Why is Facebook Enabling Anti-Semites?
Father Coughlin is alive and well. He resides in an underground bunker he shares with Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. The trio works for Mark Zuckerberg, responding to complaints about anti-Semitism on Facebook.
When the three aren’t doing their job (which is most of the time), they’re collaborating on a “new and revised” edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They’re shopping it around and are having a tough time finding a publisher. Pluto Press said no and it’s not looking too good even at Pilgrim Press, so the troika is thinking of going the self-publishing route.
What I just told you is a big fat lie (or actually a whole bunch of them), but it’s still the best I can do to explain why Facebook does such a terrible job dealing with anti-Semitism on its website.
Here’s what happens:
Anonymous (and sometimes not-so-anonymous) lunatics post hateful pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic stuff on Facebook.
People dutifully complain about the stuff they see.
Facebook responds by telling people that the imagery does not violate the company’s community standards, (which includes bans on hate speech and the promotion of violence).
Who at Facebook sends out these messages? Really!
If it isn’t the trio of Coughlin, Ford, and Lindbergh, then maybe Facebook has farmed out the job of enforcing its community standards to Islamists in Pakistan or Iran. Or maybe they’ve contracted with a joint venture that includes the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.
A while back, somebody from Bulgaria posted an image of a group of Nazi soldiers in the middle of massacring a group of Polish civilians. Underneath the photo the Bulgarian Facebook user photoshopped the Nike Swoosh with the trademark phrase, “Just Do It.”
After I saw the image, I clicked the proper buttons to tell the good folks at Facebook that the image needed to be taken down. I figured Facebook would take it down immediately, but instead, I got a message back from Facebook that said that the image “doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
Being an Internet activist without peer (I work for CAMERA, mind you!), I wasn’t going to take no for an answer so I did the next necessary thing: I blogged about it!
And then I got really serious and reached out to the folks at Nike and said something like, “Um, folks, somebody is using your trademark to promote Nazism.”
That seemed to work. (I can’t take all the credit, because I’m sure that it occurred to other people that Nike wouldn’t want their trademark used in such a manner.)
In any event, the image eventually came down and the user’s account was deleted from Facebook.
Huzzah! The good guys won! And a huge victory it was! Antisemitism was forever banned from the pages of Facebook!
But alas, the battle continues.
Recently, my correspondents have alerted me to another page on Facebook. The end of the URL includes the phrase “The Truth About Jews” and the page itself promotes Blood Libels against the Jewish people.
It’s titled “Jewish ritual murder.”
The page has all the stuff you’d expect on an anti-Semitic Facebook page. It has 248 “Likes” and includes anti-Jewish libels from all over the world. The page includes a disclaimer that is simply bizarre: “Comments that are offensive, obscene, vulgar, irrelevant to this page or classified as spam will be removed.” The entire page is offensive and obscene. And the page, which has been in existence since March 2012, is an exercise in vulgar anti-Semitism.
Yes, people have complained about the page. And yes, Facebook has responded with messages indicating that the page does not violate the company’s community standards.
Will the page eventually be removed? Probably. But why doesn’t Facebook delete this stuff when first apprised of its presence on their website?
Why should it take any more than one complaint for Facebook to do the right thing?
Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA).