Facebook: Purveyor of Hate
I am normally a big advocate of free speech. I can’t stand college speech codes, and the political correctness culture that demands a pound of flesh when someone violates its taboos drives me crazy. I’m all for calling out nonsense and even hate, but I have no use for silencing idiots and bigots. Let the marketplace of ideas consign stupidity and prejudice to the garbage cans and sewers where they belong.
Then there’s Facebook.
Facebook is an online community of hundreds of millions of people, but it is still a moderated public forum with some very specific rules that its users are expected to follow. In the “Terms and Policies” section of the site, we read this:
Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.
Now, you can object to this if you wish to, but if you do you are free to use some other social media site to post chili recipes and pictures of your dog. The fact remains that this is a relatively clear standard that can be enforced liberally without infringing too much on people’s posting privileges.
Lately, Facebook has been tripping over itself to ban or block conservative postings. For instance, the Washington Post reports that Fox Radio commentator Todd Starnes got banned for posting this innocuous message:
“I’m about as politically incorrect as you can get. I’m wearing an NRA ball cap, eating a Chick-fil-A sandwich, reading a Paula Deen cookbook and sipping a 20-ounce sweet tea while sitting in my Cracker Barrel rocking chair with the Gather Vocal Band singing ‘Jesus Saves’ on the stereo and a Gideon’s Bible in my pocket. Yes sir, I’m politically incorrect and happy as a June bug.”
Facebook has also been known to censor posts supporting the right to bear arms and criticizing President Obama, among other things. But Holocaust denial combined with gutter-level anti-Semitism are apparently okey-dokey.
I and several other people have reported the page “The Untold History” to Facebook, and this is the reply we got:
Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our community standard on hate speech.
Here is some of the stuff that doesn’t violate the community standard above:
Edifying stuff, huh?
So here’s the deal: I’d like to hold Facebook to account. If you’re a registered user, you can go to the page linked above, click on “Message,” and then go to “Report Page.” I want to flood the administrators with complaints, and shame them into following their own standards. To that end I’ve also put up a post on my own timeline (something I rarely do) asking my friends to join this effort. Other bloggers are going to join in, as well as other Facebook members, and the media is being alerted to this travesty as well (the Algemeiner has already picked up on this, and hopefully the mainstream types will pick up on this, too). If Facebook wants to be a free speech free-for-all, that’s fine. But if they are going to shut down any voices, “The Untold Story” and its sleazy companions, if any, should be among the prime targets.
UPDATE: A friend of mine on Facebook just let me know that after reporting the page, he received a response in less than 30 seconds. Apparently they’ve gotten enough reports that they’ve turned on their system’s automatic pilot. Keep up the heat on them. Oh, and I’ve decided to try to bring another kind of heat to bear: I’ve contacted a number of conservative bloggers, including the folks at Hot Air, to see if we can get some help.
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