Facebook To Allow Death Threats Against Those Banned From Facebook

When are threats of violence ok? Apparently when they’re against people the company has banned.

Facebook has recently updated their community standards. Under these new standards, threats and calls for violence, are completely acceptable. As long as it’s against people which Facebook doesn’t like. Don’t believe it? You simply have to read the standards, where it is repeated multiple times.

Under the heading of “Violence and Incitment”, Facebook gives the following, and very reasonable “Policy Rationale”.

“We aim to prevent potential offline harm that may be related to content on Facebook. While we understand that people commonly express disdain or disagreement by threatening or calling for violence in non-serious ways, we remove language that incites or facilitates serious violence. We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety. We also try to consider the language and context in order to distinguish casual statements from content that constitutes a credible threat to public or personal safety. In determining whether a threat is credible, we may also consider additional information like a person’s public visibility and vulnerability.”

Sounds reasonable right? Sure it does. Until you continue to read on, where it lists specifics of what is not allowed. With most of these no-nos being followed by a frightening parenthetical which specifically gives a loop-hole allowing those very threats to be posted against certain individuals. A sampling of the statements can be found below. You’ll see a pattern.

Threats that could lead to death (and other forms of high-severity violence) of any target(s) where threat is defined as any of the following:

  • Calls for high-severity violence (unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.)
  • Statements advocating for high-severity violence (unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.)
  • Aspirational or conditional statements to commit high-severity violence (unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.)
  • Threats that lead to serious injury (mid-severity violence) towards private individuals, minor public figures, vulnerable persons, or vulnerable groups where threat is defined as any of the following:
  • Statements advocating violence (unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.)
  • Calls for mid-severity violence (unless the target is a member of a dangerous organization, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.) including content where no target is specified but a symbol represents the target.
  • Aspirational or conditional statements to commit violence (unless the target is a member of a dangerous organization, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.)

There is more. Of course there is more. But you get the general idea, So who are these individuals that Facebook has deemed to be deserving of threats of death and violence? We simply have to look at their “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” policy to find out.

In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow any organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence, from having a presence on Facebook. This includes organizations or individuals involved in the following:

  • Terrorist activity
  • Organized hate
  • Mass or serial murder
  • Human trafficking
  • Organized violence or criminal activity

We also remove content that expresses support or praise for groups, leaders, or individuals involved in these activities.

Now, I am all for removing anyone having to do with anything in most of these categories. Terrorism? Of course. Mass or serial murder? No doubt. Human trafficking? End it. Organized crime or criminal activity? Delete and report please. Organized hate? Now we’re in a scary place.

Why would I have a problem with organized hate being on this list? Well, it’s certainly not because I am pro-hate. I am not by any means. The problem is with Facebook (and other social media platforms) fluid definition of “hate”.

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar’s continued use of antisemitic tropes are not deemed as hate by social media companies, however the pro-life movie Unplanned was. Further, as we are seeing more and more, one side of actual political debate is seen as hate. Don’t believe it? Simply look at the current debate about illegal immigration in America. It seems if anyone has an idea other than open borders, then that point is seen as “racism” and “hate”.

And who are these people that have actually been banned by Facebook? Why, it is not the Antifa accounts which call for the beating of citizens in the streets, or those that actually stage a mob outside of Fox News television show hosts. No, it is a series of conservative voices. From political pundits to college professors to religious groups. These are the people which Facebook deems as voices of organized hate.

Now, do you agree with those voices that have been banned? Probably not. I certainly don’t. I certainly don’t find the likes of Alex Jones or Milo Yiannopoulos to be to my liking, or even entertaining. But they were but the first. We have seen far more moderate voices deplatformed in the last few months. I don’t believe that even the most extreme among those banned are deserving of threats of violence or death. Sadly, Facebook’s own community guidelines will seemingly allow for that.

It doesn’t get much more extreme than justifying threats of violence and death over political thought. Facebook’s claim of “preventing offline harm” is a transparent method to further silence those that they don’t agree with. And this time, it seems those that are banned, can also look forward to Facebook allowing death threats to be lobbed at them via the platform.

Read Facebook’s Community Standards here.

Brad

Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

Top