Following the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, FL, the Conference of Grand Masters’ (CGMNA) Social Media and Internet Use Committee has released a new Chrome Plugin which developers have named "West Gate."
“West Gate is designed to block intolerant content on a number of social media platforms,” explained Jim Tranor, CGMNA’s Chief Social Media Director. “We will also be updating the list of intolerant or offensive post types on an ongoing basis.”
West Gate uses language cues to block content that the user finds offensive. Some default terms will be included, with options to add anything linked from a list of offensive websites. When terms or phrases posted on a social media platform fits the criteria, a picture of a wall with a closed door will replace the content. The user then has the option to click the door to see the offending content or to ignore the content which has been flagged as Masonically offensive.
Highlighting the problem found within social media and the way Masons interact with each other, as well as how each Mason presents himself to the public, Tranor was upbeat. “In Masonry, we teach the basic rule of tolerance. Most of our founding documents focus on how to bring men of different faiths together to promote harmony. But, we are also dwindling in membership. Letting even one Mason drop for non-payment of dues affects all of our Grand Lodge members’ bottom lines. Those two goals, to retain members who may leave if told to stop posting offensive content, whether they be religiously insensitive, homophobic, or racist, as well as to retain those who, like most Americans, find those ideas to be offensive, can be competing at times. We wanted to design something that would allow all Masons to co-exist peacefully."
The browser plugin will be paid for by inserted and pop-up advertising. “We’re very excited to be introducing ad revenue to this plugin, as well," Tranor said. "It means that we will be able to keep updating the list of offensive content, and ensure that our users stay happy.” Some of the early advertisers include Breitbart, Russia Today, Make America Great Again (Donald J Trump 2016), and the Knights Templar Magazine.
-The Honorable Reginald Farquar, XVI°