Drama Mommas: Social Media Groups Implode

Drama Mommas: Social Media Groups Implode

Drama Mommas: Social Media Groups Implode

The past months have been rough and full of drama for social media groups, no doubt. This private group started by moms living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is no exception.

UES Mommas is a typical moms group one would see on Facebook. The group welcomes all moms of Manhattan but as you can imagine, most of the discussions focus around Versace strollers and which prep school to start eyeing for a newborn infant. Life is rough. Especially when you break a nail and your nanny is not due to show up for another two hours. Real-world problems, you know.

The group is now facing backlash over its admins not adding a Black moderator to their group after some members called for more representation. UES Mommas had their share of Facebook fights before, having to close down the page temporarily in 2017 after a member and author posted about her children’s alphabet book, “P is for Palestine” which includes the below…the passage that started it all:

I is for Intifada, Intifada is Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or a grownup.”-“P” is for Palestine, Golbarg Bashi

That, as you can imagine, did not sit well with some moms of the UES. Moderators archived the group for a bit after things got a little too heated. Again, not the first go-around for UES Mommas. More drama before this- lawyers for two individuals in the group sent two cease-and-desist letters after other UES Mommas called them “racist”, among other names

The repeated reference to my clients as ‘racists’, ‘a racist’, ‘the racists’, ‘Nazis’, ‘white supremacists’, ‘white supremacy’, ‘a bully’, ‘real racists of the upper east side’ and threatening to add my clients to a twitter account that ‘outs racists’ are all statements which are actionable under New York State Law for Tortious Interference, libel and slander.

The posts that you have published have no basis in fact and are materially false and untrue. These posts have cast my clients in a negative light and have served to limit my clients’ free speech and to suffer the consequences of your repeated bullying, threats and continued harassment. Please be aware that such behavior is criminal and in violation of Federal and New York State laws.”-attorney, Yifat Schnur

The drama continued as Lindsey Plotnick Berger, the head moderator who is white, told fellow mom and group member, a lawyer by the name of Addy Spriggle, who is black and made the initial suggestion, that the leadership on the site “is what it is”. Berger and Spriggle both feel that the language coming in both of their directions was combative. Days later, two new moderators were added to the group. One African-American woman, one woman of Asian decent.

All of this momma drama begs the question-what should-or shouldn’t we say on Facebook or any other public social media platform these days? Should mob rule cause site moderators to cave in to demands? Should a discussion that focuses around racism only be represented by members of only one race? Should individuals be allowed their right to assemble and their right to free speech on a public domain without fear of a tongue-lashing from the mob and fear that their livelihoods or reputations are at stake?

Over the past week, tensions and the divide have created a deeper chasm in the social media community. I have seen more “I’m cleaning out my friends list” posts than ever before. I have not unfriended but admit, I snoozed my share of acquaintances for 30 days. I have seen mutual friends get attacked for providing simple, rational, respectful “agree to disagree” comments. Even safe, diverse spaces like Christian woman’s groups that I belong to have felt this tension. To wear a mask, to not wear a mask. To say “Black Lives Matter”, to say “All Lives Matter”. To say “protest”, to say “riot”. And groups are strong-arming like never before.. Heck, I’ve even been invited to groups I KNOW for a fact that I did not join. One of them was an activist group for acknowledging white privilege that included a questionnaire. I almost replied back to the group and asked if it was an all white group and if it was, isn’t that a racist construct that the group is trying to rid the world of? But alas, I refrained. What people don’t realize is that there is a bigger force jerking the chains of division from behind the curtain.

What a luxury we have that we can sit from the comfort of our homes and threaten from behind a keyboard! What a luxury we have time to argue our points-of-view on Facebook! What a luxury we have that we live in a country where we can voice our opinions on various platforms…as long as they are the right ones. The rest of those who may be sympathetic to a situation but not agree wholly (because they read the fine print) eventually may feel helpless and silent. Division is a strategy. So is silencing any and all opposing viewpoints-no matter how rational and respectful they may be-with noise, name-calling, shaming, offense, pointless platitudes and virtue-signaling. Drama is exhausting. Exhaustion is a strategy. And there’s a whole generation out there that cannot afford to have exhausted parents that are wrapped up in this drama and division. Just saying. A few things to think about, mommas, as you ponder the Tory Burch or the WalMart diaper bag today.

Photo Credit: FlickR/Creative Commons/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped

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  • nomen nescio says:

    Facebook’s behavior is bound by their claim of “platform” status under the Communications Decency Act of 1996. People putting places on the Internet that other people post to–like, for example, Facebook, or Derpibooru–can, under 47 U.S.C. § 230, choose one and only one status.

    Choose to be a PUBLISHER, then you get to pick and choose and censor what people post. It means you’re taking 100% full personal legal responsibility for what people post on your site. This means that if someone posts an mp3 of a copyrighted song on your page, the DMCA and their lawyers come after YOU, personally, and sue YOU, personally, for the copyright infringement.

    Choose to be a PLATFORM, then the rules are: strictly hands off, barring clearly illegal stuff like child pornography, threats of violence, DDoS attacks, and so on. The legal responsibility for what gets posted here is on the random Internet anons who post it, not on you.

    47 U.S.C. § 230 could not be more explicit. It’s one or the other. You don’t get to be a “publisher” when you want to censor political posts you don’t like, but a “platform” when people post copyrighted material and you can’t be bothered to act, but that’s exactly what Facebook and others do, and they’ve been doing it for years. Even the *chans aren’t safe. 4chan has been actively censoring and banning users for talking about GamerGate since shortly after the story broke.

    Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google, and others, are all in clear violation of 47 U.S.C. § 230, censoring political speech but refusing to deal with or even check for copyrighted material. They are in violation of law. The active, deliberate censorship of conservative/rightist material seems to have started as early as 2005-06, when Youtube started taking down anti-abortion material, but now they admit to it openly and dare the Attorney General to enforce the law. They don’t think he’ll call their bluff. I hope they’re wrong.

    • GWB says:

      I’m going to disagree that they don’t even check for copyrighted material. They will scrub your account in a heartbeat if someone makes a DCMA claim – no matter how stupid or unsupported by the law. And they have been known to go after things on their own, on occasion.

      And, of course, the ‘platforms’ defend their actions by claiming “but this is clearly dangerous and some of it is violent,” and such. It’s primarily malarkey, but it’s well-defended-by-lawyers malarkey.

      I certainly would like to see some AG go after someone for censoring in their position as a ‘platform’. Or, simply demanding they follow election law with their support for a certain brand of candidates.

  • GWB says:

    Should individuals be allowed their right to assemble and their right to free speech on a public domain
    A public domain? Pfft. These places are specific, private, tainted domains. And they should not be afforded the protections of “public domains”. They are channels of media, just like NBC or CNN or Showtime.

    I almost replied back
    You really should have. You can’t get the burned crust off the bottom without stirring the pot.

    Your entire post is why I refuse to join FarceBook or Twatter or any other social media. It’s a vile cesspit, and I would prefer not to get any on me.

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