By Alex P. Vidal
“The seven billion people on the plane don’t give a fuck what you want. They want you to program code for cool video games, they want you hot young girls to do porn, and they want you guys to like go build engineering and other stuff to make their lives easier. And they want food… and they want it fast.” ― Aaron Clarey
IN March 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City where our community in Elmhurst in the borough of Queens became the epicenter of the world, Facebook “blocked” one of my two active blogs, alexpvidal.wordpress.com.
I noticed the major upheaval after I couldn’t post it on my Facebook page, which I have been regularly doing in the past.
The blog was blocked because I “shared something that goes against our Community Standards,” explained the social media’s “Help Center.”
When I checked, the story I wrote on my blog that day was about the “death of 17 New Yorkers every minute,” which had been reported in all the major media networks in the United States.
It’s purely based on facts, actual observations and interviews done on experts and authorities on the subject matter.
The story was neither manufactured nor doctored.
Facebook ostensibly considered the straight story based primarily on accuracy and facts as “going against their Community Standards.”
Highly debatable and atrocious, to say the least.
Interestingly, Facebook did not block the news websites that carried the same story; it did not block my other active blog, alexpvidal.blogspot.com, that accommodated the same story in toto.
It arbitrarily and blatantly singled out the particular blog without any due process.
If it wasn’t double standard, illogical and arbitrary, I don’t know what is.
Below is part of that story that triggered the snafu:
I went back to the petrifying Elmhurst Hospital in Queens amid a slight downpour Saturday afternoon and noticed that the area, where hundreds of people lined up for coronavirus admission in the last three days, was empty.
There were police cars and the tents placed outside to accommodate a horde of patients (from 200 to 400 a day the last week, according to reports) were still there.
Outside or near the entrance, everyone was coughing and apparently had breathing shortage.
A nurse had said earlier dozens of people with symptoms of the coronavirus were sent to sit on chairs in one unit because there were no beds available.
I decided not to enter the area where coronavirus patients were being treated when I sensed some people screaming.
I didn’t want to add to the burden of the front liners if my issues weren’t that serious.
Dr. Collin Smith, Elmhurst Hospital emergency room doctor, had exposed the eerie situations inside including the lack of tools needed for the “overflowing” Covid-19 patients.
Conditions at the hard-it hospital, located in the most ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhood, were so bad that it resembled a “war zone.”
There were shortages of both supplies for the medical personnel and beds for their overflow number of coronavirus patients.
The latest grim citywide statistics as of this writing was that New Yorkers have been dying at a rate of one every 17 minutes as 84 more patients died only on Thursday and Friday.
The deaths occurred as the number of positive cases and of those who are critically ill had climbed.
New York has become the epicenter of the country’s outbreak with 52,318 confirmed cases and 728 deaths so far.
When adjusted for population, that translates to roughly 269 known cases for every 100,000 residents.
But experts say those numbers don’t give the whole picture because many cases—including mild or asymptomatic infections—have not been diagnosed.
States have also approached testing differently. In our state in New York, where officials have been testing aggressively, the number of known cases is now doubling about every two days.
As of this writing, Facebook hasn’t “unblocked” my alexpvidal.wordpress.com blog almost a year and six months since the summary execution.
The giant social media platform hasn’t offered any explanation why it has continued to zero in on my active blog, which only reported the truth.
But they also didn’t touch with a ten-foot pole my other active blog, alexpvidal.blogspot.com, that has been carrying simultaneously the same stories I regularly wrote in the blocked alexpvidal.wordpress.com blog.
While Facebook has denied my social media readers the access to my blocked blog, they surreptitiously allowed and tolerated the mushrooming of low quality and ragtag pornographic short films on their newsfeed.
Every now and then, Facebook users are horrified to stumble on x-rated and kinky materials, regularly “seen” and “shared” by millions of viewers, and believed to have been deliberately inserted on the newsfeed when they scroll down the newsfeed.
Thus we find it outrageous and impossible for Facebook authorities to fail to monitor these licentious, prurient and morally reprehensible garbages, yet continued to censor blogs that try to promote a healthy discourse, provide regular news updates, and share relevant information to the reading public.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)