Facebook Not Safe For Protection Of Jewish People, Per Se (Randyjw; August 1, 2018)
It must be hard to be Mark Zuckerberg — or, even Facebook, for that matter.
On the one hand, you have a mega-giant company providing a platform for people the world over to publish their various viewpoints on their opinions regarding the rest of humanity, beyond themselves. Obviously, due to human biases, there is going to be posted many differing views, which may even be considered prejudicial against other people. Therefore, how does one oversee this herculean task to police the hate speech out of existence, while balancing the concepts to allow freedom of speech and expression to flourish (a democratic concept we take mostly for granted, almost even as an entitlement, in the United States, but one for which many people have never known in countries that are not free)?
Apparently, one has to plead the role of “platform” over “provider;” for, if one were to be considered the “publisher” of all this, then one would be responsible for all these hateful viewpoints being published, and could be held liable for all the ensuing damages that could occur, under this rubric. Yet, if one were solely just a “provider” of a means of communication through which others are enabled to promote their own viewpoints, then one could not necessarily blame the hardware for being the carrier of what type of content is placed onto it by the millions of individual minds revealing themselves through this manner online.
That is not to say that there should be no responsibility upon the provider of said platform regarding the content which is then placed upon it by the general masses, of which there is no contractual agreement to such as those for their “services,” as this is a voluntary recreational space and not a working area with mutual partnership criteria extending to the unknown individuals using the cyberspace provided by Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram, etc.). Protection of speech and source identities has been an underdog issue championed by the media and journalists who make up its trade. They have been the watchdogs who have fought for the American people and have upheld the protection guaranteed to Americans through its Constitution not to be persecuted in the rights to be free from persecution in our individual liberties with regard to the overreach by government into unwarranted and overwrought search and seizure capacities.
We have recently been made aware of the extent to which the government has been attempting to research the records of individual Americans through their telephone and email exchanges, while the telephone and internet companies have been steadfastly reluctant (mostly) to provide this information to them, leading to procedures which allow for a petitioning, based on reasonable, probable cause, that such actions are necessary and so would secure a pre-warrantable action allowed for them to do so.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 ushered in the Patriot Act, which degraded these formerly ironclad sensibilities against internal domestic spying on America’s citizens, although much really hasn’t changed but the agency hierarchies and oversight, as well as an easier capacity for knowledge-based sharing between the various organizations which exist for these purposes. Loopholes still exist in being able to take advantage of any of these situations, both in the past, and, still, in the present; yet, still will result in some type of eventual public outcry and resolve by government to help try to make themselves more accountable to the citizens in an all-around cosmetic effort at mollification and anaesthetization of the believing masses. The media, meanwhile, also hold much of the blame for having so openly felt themselves privileged to release America’s deepest, darkest secrets — and not always to their safe and secure advantage.
Angel or devil? An amalgamation of both, I would propose. Many times, it is the reality as it appears in the eyes of the beholder. For instance, I can understand Mark Zuckerberg’s position (which seems like it might be evolving, depending upon how much trouble he might be averting at the moment, what his lawyers say, his feelings, whatever) and my own feelings on the matter of an almost sacrosanct dedication to protecting freedom of speech through the media and individual expression, via any manner. Yet, I also see the problems that speech which smacks of hatred for others and which then promotes violence against them can actually lead to harm against those people, whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in myriad other ways. Where do we draw the line? We keep bringing it to court, and many times it is ruled by the courts that free speech has a right to be spoken, regardless of most of its content. So, while we can not yell “fire” in a crowded theater, we can still watch a bunch of neo-Nazis parade through the streets of Skokie, Illinois, spreading their anti-Semitic gestures and conspiracy theories around, and their rights to assemble and to do so will be protected by our Constitution.
But, we Jews have a lot to fear from this. We already know that such voicings result in much harm to our community. Yet, because of much residual anti-Semitism, we can’t seem to find redress of these problems through most venues which exist, today. I suppose it matters to which master we bow – – and because those of us Jewish people who still hold a religious and contrite heart will not bow to any but our One and Mighty G-d, we can hope for Him to step in, which He will do, when you least expect it, and we can also help Him (and ourselves) along in these matters by choosing to fight/protest such treatment – – which we do all the time.
For instance, due to the plethora of terrorist organizations and individuals who subscribe to or sympathize with such anti-Semitic leanings, there are multiple accounts operating in cyberspace, and including on platforms like Facebook, which promote their vicious, anti-Semitic viewpoints online, while laughing at the weakness of our democratic system, which allows them to slip in through our open doors, and sow their seeds of destruction and hatred throughout. This has led to the slow genocide of the Jewish people, yet again, through this strategic war of attrition that the Arab Islamic Jihadist community wages and perpetrates against the Jewish people. The journalist, Daniel Pearl, comes to mind. He was killed by beheading because he was lured into a trap of trying to track down terrorist ties for his news articles for the Wall Street Journal, but the terrorists he wound up dealing with only tricked him because he was Jewish and fell gullible in the pursuit of his craft.
Many Jewish groups and individuals have attempted, over the years, to bring the matter to the attention of Mark Zuckerberg and the staff at Facebook, to review the content of the accounts which are promoting these Jihadist or terrorist philosophies. In a way, though, allowing those accounts to remain on would perhaps give Facebook a way to track such perpetrators, allowing the public to see how vile these individuals really are. Would that deter people from joining such groups? The answer has been quite the opposite — even enjoining others to take on the cause of these killers. It tends to glorify the murderers, unfortunately; and that is much to the detriment of the Jewish people, as well as the other unfortunate people who fall victim to the Jihadist ideology. Facebook has been accused of allowing much of these terrorist groups to remain online and perpetuate their ideas, while at the same time removing many conservative-leaning accounts, according to many of the accountholders.
Yet now, in a strange Phoenix-like rising, Facebook wants to weigh in as the underdog hero, pulling 36 accounts from its various Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts/sites, which it deems were acting in-authentically — and which, in some news reports, is being linked with possible potential to influence upcoming American mid-term elections (or at least falling within the timeline of its occurrence), in a strange echo of the supposed Russian meddling of the 2016 election (which we were all told by the left-wing Democratic-leaning news sites was attributed to “fake news”). You will notice that, for liability purposes, Facebook still takes the “hardware-provider” position, leaving themselves in the reactionary (second place) role to investigate any reports not meeting their guidelines, which are reported by Facebook users. Facebook states that they are now becoming more proactive to remove accounts or posts which do not meet their community standards, and they often temper this with a reference to take it in context of the culture from which it comes. But, just because anti-Semitism is common to most Arab-Islamic countries does not mean that it is okay to be anti-Semitic. Right? – – They will more likely censor content for such things as paid political ads, or things that affect their shareholders. This means that the burden of proof might often lie with the victimized to prove that the offenses were such to warrant and to cause or to result in harm. No guilt until it has been proven, right? But, are the Jew-hating Facebook accounts which still remain online really all that innocent?
Here is the Facebook guidelines and their recent actions taken, in their own words:
Hard Questions: Who Reviews Objectionable Content on Facebook — And Is the Company Doing Enough to Support Them?
Removing Bad Actors on Facebook
Publishing Our Internal Enforcement Guidelines and Expanding Our Appeals Process
Hard Questions: Why Do You Leave Up Some Posts But Take Down Others?
Hard Questions: How Effective Is Technology in Keeping Terrorists off Facebook?
Here are some outside sources and their dealings with Facebook: