March 23, 2017

August 14, 2013


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.

UPDATE: To those of you coming to Stand Firm from Powerline and Protein Wisdom, welcome! Have a look around…then get on Facebook’s case.


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24 comments

[1] Posted by Fr. Dale on 8-14-2013 at 06:43 AM · [top]

Fr. Dale, I can certainly see that as an option. I’ve found Facebook to be an excellent tool to reconnect with people with whom I’d lost contact, but there will come a time when the cost is too high, I’m sure.

[2] Posted by David Fischler on 8-14-2013 at 07:12 AM · [top]

David, I hope you will report here on whether this campaign is successful.

[3] Posted by Katherine on 8-14-2013 at 07:21 AM · [top]

I reported it as hate speech directed towards a race or ethnicity rather than a religion (you have to choose).

Let’s see how long it takes before links to SF pages get reported.

[4] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 8-14-2013 at 07:42 AM · [top]

Thanks, UP. Katherine, I definitely will.

[5] Posted by David Fischler on 8-14-2013 at 07:45 AM · [top]

I created a facebook page, quickly figured out there was a reason I hadn’t stayed connected to old schoolmates, realized how much personal information was there, couldn’t get the page set to private, and was OUT OF THERE. 

Good luck on getting the lefties to act equitably. I am glad to see that the hate for the Jews is coming more clear, so that we can take sides.

[6] Posted by Words Matter on 8-14-2013 at 08:22 AM · [top]

I tried the ‘hate’ speech choice.

“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.”

[7] Posted by Katie in Georgia on 8-14-2013 at 08:40 AM · [top]

I also tried “mislabled” as it claims to be a “non-political” site.  Keep us posted, David.

[8] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 8-14-2013 at 10:19 AM · [top]

OK, I reported the page.  Bizarre. 

I have been on FB for several years, and enjoy the opportunity to stay in touch with classmates, cousins, and distant friends.  I have a FB friends w/ a wide variety of political viewpoints, and they post; some of the views expressed, left and right, are fairly strong—certainly much stronger than Starnes’ Cracker Barrel post.  Perhaps he was “targeted.”

[9] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 8-14-2013 at 10:31 AM · [top]

Page reported.

Keith Töpfer

[10] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 8-14-2013 at 10:51 AM · [top]

I think I’ve figured out the liberal thought process on this matter.

Hatred of Jews = vile anti-semitism

Hatred of Jews + reference to the Palestinians = enlightened political discourse

The takeaway for neo-Nazis and their ilk is that if they sprinkle a few pictures of Al-Dura and references to “Israeli occupation” around their message boards, their racist rants become bold human rights advocacy.

[11] Posted by Ecclesiastes 1:18 on 8-14-2013 at 11:55 AM · [top]

It has now been eight hours since I received an email from Facebook that it had “reviewed my report” of his Hate Page—and the page is still up.  Guess they still trying to decide what to do.

[13] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 8-14-2013 at 06:42 PM · [top]

Congratulations, David.  You just got reinforcements.  A link to this post is up at the “Picks” on the Power Line Blog.  They have an audience.  With any luck people will be inundating Facebook to take this ugliness down.

[14] Posted by Katherine on 8-14-2013 at 07:21 PM · [top]

Reported

[15] Posted by Nikolaus on 8-14-2013 at 08:26 PM · [top]

Reported.

I believe what #11 said about sprinkling in a little pro-Palestinian stuff will justify it in liberal minds to not be hate speech but rather a justified political statement.  Therefore it will not be removed from Facebook.

[16] Posted by BillB on 8-15-2013 at 09:33 AM · [top]

#16 BillB - I objected to it as “mislabled” because their cover says “non-political.”  So their Palestinian jones shouldn’t be acceptable.

[17] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 8-15-2013 at 10:15 AM · [top]

Have you see the new You Tube”?

[18] Posted by Jackie on 8-17-2013 at 09:32 AM · [top]

Oh #18 Jackie, that’s a new one on me.

[19] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 8-17-2013 at 10:11 AM · [top]

Yes, Facebook definitely monitors you.  A few months ago I got on my page a post by a pastor friend in California saying he had posted on his blog an article about there being no scientific evidence that homosexuality is genetically determined and that gays can leave the lifestyle with the help of Jesus.

I posted a reply to him to say to be prepared for his blog to be overrun by gay activists posting hate comments.  No bad words in my message, no aspersions, just stating what had been my observations from looking at the response to similar articles posted on the web.

Within two hours, my comment had been removed, and replaced with “This message is no longer available because it was identified as abusive or marked as spam.” 

I assume activists are being paid to monitor Facebook, just like they monitor other sites like Christian Post and try to scream people down.  (Am glad to see however, that Christian Post has recently taken action to remove many of their atheist and gay activist troll posts.

[20] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 8-17-2013 at 01:33 PM · [top]

[21] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 8-23-2013 at 07:59 PM · [top]

Sorry, I tried, but your article doesn’t explain how to complain. And as to the link that I think took me to the offending site, how does one tell if it is there to promote or merely document hate speech?

Sorry about my ignorance about FB details.

[22] Posted by Siangombe on 9-12-2013 at 02:27 PM · [top]

FB just sent me an e-mail :
We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols. Since it violated our Community Standards, we removed it. Thanks for your report. We let The Untold History know that their page has been removed, but not who reported it. Facebook never discloses who submits a report.

[23] Posted by Katie in Georgia on 10-28-2013 at 11:55 AM · [top]

I received the same text from FB via email this morning as did </b>Katie in Georgia</b>.

Keith Töpfer

[24] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-28-2013 at 01:41 PM · [top]

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