You've probably heard of the "Streisand effect" or at at least familiar with the general principle of the thing: the idea that, by trying to shut something down to avoid bringing attention to it, you are in fact bringing the very attention that you hoped to avoid. There's sense to the idea, not that most of us will ever find ourselves the subject of much attention or scrutiny. And yet, many that should know better fail to learn the important lesson that it's often better to simply let things go rather than given them oxygen.
Take Facebook, one of the most powerful companies on the planet and the target of considerable criticism over the years. Given its station, the company should recognize that they need not return fire on every critic or any, if we're to be blunt. For good or ill (and it's almost certainly the latter) Facebook answers to no one but itself.
Which makes its latest trademark case that much more curious. As Techdirt reports, in response to a website set up by a group calling itself the Real Facebook Oversight Board, the company has filed a trademark complaint against realfacebookoversight.com, citing phishing as the reason for concern. The aim of the group and the website, as the respective names suggest, is to draw attention to Facebook's still-lagging efforts to implement oversight when it comes to moderating content. And in that regard, Facebook is inadvertently giving considerable aid to the cause.
Granted, trademark news rarely makes it to the top of anyone's headlines, save for yours truly, but Facebook tends to make news whatever it does, and the more light it gives to the story, the more likely it is more outlets pick up on it. It doesn't make much sense for Facebook to take up this fight, regardless of the merits of the case which don't seem to be especially strong. Maybe that's entirely the point; maybe Facebook can take on whichever fights it chooses precisely because it's Facebook, the preeminent social media platform firmly embedded in our societies, for better or worse.
The Real Facebook Oversight Board isn't the only group critical of Facebook, nor will it be the last. The next batch might not offer an IP avenue through which they can be shut down. What remains to be seen is whether Facebook feels the need to respond at all.