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Robert Scoble
Facebook employees are openly arguing with Arrington about hate speech. Interesting. I'll chime in later here: -
The Facebook employees are wrong. Net (in the comments) who is a former employee stated it well. - Robert Scoble
I'm so proud at Mike. - Orli Yakuel
totally agree. i can t understand why a Neo-Nazi group is more legal than a Breast-Feeding picture group. this is totally ridiculous and just proves the law is fucked up. Facebook should know it - Ouriel Ohayon
Also, the Facebook employees can't have it both ways. They already censor lots of people and things. To claim that they can't in this case is lame and inconsistent. They take down mothers who are showing themselves breast feeding, for gosh's sake. And now the employees are saying that they need to keep up this hate speech? Really lame, and I really like some of the employees who are defending the company but they are absolutely on the wrong side this time because they don't protect freedom of speech at all, just certain kinds of speech. - Robert Scoble
Ouriel: exactly. Plus, freedom of speech and the first amendment are meant for governments, not companies. Companies don't have to follow the first amendment at all. And there are plenty of places you can put your hate speech, there's no reason that Facebook needs to support that. - Robert Scoble
Now, if Facebook had ALWAYS supported freedom of speech and the first amendment principles THEN I would agree with the employees. But they don't. The company is really screwed on this issue. - Robert Scoble
just wrote a comment on TC: "I am sorry but i don't get this, with all the american jews organization in the world, why has no one sued Facebook already? I don t agree that advertisers should show Facebook the way. The law should. Mike keep up !" - Ouriel Ohayon
Facebook seems to have a seriously skewed idea of free speech, and of what is and isn't acceptable. One of my friends is using a restricted version of the site because FB say she is 'offensive', yet all she has done is tell a few bawdy jokes. Apparently, if she was calling for whole groups of people to be killed, that would be ok. - Kate
So, what's the answer? Yes to boobs or no to Nazis. - Johnny
People mix Freedom of Speech with Anarchy of ideas. Freedom does not mean you can say whatever you want. The limit of freedom is when the right to exist to a group of persons is denied. - Ouriel Ohayon
Johnny: if you're going to argue freedom of speech I just want consistency. If you're going to remove boobs then you gotta remove hate too and be proud of that. On the other hand, if you're going to argue a vigorous defense of freedom of speech (I've done that many times in my career) then you gotta go all the way. Hint: spam is speech. Facebook removes that. Facebook is inconsistent and wrong because of its inconsistency. - Robert Scoble
Are you saying that if you want to engage in hate speech you just need to form a company and then you are exempt. - Marian Pike
Marian: no, I never even thought through that. I just am pointing out that Facebook is inconsistent and therefore it is NOT a vigorous defender of freedom of speech and is wrong in this case to be proud that it's letting the hate speech stay up. Lots of people totally misunderstand the first amendment and freedom of speech, including the three Facebook employees I see posting there. - Robert Scoble
Marian: I find it sad that Facebook pulls down all sorts of content all the time (they removed all my content for 24 hours and these three employees never said a word) yet they let this crap stay up. Inconsistency. That's why Facebook is wrong. - Robert Scoble
Robert, completely agree. I just thought I would just pose the question to the group because in some discussions around this issue that I have seen, some people tend to be good at expressing outrage without then expressing the solution. - Johnny
It is easy to censor images. Words are a whole different issue. Facebook have put themselves in a difficult position. - thinkQuick
Johnny: if it were my company I'd decide up front which road I'm going to go down. Either be a strict first amendment type and resist all attempts to pull down ANY content from the site, or say "we have community standards here and we'll pull down content for any reason, at any time, especially if that content pisses off some of our users." If they took either stance I'd be OK. - Robert Scoble
Freedom of speech has its own limitations. If someone will argue that calling: "Death to the red-head children of Virginia" is allowed by the name of the first amendment, then he/she has problems understanding Democracy boundaries. - Nir Ben Yona
Nir: even in USA freedom of speech has some limitations. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, for instance. - Robert Scoble
Robert, wow, I didn't know the issue is that restricted... - Nir Ben Yona
Indeed. This is a sticky situation they are in... - Johnny
Nir: yup, there are lots of places where you can't say anything you want. Journalism students learn about those in media law. Also, go ahead and threaten death to the President and see what happens. - Robert Scoble
If someone write a comment at your blog that violates your readers and you know that as a result of that something wrong can happen, would you take it off? sure you would. It's practically the same. Freedom of speech is one thing, but if no one is there to take responsibility and control over some of the content, it can lead to a non reversible disaster. I'm actually concern about the situation, and I'm backing Mike on his posts 101%. - Orli Yakuel
In terms of FaceBook, surely, because of it's global reach, there should be some attempt to take into account thwe different laws surrounding freedom of speech and hate-speech around the world, and come to a balanced view? I know these groupd are blocked in Germany & Austria, where such talk is a criminal offence; shouldn't the existence of such laws, and International Law concerning genocide, be taken into account in framing policy regarding this? - Nigel
Orli: actually, in the past, I've taken a strong defense of freedom of speech. Lately, though, I've switched my stance and will take off a variety of speech. Just be consistent about it. Freedom of speech only applies to governments, anyway. - Robert Scoble
Nigel: again, it's consistency that matters. It's perfectly fine to say "we'll keep all content up unless it breaks a law around the world somewhere." Just be consistent, though. Don't take down some content and then say you're defending some principle by keeping other content up. - Robert Scoble
I absolutely agree with Mike on this one...what do other sites like Blogger or Digg do with this type of content? - Anthony Feint
Whether Facebooks censors something or not is up to them, they are a private company. I just wish they were consistent if you are going to use the Freedom of Speech mantra, then you need to apply it across the board and not pick and choose. - Kim Landwehr
I'm appalled to see people like Kyle responding to Arrington's post and saying: "I really don’t understand what’s wrong with hate speech. Of course hate crime is horrible (though really, is it any worse than ‘normal’ crime?), but I fail to see how speech can hurt people. I’m not even going to get into the difficulty of defining what speech ‘hateful’ and what isn’t." This guy doesn't even understand the core value of words and the huge impact they have on societies. As Depeche Mode says: "Words are very unnecessary, They can only do harm." - Nir Ben Yona
By supporting those hate groups, Facebook literally empowers them, and once they'll meet outside of Facebook, it can (and will) lead to irreversible disaster. - Orli Yakuel
I need to seriously consider whether I can continue to use Facebook after seeing the responses to that article. - Donald Forth
Freedom of speech is like freedom of religion. Freedom of religion necessarily implies and includes freedom FROM religion as well. Freedom of speech means freedom from speech, it means I don't have to listen. While it is admirable that Facebook does not want to deny anyone anyone's right to free speech, it is well within Facebook's right to say, "Yes. You have a right to say whatever you like, just not on MY website. You are more than free to create your own hate based social network." - Marvin Price
If sites like Facebook and Twitter want to become "utilities" like electricity or the phone company, they need to figure out a way to remove themselves from the transaction. They're platforms. They're infrastructure. They should provide a system for users to exchange messages and content and for users to filter content as they see fit. They need to get out of the business of "owning" content and controlling what content can and can't be exchanged on their platform. - Ken Sheppardson
Suppose the phone company tried to determine what you could and couldn't talk about with your friends... - Ken Sheppardson
Has no one seen that fb has closed down a Muslim hate group today? Check it out in the technology section. "We disabled the 'I Hate Muslims in Oz' group because it contained an expilcit statement of hate." Why is this double standard allowed? - travispuk
Just to be clear I am not unhappy that they have closed the group, but why not close the neo-Nazi one also and at the same time proclaim that they are protecting free speech! - travispuk
Not the first time they have done this - the first time was on Ezra Callahan's note: - it's a shame most of the comments are now gone (due to notes' 100 comments at a time limit) - there were some classic and overwhelming displays of stupidity. - JIDF
Thanks for keeping this live Scoble. I hesitated for various reasons for a long time to say anything about this hoping that facebook would change their mind. But the seriousness of the matter made me change my mind. - net
The "double standard" is the result of the fact Facebook doesn't exist in a cultural, ethnic, religious or legal vacuum. Its standards reflect those of the employees, and those standards are always going to be in conflict with one group or another trying to use the platform. I can't really think of any belief system that doesn't have some inherent internal inconsistencies, so those bubble up into the policies of the site. You either have to stay out of it completely and be open to everyone or you're going to offend someone. - Ken Sheppardson
Also of interest is how many Facebook employees "liked" the note (including Randi Zuckerberg, who recently threatened to abuse her power @ Facebook: - JIDF
Someone should start a breast-feeding Nazis group and watch Facebook explode from cognitive dissonance. - Akiva
Please checkout/join/support: United Against Holocaust Denial On Facebook: - over 50,000 have joined in less than a month! - JIDF
@Akiva, I just blew Coke through my nose when I read your comment. Wierd image in my mind now of breast feeding neo-Nazis. - travispuk
[courtsies] - Akiva
How much is the value of freedom for you? And who decides for you, what can be published and what cannot be published in the internet? For me as a Facebook user, of course, Facebook has the right to decide - I will and I have to accept their decisions and I will continue to use the service OR NOT! If these Hate Speech Groups/Pages are illegal in US - why are you dont call the Police? Just asking here Facebook to delete these Groups is the same, as if you just ask the owner of the crowded theater to show the "Fire shouting guy" to the door!!! - Arne Krueger
just joined: and if i find such groups - i will press the report button! - Arne Krueger
@Ouriel your context for use of Anarchy word suggests you used it in common vulgar *scarecrow* sense... I'm sorry to say but that's pathetic - Freedom vs Anarchy sounds too lame to me. - A. T.
You can prevent the speech, but none of us can change the heart where it grows. Only God can do that. Education (as in our systems) will only make a person smarter in the way that they already believe. Suppression will only force it underground. Oppression makes it gain adherents. Reason will get you into the "carriage in the Inner Circle" where you will go round and round without getting out at "Gower Street". In short, the madman of reason, "...has lost everything but his/her reason." (Chesterton). No, a complete change of heart is the only solution to the lie (and that is what the real problem is: choosing to believe a lie) that works. - Melanie Reed
melanie that was epic - Tyler Gillies
The biggest question that needs to be asked it what makes denying the Holocaust hate speech? If they present their argument with facts then why is it considered hate speech? - Gavin
Robert, thanks for writing about this. I wrote a paper in my MBA class concerning this issue, and Im glad the discussion is still raging on. Facebook cannot have it both ways. You either monitor all content or none. Once you start removing some content, where do you stop? - Dani Klein