LM, Episode 684, 10/18/21, Facebook Needs a Sense of Humor

Recently my comedian friend, Mike Preston, wished his grown nephew a happy birthday and posted a picture of the nephew when he was a kid riding his bike.  I commented, “I ran over that kid and his bike this morning. If I’d known it was his birthday I would have swerved.”

Apparently that violates Facebook’s Community Standards.  I got an email and the post was taken down. 

That same week we learned from a whistleblower, Frances Haugen, that Facebook’s  algorithm polarizes people by spreading hate and misinformation and that 2/3rds of young women using their Instagram app feel it hurts their body image, all in the name of profits.

In the book Work As a Spiritual Practice, Lewis Richmond explores the Buddist’s teaching of right work or right livelihood.  This involves being aware of the consequences of our work and making changes to it when we know our work hurts others.  My work is helping people learn and experience how laughter matters in reducing stress and building profitable organizations, but there have been times I have learned my comedy has hurt others because as Elvis Costello wrote in his song, The Comedians, “It’s always something cruell that laughter drowns.” And, even though it may have been funny, I have stopped doing the material because I don’t want my work to hurt others.

On today’s Management Monday, I would hope you join me in being aware of the consequences of our work and making changes when our work hurts others.  If we don’t do the right thing with masks and vaccines for our employees we are contributing to other’s deaths from the virus.  If we don’t stand up against the lies the former president is spreading about the election, we could lose our democracy.  And if we are excessively contributing to global warming, we could lose our world.

As far as Facebook goes, they allowed me to appeal their Community Standard’s decision.  I wrote, “I’m a comedian.  If you will check his profile, you’ll see Mike Preston is also a comedian.  What I wrote was what we call a joke.  If you really thought I had run over a child, I’d hope you’d call the police instead of sending me an email and taking down my post.  From now on, when i feel compelled,  I will go old school and call Mike on the phone to tell him my joke because at least NSA has a sense of humor.”

Have a great week and always remember laughter matters.