Facebook Facilitates Hate Speech and Threats of Violence
Just three days after a deranged man in Baltimore boasted on social media that he was going hunting to kill some police officers, Facebook rejected my alert to them about hate speech appearing on a public posting concerning the NYPD assassinations as well as a threat of violence against NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio.
The anti-social, social media writer, expressed quite clearly on a friend’s posting that he hated the “nigga loving” Mayor of NYC, who happens to be married to a Black woman and has bi-racial children. In the same conversation stream, the same writer said that his solution for how to deal with DeBlasio was to “kill him.”
Within a few hours of my reporting to Facebook the writer’s hate speech and threat of physical violence against a specific public official, the faceless Facebook arbiters of social behavior, too busy doing end-of-the-year feel-good-photo displays for everyone, sent me the following canned response:
“Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the comment you reported for containing hate speech or symbols (and a credible threat of violence) and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
If Facebook doesn’t find the term “Nigga Lover” antithetical to creating a safe and welcoming environment, what terms of hate speech reach that level? If Facebook doesn’t find a flat-out statement of “kill him” directed at the Mayor of New York City—just 72 hours after 2 NYPD Police Officers were assassinated following a social media warning—what constitutes a “credible threat of violence?”
Admittedly, I have zero-tolerance for anti-social behavior on social media. I “unfriended” my own brother on Facebook for comments that I believed were anti-social. I do not believe in facilitating hate speech against anyone nor the condoning of violence in any forum, especially a public one. But then, I don’t run a social media global outlet with over one billion subscribers, and a financial valuation in the multi-billions of dollars.
Perhaps I’m missing something, but when Facebook takes down a posting by a leading Russian dissident one day because of pressure from the Putin government, and then permits pernicious language like “Nigga lover” to fall within their “community standards,” things seem upside down.
As far as the Facebook subscriber’s threat to “kill him,” when describing what he’d do to the NYC Mayor, I guess Facebook’s facilitators are waiting for an assassination attempt on DeBlasio’s life to consider it a “credible threat of violence.” Until then, it falls within their “Community Standards.”