Most of the spam I receive is so stupid that it’s almost worth reading, just for laughs. However, very little of the spam sent to me ends up in my in-box. The good folks at Gmail provide users with filters, so they can choose what they want and don’t want to receive. I’m not a techie, but I’m sophisticated enough to take care of myself, especially since the instructions to create a filter are so simple. Gmail, of course, is not the only email provider to so empower its users.
Facebook also allows its users to filter out mail from other users. Facebook is now, however, taking steps that will allegedly eliminate spam and will hurt animals—in fact, animal rescue groups report that the damage has already begun. Animal rescuers, animal shelters, animal welfare activists, and people who love animals rely on social media to get the word out about animals that are available for adoption, especially those in imminent danger of being murdered (aka “euthanized,” “put to sleep,” “slaughtered”).
CeliaSue Hecht, in Have Dog Blog, Will Travel, reports that “numerous animal rescue/animals lovers and groups…have been accused erroneously by Facebook for posting spam and ‘irrelevant’ content and disabled for 15 days. We have been posting and cross posting about animals that need rescuing from shelters and owners trying to find new homes for these animals. This is NOT SPAM NOR IRRELEVANT!!! These postings have helped unite pets with owners and obtained NEW homes for pets and SAVED ANIMALS LIVES!!!” Penny Eims, in an examiner.com article titled “Facebook and the death of networking,” states, “Lost dogs are found - death row dogs are saved - long term fosters are finding homes...networking saves lives. It is neither irrelevant nor ‘spam’.” Penny also supplies addresses to contact various Facebook departments by email. There is a Facebook page protesting these actions by Zuckerberg and company, "Facebook, don't suspend our animal rescue accounts".
Nearly every day I cross-post items about adoptable animals, and I often post links to stories about particularly egregious cases of animal abuse. Sometimes the stories are disturbing, so I ask my Facebook “friends”—if they are disturbed—not to unfriend me, but to click on the little box that appears when the cursor rests on the upper right corner of a status update, and choose “Hide all by Bob.” Doing this will stop my status updates from appearing on their home pages.
Now if I know how to do this, the big shots at Facebook also know how to do this. Instead of suspending people involved in humane acts, they would be doing their members a greater service by reminding them that they have control over what appears on their computer screens, and allowing the good works to continue.
In fifteen days, thousands of animals are killed at shelters across the United States. It is heartless for anyone—person or corporation—to contribute to the slaughter by prohibiting those interested in saving animals from trying to do so.