SJWs Aren’t Taking Away Your Free Speech; Facebook Is!


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[Image credit: @IGotZuckedTees]

 

[CN: Transphobia, Slurs, Rape Threats]

Oh hello! Apart from my podcast, I haven’t really updated this page in a while. I’ve been HELLA BUSY lately with school and work. In fact, I was hoping to launch a side project podcast a few weeks ago, but life happened so you’ll have to wait a few more weeks for the big reveal.

For now, though, I want to talk about something that’s been happening to my Facebook friends for the past month. There are a lot of people on the Internet who claim that social justice activists like myself are trying to suppress people’s free speech rights. While there may be a few regressives who fit the bill (there are assholes in ALL communities), most activists in my circle believe that you can’t have social justice without free speech. In fact, right now it looks like the best threat to free speech is Facebook.

For starters, my friend Stephanie Guttormson was banned from Facebook for a month after she wrote this (and I’m paraphrasing because the post no longer exists):

Women wear boys’ clothes

Society: “Eh, whatever.”

Trans women exist

Society: “Ugh, faggots!”

Now even if you didn’t know Guttormson is transgender, it’s pretty obvious that she’s saying our society has a double standard when it comes to trans rights and gender nonconformity. It’s a reflection of what our society thinks, not what she thinks. And unfortunately, people do say the Other F-Word. But since her post included that naughty word, she was banned for a month.

Likewise, my friend Damien AtHope was briefly banned from Facebook after, according to him, he posted an atheist meme that contained pictures of the Holocaust, and one picture had a naked man. Apparently Facebook was more disturbed by a penis than mass genocide. Go fig.

Then there was the time Seth Andrews, Sarah Morehead, and JT Eberhard were temporarily blocked from Facebook for “bullying” (a.k.a. criticizing religion).

And then there’s the case of an infamous TERF who is getting posts removed and accounts blocked for simply referring to her as a “fake goth.” Here is a woman who makes a living doxxing trans women (it’s never trans men for some reason) and making life hell for trans people, and she’s mad that people are calling her names on the Internet. The funny part is she claims to be a lawyer, but as far as I know (please fact check me) hurting someone’s feelings isn’t a criminal offense.

Meanwhile, someone made a fake Facebook page impersonating my friend Danielle Muscato, and Facebook hasn’t done shit about it. I also have friends who claim they reported people sending them rape threats on Facebook, but to no avail.

Really, Facebook? Really???

Now anyone who knows me knows I don’t do the whole “PC Culture Is Ruining Everything” bullshit, but you really have to wonder about Facebook’s priorities. In fact, I’d say at this point if the free speech advocates need something to blog about, some random person on the Internet who says the word “stupid” is ableist is the least of their concerns.

Comments

  1. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The funny part is she claims to be a lawyer, but as far as I know (please fact check me) hurting someone’s feelings isn’t a criminal offense.

    Depends on the country, and depends on exactly what sort of semantic meaning you want to attach to those words. For example, just a few days ago, I learned that if one publicly insults someone else in Germany, then one has civil / criminal liability (I forget which). I was told that it was vitally important to never tell a cop to their face that they’re an asshole, and instead one has to phrase it as a question “Are you an asshole?”.

    For the United States, I’m finding it hard to think of any sort of civil or criminal liability for merely hurting someone’s feelings via speech. The closest that I can come is the bullshit civil action of “false light” which exists in about half the US states.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_light

    And of course, there is defamation. AFAIK, in principle that has to do with damage to a person’s public reputation, but in conversations like this IMHO it’s good to bring up that defamation is a thing.

    PS: I am not a lawyer.

  2. says

    Oddly enough, if you report anything that’s misogynist, homophobic, or transphobic, FB will tell you that it “doesn’t violate community standards” (even though it does, in fact, violate FB’s own stated TOS.” (But gods help you if there’s even a hint of nipple…)

  3. says

    Isn’t FB like a blog – a service provided by a private entity? I don’t see how “free speech” applies to FB at all; it’s more like “my house, my rules, and if you don’t like it – my door.”

    Relying on FB’s infrastructure instead of private blogs and sites was a strategic mistake all along. Given that you can own your own site for not very much, putting yourself under FB’s thumb is dumb.

  4. Old Rockin' Dave says

    You’re spot on. I reported a post for hate speech – on a page that asked posters to name the next superhero they wanted in a movie, one guy answered “Jew Taker”. Didn’t violate their standards.
    The next one went on a “Jews control everything” rant. Didn’t violate, etc.
    For years there have been protests and demands to take down a page called “Jewish Ritual Murder”, in other words the blood libel that has been an excuse for murdering Jews for centuries. Hundreds of protests, the Anti-Defamation League, and several Congresspeople have all failed to budge FB.
    I know others who have reported other racist, anti-LGBTQ, or violently misogynistic posts to no effect.
    I don’t know how they screen these things. My best guess is that they use an algorithm that checks a database of forbidden words and takes the posts down only if they match up. If you ask for a review, I suspect that there are people at the next level, maybe in the Philippines or Bangalore, who are proficient in English but lack knowledge of context.
    At least I hope it’s something like that. The thought that any of that garbage gets through by someone’s deliberate choice is seriously disturbing.

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