For all of Facebook’s talk of wanting to provide a safe environment, the truth of the matter came to light yesterday as the guidance for how Facebook enforces its policy on death threats was posted.
Facebook actually allows you to break the law and incite violence against their chosen targets.
Civil War when? https://t.co/bkVw0BLzHw
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) July 9, 2019
When one cross-references this to the definition of Dangerous Individuals and Organizations
In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow any organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence, from having a presence on Facebook. This includes organizations or individuals involved in the following:
Mass or serial murder
Organized violence or criminal activity
We also remove content that expresses support or praise for groups, leaders, or individuals involved in these activities.
This is the way Facebook explained it to The Daily Caller:
“We don’t allow credible threats of violence against anyone,” company spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We do allow some speech that calls for certain forms of violence, such as calls for the death penalty for criminals or support for military action against terrorists.”
Except that isn’t what the policy says, and we know from experience the expansive definition that Facebook applies to “hate” when anyone on the right is involved.
Do you really, really think this policy would apply if you were singing the praises of the USSR or Communist China or making the case that the Khmer Rouge had some good ideas or extolling the bravery of Palestinian terrorists? Of course not. If you have politics that are in sync with the nasty little twits who write stuff like this on behalf of Facebook, you’re fine. There are any number of grotesquely anti-Semitic Facebook pages masquerading under the whole Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions umbrella. Louis Farrakhan followers have a Facebook page.
This should be self-evident, but let me say it anyway. There is really no justification for Facebook allowing death threats to be made against individuals other than perhaps a pre-deceased Osaama bin Ladin or Mullah Omar or some other high profile terrorist who is being sought by the Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies of the Western world. I don’t care if the person is Jeffrey Epstein, there is no circumstance under which Facebook should tolerate an actual threat to kill someone. If you get in the timeline of an Antifa (not that Facebook would ever call their darlings terrorists) or a Proud Boy or a KKK member–because the policy Facebook posted clearly allows this–and threaten them or theirs Facebook should not be in the business of making value judgments on their politics and their worth as a human being. In fact, it is very difficult to see how this policy, if someone was hurt, would not carry criminal liability along with it.
Apparently, Facebook has disappeared this policy. But you know what has not disappeared? The attitude that wrote, reviewed, and approved the policy in the first place. And do you know what lesson is learned from this? Not that fomenting and condoning violence is wrong, but that they need to keep their policies confidential.