Facebook, free speech, hate speech, racism

Lazy drunken boongs, terrorist Muslims, Asian boat people, avaricious Jews, violent Lebos, AIDS-infested faggots…

Facebook turns a blind eye to racist rants, Asher Moses, The Age, May 7, 2009.

Apparently, there are some racist groups on Facebook. Asher’s article cites the views of Alex Gollan of the campaign group Australians Against Racism & Discrimination — who has received death threats for his writings on the subject — NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff — “Facebook is being used and abused as a platform for racism. This material should be dealt with immediately,” he said — and notes that last year Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma called for an overhaul of cyber-racism laws.

‘Facebook said in a statement that it had to “strike a very delicate balance” between giving Facebook users the freedom to express their opinions and ensuring people do not feel threatened when using the site’; a situation complicated by Facebook’s global status and the existence of national laws criminalising various forms of speech. In Australia: “The Australian Communications and Media Authority has said that Australia’s attorneys-general were considering whether the National Classification Scheme should be amended to include specific measures aimed at combating racial material which is published online.”

Oh boy.

Facebook has a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (Date of Last Revision: May 1, 2009) which states, in part:

    We do our best to keep Facebook safe, but we cannot guarantee it. We need your help in order to do that, which includes the following commitments…

    6. You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence…

    8. You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.

That is, I guess, unless you do, in which case Facebook will employ a juggler… or something.

Note that, unlike the US, Australia has no constitutional guarantees of ‘free speech’. Note further that, by most standard definitions, the expression of racial or ethnic hatred is, in fact, an exercise in ‘free speech’.

See also : Australians Against Racism, “established by designer Mariana Hardwick and novelist Eva Sallis in October 2001. AAR aims to counter destructive stereotyping of race and culture by actively promoting understanding and debate through the media, arts, education and the law.”


About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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