I argued on Saturday that the removal of the facbook page for AoA would have deleterious blowback (although I didn't say it that way), and here's your proof.
They started a fresh page. All those thousands of comments that were there, on the record so to speak, are gone. They get to recast themselves as the victims who just want to help folks, instead of people who spread misinformation or outright lies about public figures and their very private family members. The hatred, the sheer lunacy, those are gone. And this, this comment above is what people are seeing. They look so harmless.
Now, we know, readers, from having waded through the filth, that this is not what Age of Autism is about. If it were, we'd all be lined up behind them.
And it just doesn't look good, does it? Folks who don't know the backstory will read tweets like these:
See, the victim here appears to be AoA, and anyone not aware of who and what AoA posts will be prejudiced to think of them as the victims in this. And the worst part is because there will be things that corroborate AoA's arguments.
This is a loss for those who oppose the misinformation, flat-out false information and ridiculous rhetoric that AoA puts out on a daily basis.
AoA gets to set up its brand new page claiming victimhood, and anyone with fresh eyes looking at this will see that there were a series of events and pages trying to get AoA censored (yeah the name's changed now, but it can still be found through the original event name).
People have a thing for the underdog. AoA will work that innate tendency to its benefit and tho the autism community's loss.
It is far better to point out their inaccuracies, to fight misinformation with information, to offer support to individuals instead of censure, than it is to wage an all out scorched-earth policy war, because what we should be trying to win here are heart and minds. We should be trying to reach people, to show them that fringe groups have nothing to offer them.
No, we aren't going to win over those who believe the most fervently that there's a conspiracy and Wakefield's a saint, but we might have reached some of those moderates whose sympathy is going to be aroused by the call for censorship of AoA.
Engage our opponents but do it so that they don't come out smelling like roses. There were nearly two years worth of comments, discussions, links on that facebook page that made who they were abundantly clear. And that's gone.
And that, my friends, is no victory.