First, this is NOT a First Amendment “free speech” issue because the U.S. Constitution only applies to the U.S. government and Facebook is a private corporation that can do pretty much what it wants with its platform. Second, companies that rely on social media platforms for a significant part of their recognition or business are willingly accepting the unilateral terms that govern platform use and the risks of building a business around such a platform. And third, while I do not personally appreciate the gravelly voice of Alex Jones or believe his outrageous conspiracy theories, he should be free to publish them on any platform he provides and control.
If anything, this is a matter of censorship and a biased approach to the detection, determination, and fact-checking of so-called “fake news.”
- One might ask if this “fact checking,” at the expense of the social media platform owners, extends to falsehoods uttered or published by politicians, whether or not they are campaigning?
- One might ask if this so-called “hate speech” which attacks or dehumanizes others includes rappers with clearly violent, misogynous, and hate-filled messages?
- And, one might ask whether or not “fairness” demands that the platform clearly identify and obvious bias – such as advantaging or disadvantaging any particular political ideology or politician – be clearly displayed for all to see?
August 6, 2018
We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe. It’s why we have Community Standards and remove anything that violates them, including hate speech that attacks or dehumanizes others. Earlier today, we removed four Pages belonging to Alex Jones for repeatedly posting content over the past several days that breaks those Community Standards. Here’s more detail on enforcement of our standards:
How do you deal with people and Pages who repeatedly violate your standards?
What is the number of strikes a person or Page has to get to before you ban them?
When we remove content for violating our policies, we notify the person who posted it to explain why, with some narrow exceptions to account for things like child exploitation imagery.
If someone violates our policies multiple times, their account will be temporarily blocked; a Page that does so will be unpublished. When a person is in a temporary block, they can read things on Facebook, but they can’t like, comment or post. If that person is also the admin of a Facebook Page, the block prevents them from posting to the Page.
If a Page is unpublished, is that different from removing them and if so why?
This is very complicated — why do it this way?
How do you distinguish between fake news and content that breaks your Community Standards?
When it comes to our Community Standards, they’re focused on keeping people safe. If you post something that goes against our standards, which cover things like hate speech that attacks or dehumanizes others, we will remove it from Facebook.
So what happened with InfoWars? They were up on Friday and now they are down?
As a result of reports we received, last week, we removed four videos on four Facebook Pages for violating our hate speech and bullying policies. These pages were the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page. In addition, one of the admins of these Pages – Alex Jones – was placed in a 30-day block for his role in posting violating content to these Pages.
Since then, more content from the same Pages has been reported to us — upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.
All four Pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes. While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this.
What makes Facebook dangerous...
The fact that Facebook is integrated into your life and business and is able to spy on domestic citizens and then sell the results to advertisers or to improve its own service should give one pause before accepting any new Facebook options.
According to the Wall Street Journal
FACEBOOK WANTS YOUR FINANCIAL DATA TO BOOST CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
Facebook increasingly wants to be a platform where people buy and sell goods and services, besides connecting with friends. The company over the past year asked JP MorganChase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and U.S. Bancorp to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger, said people familiar with the matter.
Facebook has talked about a feature that would show its users their checking-account balances, the people said. It has also pitched fraud alerts, some of the people said.
Users should remember that Facebook can provide or sell your data to the government or provide it under secret administrative orders and will not be as protective of your data as a federally-regulated institution. In fact, you may be required to waive all of your rights to your data and any redress for a data breach when you are forced to accept the "take it or leave it" unilateral terms of service. <Source>
Bottom line …
The various social media platforms should be free to do what they want, just as other platform developers are free to creatively destroy platforms and replace them with something timely, relevant, and possibly less intrusive into our lives.
The internet is a humungous place with a multiplicity of opportunities. And, the platform owners should understand that they are operating in a bubble that can burst at any time. Should more stringent legislation be passed along the lines of Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which gives European citizens control over their data, it is conceivable that those opting out of the intrusive social media revenue model will cripple the platform.
You reap what you sow – and when you start down the slippery slope of political correctness or biasing the discussion to promote a political agenda, you may soon find yourself teetering at the edge of the black abyss.
Remember the prime rule: If you don't like what you are hearing, don't listen, if you don't like what you are seeing, turn away and don't view it, and if you don't like a product, don't buy it. Let the marketplace speak, not the politicians and do-gooders who claim to being doing something, while doing nothing, and yelling hooray for us.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius