Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Fight Over the Ground Zero Mosque on Facebook

Quotes are verbatim and may contain disagreeable language

As with the national press and populace, the controversy over the Ground Zero Mosque has spread to Facebook, the most popular social networking site on the internet.  Considering that much of President Obama's support during the 2008 general election came from younger voters, one may think that the Mosque would garner much favor.

However, heavily mimicking national polls (which say that 68% of Americans are against the building of the Mosque), Facebook groups against the proposed Cordoba building both outnumber and are more heavily joined than those in favor.  The largest group in favor of the Mosque, called "Yes to a Mosque NEAR Ground Zero," does not even have 1,000 members, instead having 929.

In stark contrast, there are multiple groups against the Mosque that break 1,000 people.  The largest has 8,395 members at the time of writing.  Other than members, further comparisons can be made.

Almost all of the groups, regardless of whether they favor the Mosque, state that they do not tolerate hatred or stereotypes.  Despite this, the actual content on their pages seem to differ.

"Yes to a Mosque NEAR Ground Zero" spends the majority of the first paragraph of its description decrying intolerance and generalization.  Then it hypocritically disregards what it had just written by stating:
Yes, we will never forget those we’ve lost, and yes we could never forgive those who struck us, but to allow ourselves to forget and racially put up a barrier around Ground Zero would be utter idiocy. 
The group also allows hate speech to stay in its comments, such as this:

"Yes to the Mosque Near Ground Zero," a different group than the other, makes a similar mistake as its fellow group by reporting numbers falsely, writing that "Hundreds of Muslims died on [9/11]."  While the loss of life was terrible, less than 100 Muslims died in the attacks.

In contrast, groups against the building of the Mosque are more tolerant.  For example, in the group "1,000,000+ people who disapprove of building a mosque at Ground Zero!" allows both those in favor and those against the Mosque to speak freely.  Those who support the Mosque are allowed to speak freely, such as this man:

While the creator and most of the members of the group do not agree with this person, it speaks volumes that he was not attacked, banned, or silenced for speaking his mind.

Like the national debate, the discussion on Facebook over this Mosque will likely go on for months.

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1 comment:

evergreen78 said...

When I first started doing the facebook thing, I would go to the Republican National Convention page. Unfortunately, what I found were a lot of trolls, such as the "muslim" whose comment you posted here. The most popular thread on the RNC page was regarding the legalization of marijuana (go figure), & it seemed that most of the commenters weren't old enough to buy it if it WERE legal, i.e., high school students.

What I have learned from facebook is the definition of the term "ad hominem." I have learned that very few folks on the Left have any real factual basis for their beliefs. They all repeat the same "talking points," & if you tell them documentable facts & statistics, they magically disappear. I have learned that the folks on the Right seem to be more articulate, polite, tolerant, & have better things to do than go trolling on Leftist pages just to say something mean.

Bottom line: I don't really pay much attention to what goes on at facebook, though it's a great way to keep in touch with family & friends who are states away.