Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nick Hopkins - How Facebook flouts Holocaust denial laws except where it fears being sued

Facebook’s policies on Holocaust denial will come under fresh scrutiny following the leak of documents that show moderators are being told not to remove this content in most of the countries where it is illegal. The files explain that moderators should take down Holocaust denial material in only four of the 14 countries where it is outlawed, if reported. One document says the company “does not welcome local law that stands as an obstacle to an open and connected world” and will only consider blocking or hiding Holocaust denial messages and photographs if “we face the risk of getting blocked in a country or a legal risk”. A picture of a concentration camp with the caption “Never again Believe the Lies” was permissible if posted anywhere other than the four countries in which Facebook fears legal action, one document explains. Facebook contested the figures but declined to elaborate.

The social media service has also decided that migrants, refugees and asylum seekers should be regarded as a “quasi-protected category” – so they will not receive the protections given to other vulnerable groups. Documents show Facebook has told moderators to remove dehumanising speech or any “calls for violence” against refugees. Content “that says migrants should face a firing squad or compares them to animals, criminals or filth” also violate its guidelines. But it adds: “As a quasi-protected category, they will not have the full protections of our hate speech policy because we want to allow people to have broad discussions on migrants and immigration which is a hot topic in upcoming elections.”

According to the documents, comments permitted under the policy include ones such as: “Islam is a religion of hate. Close the borders to immigrating Muslims until we figure out what the hell is going on”; “migrants are so filthy”; “migrants are thieves and robbers”; and “Mexican immigrants are freeloaders mooching off of tax dollars we don’t even have”. The documents show moderators have been told they do not have to delete comment such as “Fuck immigrant” and “Keep the horny migrant teenagers away from our daughters”... read more: