Flagged for deletion: Why tech companies shouldn’t ban racist flags

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Yesterday, Apple began removing iPhone games featuring the Confederate flag from its online store. That followed announcements by Amazon and eBay that they too had banned the Dixie flag from sale. 

All this flag banning, of course, is a response to the murder of nine people in a South Carolina church by Dylann Roof who was pictured online holding the flag. Or, more precisely, it’s a response to the social media outcry that followed the revelation (to the rest of the country, at least) that South Carolina was still flying the flag over its state capitol. 

Internet law compels me at this point to make clear that I do not own, and have never owned, a Confederate flag. As I child I did have a die cast model of the General Lee, but I was careful to only play with it ironically. My “Yeeeee-Haaa!’s” were lackluster at best. The fact that Roof’s sickening crime has prompted the lawmakers of South Carolina to declare they no longer want their state to be defined by a racist flag can only be a good thing. Ideally the state will also urgently clarify its opposition to spelling “Dylann” with two n’s, but let’s not run before we can walk.

With those disclaimers out the way, there’s plenty that makes me uncomfortable about the ban…  

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Facebook Testing Ability for iOS App Users to Schedule Deletion of Posts

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ChooseExpiration650Facebook is testing a new feature in its flagship iOS application that appears to be inspired by similar capabilities in messaging apps such as Snapchat, if not by classic television series Mission: Impossible: Users who are part of the can schedule the deletion of their posts in advance.

The Next Web reported on the test, and the social network confirmed it to The Next Web, saying:

We’re running a small pilot of a feature on Facebook for iOS that lets people schedule deletion of their posts in advance.

According to screenshots obtained by The Next Web, users can choose from a range of one hour to seven days, and The Next Web cautioned users that even though deleted posts will disappear from their Timelines, they may be visible via offline backups and logs for up to 90 days.

Readers: Would you like to see Facebook roll this feature out?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Screenshot courtesy of The Next Web.

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