Call to overhaul cyber-racism laws
December 15, 2008
The Federal Government is under pressure to take urgent action to combat widespread racial vilification on social networking sites such as Facebook… The comments follow stories published on this website last week revealing that there are scores of racist groups on Facebook, many of them based in Australia, but the site has done little to eradicate them even after complaints. Anti-racism groups have begun using this inaction to their advantage, mining social networking sites for valuable intel…
Mat Henderson-Hau, from the anti-racism group Fight dem back!, said he had also been targeted and complained to Facebook several times but, as with Gollan’s case, the site did not respond.
“I know that these sites won’t do anything to act on their TOS [terms of service] unless pressured by the media or by police, courts or lawyers within the relevant jurisdiction (invariably, the US),” he said.
Henderson-Hau added that the will was building to run a “serious lawsuit against these guys on the simple premise that they are not enforcing the terms of service”.
In the meantime, Henderson-Hau has decided to use the proliferation of racist groups on Facebook and MySpace to his advantage, mining the sites for valuable information on the far-right such as photographs and the connections between individuals and groups across national borders.
He said Fight dem back! stored this data until it became useful.
“For example, Johnny X may have pics on his Facebook or MySpace of him doing a Heil Hitler salute in his boots and braces,” Henderson-Hau said.
“Johnny X might one day wind up pitching for a government contract for his plumbing business. That is when those pictures would be sent to the relevant authorities.”
Blogger/Google. Facebook. Myspace. Youtube. The corporations which own these sites (and others) are extremely reluctant to act with regards to complaints of racist content, not only in the case of straightforwardly racist abuse, but even openly neo-Nazi propaganda. As Mat notes, the only circumstances in which they may be compelled to act is as a result of negative media attention, police request, or legal mandate.
A few examples:
Myspace provides a happy home to many nutzis. Kill Baby, Kill!, a neo-Nazi band from Belgium, is just one of them. Friends with Sydney band T.H.U.G. (which includes members of late ’80s/early ’90s bonehead band White Lightning), KBK! came to Australia in September to play the annual Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial gig in beautiful Beaconsfield, Melbourne, organised by local bonehead (neo-Nazi ‘skinhead’) groups Blood & Honour Australia and the Southern Cross Hammerskins. The vocalist, Dieter Samoy, is currently facing charges for racial assault.
genocidal88’s channel, maintained by neo-Nazi activist Jesse (Blood & Honour Australia/Southern Cross Hammerskins). NB. 88 = HH = Heil Hitler. Jesse has played in a range of local neo-Nazi bands, and uses his channel to promote these and the neo-Nazi groups he helps to organise. (Of these bands, ‘Deaths Head’ featured the recording talents of Joel. Joel now plays drums with local band Bulldog Spirit.)
14Rob88: Rob’s channel includes a video for the smash pop hit ‘We’re Southern Storm’ by local neo-Nazi band Southern Storm. Sample lyric: “Niggers Jews and Communists / Look out scum you’re on our list!”