When Facebook became popular a dozen years ago, many people heralded it as a platform for free speech. After all, anyone could set up an account for free, and post anything from a selfie, what they had for dinner or opinions on any subject. Fast-forward to 2019 and free speech isn’t so free anymore as most tech companies have vague policies about harmful speech and frequently suspend accounts with no notice or specific reasoning. And the account suspensions have predominately gone in one political direction. I’ll let you guess which way.
Facebook’s policy states that hate speech is “a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity and serious disease or disability. Facebook considers an “attack” when someone uses violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.
A recent example of a standards violation was from Candace Owens who posted: “Black America must wake up to the great liberal hoax. White supremacy is not a threat. Liberal supremacy is.” She was referring to liberal policies that promote high poverty rates in fatherless homes, with Black Americans at the highest rates. There are statistics to back up her claim, but that is not the point. Facebook chose to suspend her account because she criticized liberalism. You can have a fair debate about which policies do or do not help the Black community, but Facebook doesn’t want both sides to be heard.
Let’s analyze if Ms. Owens’ statement violated Facebook’s policy, is ill suited for public consumption, and whether Facebook is inconsistent in how it applies its own rules:
There was no “attack” from Ms. Owens on a protected group. She mentioned Black Americans, but was criticizing liberal policies that affect them. Ms. Owens herself has been called a white supremacist, but you don’t see anyone referring to comments about her as an “attack”.
Was it dehumanizing? Her words can’t be used against her for this particular criteria. I don’t see them as dehumanizing. However, Facebook allows plenty of pro-abortion groups to have their say, and there isn’t anything more dehumanizing than an abortion.
Did she make a statement that someone was inferior? No, there wasn’t anything like that. As you know, Facebook allows plenty of negative comments about President Trump and his supporters being called stupid, mentally unstable, evil Nazi’s, racist, sexist, homophobic and deplorable. It doesn’t look like Facebook really cares about calling those people inferior. I guess they are aren’t on Facebook’s protected list.
Did Ms. Owens call for exclusion and segregation? Nope, I didn’t read that in her post. Yet, Facebook has no issue with “woke” college students wanting dorms to only allow certain minorities or certain days on campus where white people are not welcome (e.g., Evergreen College). Facebook also sees no issue with many in Hollywood calling to boycott filming in the state of Georgia. Those examples sounds like exclusion and segregation, don’t they? So, if Facebook is OK with college students and Hollywood calling for “exclusion”, certainly Ms. Owens shouldn’t be shut down.
Speaking of Hollywood, do you remember when people used to boycott films they didn’t like? Now it is the film industry who want to boycott people they don’t like. Times have changed. Let’s be clear, Hollywood wants to economically hurt Georgia voters over a political and moral issue. They believe Georgia voters are wrong and must be punished. You have to be impressed with their level of obscene arrogance that they know best. I guess I am not surprised since Hollywood is known for high moral standards!
My conclusion is that Ms. Owens didn’t come close to violating any Facebook standards, but she committed a mortal sin: being conservative, and supporting President Trump as a Black woman. However, in complete hypocrisy, Facebook allows plenty of others to violate its policy. Why? Because Facebook agrees with their political statements. Facebook is selectively deciding whose speech is worthy to be heard and whose isn’t. That’s called censorship. We used to worry that the government could exercise its power to censor its citizens. Now the real threat is Mark Zuckerburg. That’s the power of a tech monopoly. Candace Owens has over a million Facebook followers who went to social media to complain about her account suspension and Facebook later restored the account. But what about regular people that don’t have a million followers? What happens when some tech company shuts them down? We’ll never hear about it. Do we really want tech companies deciding whose views are acceptable on social media? I know that I don’t. Facebook and other tech companies like Google, You-Tube and Twitter never give explanations. They’re never sorry. As Rihanna says, they’re just sorry they got caught.