Why Did We Delete the "Coronavirus COVID-19 is an act of war?" Openblog Post?

Few days ago a member of our Memefest social network has on our web site published an Openblog post titled "Coronavirus COVID-19 is an act of war?"

While we trust the good intentions of the author of the post, after discussing it in the Memefest collective, as well as after receiving feedback from our broader network members- we decided to delete the post.

The post did not meet our community standards as described in our user guidelines here: http://www.memefest.org/media/Memefest_Web_User_Guidelines.docx

What alerted us is the fact that the post dealt with highly sensitive material in a highly sensitive time when the whole world is struggling to find a solution for the devastating effects of COVID-19 and the tragedies related to it. The problem with the post was that because of the sensitive content is was not based on research and journalistic standards of presenting balanced diverse views on the topic. It was also problematic as it has used opinions of a medium known to have direct connections with far right social groups and was promoting a "documentary film" by this media outlet.

As much as we strongly advocate for open dialogue, such propaganda has no space on memefest.org. And while we encourage our members to publish diverse opinions and are definitely not expecting all posts to match standards of academic research or journalistic investigation, we do want to make sure that this remains a respectful space fostering dialogic culture.

While we do think everyone needs to be responsible for the actions we take, we would like to be explicit that we do not want to blame directly and personaly the author of the post! Far right propaganda is well designed to manipulate and is many times not easy to decipher. It uses our short attention spans and our imposed need to post and share things based on specific affects and emotional states. Such propaganda also uses the fact that the dominant social media culture is not dialogic, that people do not spend time to really deeply consider contents which are being circulated and the fact that likes and shares present the main currency of what should be read and seen. Such viral propaganda memes are designed to provoke quick, short, ill informed reactions.

We have deep trust in our community and it has to be said that since the launch of this website and the possibility for people to freely post Openblogs, this is the very first time that we are intervening and deleting a post.

This space remains an open space. We continue to trust our community but we will also react in the future if needed as we will make sure the community standards as described in our User Guidelines are being respected. This is a civilized place for public discussion. We would like to encourage everyone to continue to join the discussion and contribute to our dialogue on radical design + communication, including the author of the initial post.

Stay cool, stay safe and healthy. In solidarity, Memefest.


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4 years

I remember seeing the post appear, but didn't read it due to the sensationalised title of it. I've seen a lot of these posts appear around other blogs and article boards.

I think you should have left those post so that we may pull it apart here.

4 years

Hi Thomas, really nice to hear from you!
I know what you mean. We left the post online for a day and there were a couple of comments published. However after discussing the issue more we were of the opinion to delete it. The reason for this was mostly that it has crossed a line with the content aligned and even coming from a far right media outlet. As stated in Memefest's response, we do believe in the good intentions of the author of the post, but we also think that Memefest simply can't be a platform where such ideas can be granted space. It was the first time that this ever happened in 10 years since we have this web site. So, this is significant. But it was a good example, and its super important that we discuss it. I do understand the value of leaving the post so it could be "pulled apart here" as you say. We would do it, if we would not be of the opinion that even giving these ideas space on our website is not something we can support. I hope you are well. Would be good to talk more in the future and see if we could work on something together again!

4 years

Hi Oliver.

What strange times to be alive hey?!

I've sure we'll see more of these kind of articles pop up as things de-escalate.

Hope things are well with you.