Facebook Wars: The attack on Freedom

Sometime ago, we wrote another article pertaining to Facebook and it’s apparent war on media. To some regard, this is a bit of a follow-up article to that. Since the time of our previous article, Facebook has not only continued it’s unjust attack against independent media platforms, it appears to have increased the attack. The most common reason given for any platform being removed, “X post has violated our Community Standards.” So, seeing that posted by so many, we decided to take a look at their community standards. What we ultimately found, was a policy purposefully written to be extremely vague. Even with the vague writings, it remained obvious that Facebook, was in fact, in violation of their own policy. This article is going to break the policies, to which we believe are being implicated, down for everybody.

Community Standards: Section III Part 11: Hate Speech.

Below are a couple of paragraphs from the “Hate Speech” section of their Community Standards. For those of us, who have been on Facebook for awhile now, we have seen this policy broken by the Social Media giant countless times. How? Let’s review it:

We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation. We separate attacks into three tiers of severity, as described below.

Sometimes people share content containing someone else’s hate speech for the purpose of raising awareness or educating others. In some cases, words or terms that might otherwise violate our standards are used self-referentially or in an empowering way. People sometimes express contempt in the context of a romantic break-up. Other times, they use gender-exclusive language to control membership in a health or positive support group, such as a breastfeeding group for women only. In all of these cases, we allow the content but expect people to clearly indicate their intent, which helps us better understand why they shared it. Where the intention is unclear, we may remove the content.”

In the past, we have seen cases to which Facebook removed hate speech. However, we have also seen them outright ignore it. The first paragraph is very important in that it informs you as to what they define as hate speech. The contradiction, however, comes within the second paragraph; specifically, these sentences:

People sometimes express contempt in the context of a romantic break-up. Other times, they use gender-exclusive language to control membership in a health or positive support group, such as a breastfeeding group for women only. In all of these cases, we allow the content but expect people to clearly indicate their intent, which helps us better understand why they shared it.”

Now, if you’re like me, chances are you have shared something along these lines; you shared something to bring awareness to the initial form of hate speech. In the case of me doing it, for example, Facebook banned my account for 30 days while leaving the post I was exposing up. In fact, according to Facebook, the original post was not in violation.

But the bulls-eye on the independent journalist doesn’t end there. Another area, to which Facebook has targeted journalists is:

Part IV: Integrity and Authenticity: Section 16: Spam

We work hard to limit the spread of commercial spam to prevent false advertising, fraud, and security breaches, all of which detract from people’s ability to share and connect. We do not allow people to use misleading or inaccurate information to collect likes, followers, or shares.”

This policy, as a whole, is highly questionable. Not only is it extremely vague, it leaves to many doors open, one door is a rather new policy of theirs, however we will get into that later. This policy has literally made it so that it’s up for interpretation as to what “spam” is. You get a media platform, for example, that posts often on a specific arena, Facebook could potentially remove that platform utilizing the claim that they are “spamming” the site. In fact, they could go as far as to state they are spamming the site with “hate speech.” this one paragraph has, in the past, raised questions. And seeing that this is all Facebook has written within this section, it’s obvious as to why.

While section 17 is also one for concern, let’s skip to the section that is really important within Part IV.

Section 18: Fake News

Reducing the spread of false news on Facebook is a responsibility that we take seriously. We also recognize that this is a challenging and sensitive issue. We want to help people stay informed without stifling productive public discourse. There is also a fine line between false news and satire or opinion. For these reasons, we don’t remove false news from Facebook but instead, significantly reduce its distribution by showing it lower in the News Feed.”

Now this policy has, to some regard, affected War on Corruption. The problem here lies beyond what Facebook is claiming, this one goes into “Freedom of Speech” and “censorship.” the problem with this policy, like so many, is it’s extremely vague. Furthermore, this policy raises many questions regarding Facebook’s stance on constitutional rights and liberties. According to Facebook, they wish to maintain a “safe environment.” However, it seems they also wish to silence any platform that attempts to conduct legitimate journalism. Because of how this policy is written, it can essentially be translated to say, “We, at Facebook, intend to impede any media platform that politically opposes our ideology.” At least this wording is more accurate.

Facebook literally has a novel sized section of policies. Like the above mentioned, most of their policies are extremely vague and left for individual interpretation. One thing that is not vague, however, is how Facebook utilizes the vagueness of these policies. Due to the way they are written, it has given Facebook a back-door into enforcing them when, and how, they see fit. Because of this, multiple platforms within the past year have suffered; the most recent platform within the long list, “The Daily Haze” (TDH.) It is apparent that Facebook conducts a malicious form of censorship, silencing anybody who opposes them. The solution? The only solution is to simply find another Social media site.

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