Washington, DC (TFC) – Facebook has decided to become an enforcement arm of the US thought police. The company revamped its community standards today. One of the most chilling changes is that users can now be banned for supporting or praising “criminal” activities.
Facebook has said it will remove content in support of violent or criminal organizations. The company also throws out the word “terrorists.” Facebook, being an international company, will end up being the arbitrator of which groups are terrorists and which groups are freedom fighters.
“We also remove content that expresses support for groups that are involved in the violent or criminal behavior mentioned above. Supporting or praising leaders of those same organizations, or condoning their violent activities, is not allowed.”
Which side is it ok to support in Ukraine? Is it ok to support or condone Palestinians? What about Anonymous, the “cyber-terrorist” collective? Supporting the protesters in Ferguson? Russian dissidents speaking out against Putin? What about supporting the US military, which has been called a terrorist organization by other countries?
Facebook has decided to become the world’s censor. This may end up being the final nail in the coffin of a social media outlet that has seen users flee from other idiotic policies.
In addition to a ban on supporting organizations that Facebook has decided it doesn’t like, the social media giant has decided it’s time to protect the politicians they have bought. In a section labeled “attacks on public figures,” the company says it won’t tolerate “hate speech” directed at public figures. What qualifies as hate speech? It doesn’t say in that section. Elsewhere in the standards it identifies hate speech as:
“content that directly attacks people based on their:
Sex, gender, or gender identity,
or Serious disabilities or diseases.
Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook.”
So, I guess Tea Partiers can no longer call the President a Muslim in a derogatory fashion. Democrats can’t mock Romney for having more than one wife.
Facebook has established rules that are so broad that they allow the company to censor whatever they wish. Let’s be clear, Facebook is a private company and therefore they can ban whatever they choose. We as private citizens can also demand that a US-based company abide by the ideas of the country. The First Amendment was not written to protect recipes, selfies, videos of cats, or statements about the weather. The First Amendment was written to protect the objectionable and the offensive. The First Amendment was written to protect these statements from my newsfeed today on Facebook:
“Obama is a hypocritical war-monger. That Muslim traitor needs to go.”
“These Christian fundamentalist scumbags in congress should be drug out of office and beat. That letter was f-cking treason.”
“One day some old Guinea is going to shoot an old Asian. We’ve already had to stop one neighbor from beating the shit out of an Asian kid for parking repeatedly in his driveway.
Lack of basic respect for others or their property is not acceptable.”
“Erin Go Braugh” (A statement of support for the Irish Republican Army)
“I like my guns like that n-gg-r likes his sp-cs. Unregistered.”
“We are legion.” (Statement of support for Anonymous)
“He’s a jew, and a Mossad agent.” (Said about Islamic State leader Al-Baghdadi.)
“Putin can suck my d-ck like the f-gg-t he is.”
“That pilot was bombing children. They burned alive. I don’t care that they lit him on fire. It’s the only thing America’s puppets understand.” (Said about Jordanian pilot burned alive by the Islamic State.)
“Cops wear vests. Aim high.”
“You’re a g-dd-amn-ed piece of sh-t. You and your Mick buddies and all you drunken Irish sheep f-ckers should f-cking die a horrible death.” (Said to me because I don’t have a problem with gays marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.)
“We need to start beheading those f-cking c-cksuckers like they do our kids. Islam is not a realigion of peace.”
“The only sad thing about the Ferguson shooting is that those cops didn’t die.”
“Free Barrett Brown! Free Jeremy Hammond! F-ck Sabu’s F-gg-t a—with a pinecone.”
Is my newsfeed pretty diverse? Yes. Are some of these statements offensive? Sure. Should they be banned? Of course not. If you only believe in supporting Free Speech that supports your opinion or the opinion of your fellow “Sheep f-ckers,” you don’t support the idea of Free Speech. Should Nazis be able to post on Facebook? Sure. Should Jews be able to troll them mercilessly and advocate violence against them? Yep. Welcome to Free Speech.
There is no good that can come from cutting off access to other opinions. Facebook’s real message is pretty clear in regards to criminal conduct:
“Obey the government or be banned.”