A Facebook feature launched as a gesture of unity over the Paris terrorist attacks is instead dividing the world on the basis of grief and loss.
Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform introduced a French flag filter to go on top of users' profile pictures in the wake of terrorist attacks by the Islamic State group in Paris that killed 129 people.
Just minutes after the option was made available, millions of users from different countries superimposed the Tricolore in solidarity with France, paying their respects to the victims of the tragedy.
It is indeed a heartwarming initiative by Facebook, however, not one the world needs right now.
Commemorating tragedy in one particular region or country is greatly unfair to people suffering similar atrocities and massacres in other parts of the globe.
Hours before terror struck Paris, a pair of suicide bombings rocked southern Beirut on Nov. 12, killing 43 people and leaving at least 239 others wounded. It was one of the worst attacks to hit the city in decades.
Innocent blood was also spilled on the streets of Lebanon. The attacks there were also carried out by ISIS.
But there were no special filters introduced for the Lebanese flag. And perhaps, there shouldn’t even be one.
Not for any country in particular because providing this option would inadvertently create an ugly competition of mourning between nations who share the same enemy.
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Here’s a question for Zuckerberg: What about the people who condemn both the attacks in Beirut and Paris — who condemn attacks on humanity?
What filter does Facebook suggest for them?
Let’s take his own Facebook profile picture as an example:
A lot of people are assuming the Facebook’s co-founder doesn’t care for the 43 lives that were claimed in Lebanon. And while that won’t be the case, obviously, the complaints are legitimate.
“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog of the special tributes for Paris. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”
At a time when people all over the world are feeling vulnerable, the introduction of such divisive tools on an online platform which exerts considerable influence on the masses is not just unnecessary, it’s nonsensical.