Opinion, Uncategorized

Draconian Facebook Community Standards

Have you ever been banned by Facebook for something you posted or someone else posted on a page you help manage?  Have you ever wondered what exactly was wrong with what you posted?  Have you been baffled, annoyed or downright angry?

A fellow admin on a conservative political page was banned for 30 days for this meme:

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The meme says “He vowed to unite the country, loved unconditionally by his base and promised them entitlements, censored media, supported strict gun control, took over healthcare, had his own symbol, wanted large centralized government.”  The words are superimposed over a black and white picture of Hitler with his back to the camera looking out over his troops which are performing for him.

Which community standard, exactly, does this violate?  Facebook says this:

“People use Facebook to share their experiences and to raise awareness about issues that are important to them. This means that you may encounter opinions that are different from yours, which we believe can lead to important conversations about difficult topics. To help balance the needs, safety, and interests of a diverse community, however, we may remove certain kinds of sensitive content or limit the audience that sees it. Learn more about how we do that here.

Hate Speech

Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their:

  • Race,
  • Ethnicity,
  • National origin,
  • Religious affiliation,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • 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. As with all of our standards, we rely on our community to report this content to us.

People can use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices. Such discussion can promote debate and greater understanding. Sometimes people share content containing someone else’s hate speech for the purpose of raising awareness or educating others about that hate speech. When this is the case, we expect people to clearly indicate their purpose, which helps us better understand why they shared that content.

We allow humor, satire, or social commentary related to these topics, and we believe that when people use their authentic identity, they are more responsible when they share this kind of commentary. For that reason, we ask that Page owners associate their name and Facebook Profile with any content that is insensitive, even if that content does not violate our policies. As always, we urge people to be conscious of their audience when sharing this type of content.

While we work hard to remove hate speech, we also give you tools to avoid distasteful or offensive content. Learn more about the tools we offer to control what you see. You can also use Facebook to speak up and educate the community around you. Counter-speech in the form of accurate information and alternative viewpoints can help create a safer and more respectful environment.”

So, let’s run down the list.  Nudity – nope, no naked people here.  Hate speech – nope, just a statement of facts.  Violence and graphic content – nope, not a drop of blood or severed limb to be seen.  Take special note of this sentence in their standards:
“We allow humor, satire, or social commentary related to these topics…”
This is vague at best.  How does Facebook determine that something violates their community standards?  If someone reports something as offensive, the Facebook admins review it and take action; they either remove the offending content and notify the person who posted it, often threatening to delete the page on which it was posted or they notify the complainer that it does not violate standards.  If the same person gets reported multiple times, Facebook then levies a ban on them which can range from 24 hours to 30 days.
I have seen posts showing pictures of babies and children ripped into several pieces lying on blood-soaked sheets on pro-Islam pages.  I have reported these posts to Facebook as graphic violence.  I was told that those pictures did NOT violate their standards.  Yet a meme recounting historical fact without any kind of commentary, not even an opinion, is considered in violation.
Before we bring up the “free speech” argument, let’s see what the First Amendment actually says.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Free speech guidelines simply do not apply to a private individual running his own website.  Therefore Mark Zuckerberg and his minions are within their rights to censor whatever they want to censor.  We are subject to the whim of whichever admin happens to review the post being reported.  Is it wrong?  That completely depends on whether you like to be controlled or not.  Is it legal?  Yes, it’s legal.  Is it unfair?  Absolutely.  When two groups of people post the same type of content and one is punished and the other is not, it is unfair.
If you run a conservative or libertarian political page, Facebook will censor you.  Their interpretation of what is offensive or against their community standards is impossible to predict.  To be fair, they almost never remove content unless someone complains to them about it.  Guess who really runs Facebook.   Trolls.  Trolls run Facebook.  They are a group of people who do nothing but roam around Facebook looking for things to report.  They are nasty, pathetic little control freak bitches with no life, no human decency and a heart full of vindictiveness and hate.

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