everything, and many more have been awesome! However, this article was written with the trend of censorship increasing, one group at a time, eroding my confidence in the future, little by little. I will not include names of the groups with tyrannical moderators, only because some groups have names that are so similar (all but for the addition or absence of an exclamation point or period at the end of the name) that they could be unfairly confused. However, banned people, like myself, who do not speak out, may find all of the proverbial books (in this case, horror group freedoms) burned soon enough. Lessons from history are things I remember and take to heart. Even Facebook horror-group moderators want freedom to create, contribute, and share without censorship, but, privately, some deprive their group members of the same freedoms. Wow! For the moderators who continue to be fair to members, allowing contributions without censorship, I salute you! To the rest of you, stop being Nazis! The war ended over 70 years ago, and YOU lost! Keep banning members and their posts, and, soon enough, you may find that you have no members…mostly because no one wants to be a member. People communicate with one another in places other than Facebook horror groups, your group has a name, and word gets around!
Fortunately again, I have my own website (not just a Facebook group), where I can publish whatever I like. Fortunately, I own my website, I am the Editor in Chief, I call the shots, and NO ONE can ban me or delete my posts! My website is totally public and much more easily found and accessed than a Facebook horror group that isn’t generated in a Google search. I do not ban people or censor contributions like a Nazi, depriving people of freedoms I desire myself. I welcome links to off-site reviews, articles, and interviews that are related to the topic, whether they agree with me or not, regardless of their origin. To me, the free flow of information, ideas, and intelligent discussion is more important than a selfish, childish desire to keep all sources of knowledge confined to, and sourced from, my own website. When it comes to this, I have no vanity, no selfishness, no greed, and no ego. Bring on the horror from anywhere it exists! Link me and my visitors to whatever enlightens, informs, and challenges us to think, on my website or any other! Space Jockey Reviews welcomes everything and everyone–humans and aliens alike!