Facebook’s news release virtue signalling against “white nationalism” and “white separatism” appears to be a response to New Zealand’s calls for regulation and changes to the platform.
After repeated calls for Facebook and other social media platforms to develop systems to remove extremist content more quickly, permanently disable users’ ability to live stream, and a boycott from the New Zealand Advertisers and Commercial Communications Council, Facebook unveiled a new plan to ban all “white nationalist” and “white separatist” opinions on the platform.
While Facebook did not reference the Christchurch mosque shooting in its press release, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden went on record saying she believes the change is directly due to the attack, and added that she believes it is not enough.
The Straits Times reports that Arden commended it as a positive step, but said that “there is more work to do” to prevent further tragedies. She also claimed she is interested in “preserving a free, open” Internet even with her calls for censorship, and calls from her countrymen for an end to live streaming on the social media platform.
In nearby Australia, legislators warned Facebook and other Big Tech companies that hate speech posted to their platforms could land owners and board members in jail if they do not remove it quickly enough. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed a stunning lack of technological understanding in the process, saying that Facebook should be able to remove hate speech as quickly as they serve ads.
As Big League Politics reported, the change to Facebook’s policy represents only a marginal change to the platform’s hate speech guidelines, as it always banned white supremacist content. However, Facebook also intends to ban some speech critical of immigration, which could have vast repercussions for anyone concerned about the waves of migrants currently overwhelming Western countries.
The company has come under repeated fire from the right for censorship of conservative voices, especially after the temporary bans of former Breitbart London editor Raheem Kassam, and the new media giant ZerhoHedge. They recently banned Kassam and ZeroHedge, only to reverse the bans after international backlash from conservative voices including the United Kingdom’s Nigel Farage and President Donald J. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
Facebook is also under fire from the right down under, after the company banned Australian new media personality Avi Yemini for posting an unredacted version of a Comedy Central hit piece, in which host Jim Jeffries made discriminatory and hateful remarks against Muslims and Islam.
While Yemini was banned for revealing Jeffries’ true opinions on Islam, the Comedy Central video smearing Yemini remains on the platform.
In the United States, a Florida bill would allow the state government to fine Facebook and other social media companies up to $75,000 if the company was found to have censored the political or religious speech of its residents.
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