In the wake of a terrorist attack in London earlier this month, a U.S. congressman wrote a Facebook post in which he called for the slaughter of “radicalized” Muslims. “Hunt them, identify them, and kill them,” declared U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican. “Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”
Higgins’ plea for violent revenge went untouched by Facebook workers who scour the social network deleting offensive speech.
But a May posting on Facebook by Boston poet and Black Lives Matter activist Didi Delgado drew a different response.
“All white people are racist. Start from this reference point, or you’ve already failed,” Delgado wrote. The post was removed and her Facebook account was disabled for seven days.
A trove of internal documents reviewed by ProPublica sheds new light on the secret guidelines that Facebook’s censors use to distinguish between hate speech and legitimate political expression. The documents reveal the rationale behind seemingly inconsistent decisions. For instance, Higgins’ incitement to violence passed muster because it targeted a specific sub-group of Muslims — those that are “radicalized” — while Delgado’s post was deleted for attacking whites in general.
Defining which groups and subgroups it's OK to defame and which it's not is never, ever going to end well. If anything, in the two examples given, one incites violence and wouldn't be protected by free speech; and the other is an opinion and is absolutely protected by free speech. So Facebook's ridiculous attempt to censor hate is completely ignoring the actual standards we have setup to protect freedom of expression from itself.
Stop trying to censor opinions and stick to limiting calls to violence as outlined in the Amendment which everyone agreed was priority number one. This concept that if it's ok to discuss one group it has to be ok to discuss another is such a fundamental aspect of society that it literally is one of the driving themes of my latest pod with Steve Harreld, despite the topic being cartoons!