Facebook Brand Left to Mercy of Hate Groups
While neo-conservatives complain about "liberal bias" and monopolization of all media despite the ample empirical evidence to the contrary, openly racist and far-right commentary abounds in cyberspace. Even a cursory visit to YouTube exposes the hateful soft white underbelly of the social networking sub-world with hate speech and theological intolerance. Just this week on MSNBC, neo-conservative pundit Tucker Carlson gleefully recounted a Gay-bashing he and a fellow student engaged in justifying his actions because he suspected that the person he assaulted had made a pass at him. MSNBC as of this writing has not condemned his comments, nor the raucous laughter from his co-hosts. And American neo-conservatives still insist that homosexuals in the United States do not suffer from anti-Gay bias. Sounds just like another issue...
In this piece from the founder of NewsCloud, he asks why Facebook did not address the blatantly hateful speech contributed to its network. While he is staunchly supportive of free speech, the presence of clearly ethnic/theological and cultural insulting words, images and suggestions are dangerous and should not be tolerated in an free and open society of civilised peoples. Clearly countries like Germany and Austria know something the United States doesn't. Hate speech is a violation of law in nations with histories of ethnic-driven genocidal outrages. Why? Because it creates a climate in which the eventual breakdown of social tolerance allows for biases to be let free, eager to devour "The Other," the cause of why they cannot do better than they have. The idea that once an offending population is fianlly removed and utterly destroyed, only those whom are the best and strongest will have their paradise on Earth.
While it may has sounded better in the original German, (not even the Italians who created National Socialism made much use of the racial purity component) this was the basic jist of the message the Final Solution was intended to get across. I also expect readers to suggest that this paring of examples is extreme, but I would like to point out that the Nazi propaganda organ never suggested exterminating entire populations in the first quarter of thier existence in power. The German high command sitting in the dock during their war crimes trials used the fact that Hitler was persuaded to allow as many "undesirables" to emigrate elsewhere as proof that they were actually "Zionists at heart" and therefore innocent of mass ethnocide. Thousands of Jews were relocated to China, Lebanon and elsewhere they felt they could avoid persecution. This does not in itself disprove that the Germans did not have a elimination policy. Since murdering or marginalising large numbers of people goes against the ethical grain of a self-conscious society, it takes time for an elite class to convince their mainstream populations that such ideas are not simply acceptable but good for their own welfare. It does not take much to form an opinion for the public, steering tham to believe that political and media authorities would not tell them something that is not true or for their good.
Enter Julius Streicher, a man who took pride in his reputation as "Jew-baiter Number one." His Judeophobic writings, cartoons and children's books were found by the international tribunal at Nuremberg to be no less guilty than those who sat at the table with Hitler and plotted out the murder of Europe's ethnic minorities. In other words, words and images whose purpose it is to dehumanise a definable group, is tantamount to genocide.
While there are many directions in which I could direct this commentary I will only mention one. The clearly offensive use of Native American imagery such as gnomed Aboriginal leaders and insulting team names such as "Redskin" and "Braves" falls under this very same finding by Justice Robert H. Jackson who represented the United States during the trials. It also needs mentioning that while he was deciding on the fate of the German high command for crimes against humanity, Africans were being burned out and lynched while American Aboriginals were forcibly removed from their respective homelands and thrown into Indian boarding schools and the large cities to become "American."
What Jeff is not suggesting in this article is in any way a call for an extremist eradication of conservative views from the public discourse. On the contrary, he is saying that free speech means a mature responsiblity for what you say and the repercussions of commentary and propaganda that may lead to marginalisation or ethnic/gender bias. This is not a tall order and should not be in the 21st century. With ethno-religious and political strife all around us, such sentiments do not have a place in a global society. Hisotry has shown that time and time again. If the stubborn could pain themselves to accept, polite discourse goes much further than jingoism and invective, at least among those willing to tap at a keyboard.
Respectful communication can improve on our current understandings of who we are and how we relate to others we share the world with. I, for one, cannot understand why a tradition of honourable discourse cannot be adhered to. Perhaps because I have no emotive fear of learning something new or, finding out that my most dearly held perceptions and positions may in fact, be wrong. Including this one. But that is the very wonder about communication, freedom to think. The direct opposite of the decided narrowness of ditto-headism amongst the intolerant. - The Angryindian
Jeff’s NewsCloud Journal » Blog Archive » Facebook Brand Left to Mercy of Hate Groups Why is Facebook leaving its brand and reputation at risk to hate groups? I don’t get it. Since July 21, 2007, Facebook has left its “Fuck Islam” group intact despite more than 53,482 members joining an opposing group called petiton: if “f**k Islam” is not shut down..we r quitting facebook group.
While I’m not a total cynic, Facebook’s lack of overall responsiveness on the “Fuck Islam” group does make me wonder if there is a bit of opportunism going on. Does the company believe that no publicity is bad publicity? They clearly earn money every time another member joins those 53,482 members signing up against “Fuck Islam” and posting to the discussion board. Those page views do add up. It’s not like Facebook is donating revenue from those ad clicks to charity. I wonder what advertisers like Sprint, Verizon, T Mobile, Target, Qwest, French’s and EarthShare (via the AdCouncil) think about paying for their brand to appear on the “Fuck Islam” group pages (refreshing the “Fuck Islam” group page did generate ads for each of those companies).
While it appears the profile of the user who formed the group, Variable Variable of New Mexico, is no longer active, I don’t understand why Facebook would leave the group open for more than six weeks. Aside from further upsetting the 53,482 petitioners, the possibility of negative publicity by association with hate speech would seem to be incentive enough for them to delete this group.
Facebook has positioned itself as the darling of the social network world, without the spam, porn and sex offender problems of MySpace. Why leave your brand exposed to this kind of intolerance? It makes very little sense to me.
The continued existence of the “Fuck Islam” group is either an issue of incompetence, carelessness, ignorance, corporate bigotry or cynical opportunism.
I’m going to assume that Facebook has been informed of the group’s existence. Aside from the complaint I filed earlier this weekend, at least a small fraction of the 53,482 members of the opposing group have likely used the link to file a complaint with Facebook as well. I actually counted more than 17 groups formed against the “Fuck Islam” group.