Facebook proved today that you don’t need to violate their rules against hate speech for your page to be removed for alleged hate speech. Facebook reversed a prior decision that a page was not hate speech and decided that it was for no stated reason when it refused to republish the Jeremy Christian Trial page. The page was created to follow the trial of Jeremy Joseph Christian and expose the real story. The real story reveals that Christian was wrongfully convicted of murder and other crimes that are considered hate crimes under the law. It also revealed that several of the alleged victims had lied or made inconsistent statements not supported by video evidence. The jury did not care about the law, so they convicted him on all counts and the judge imposed the maximum because she did not care about the law either.
Facebook’s hate speech guidelines state that you cannot target a person based on them belonging to a protected class. Facebook defines a protected class as:
“We define hate speech as 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.”
As you can see those protected characteristics do not include things like being caught on video lying to the media, committing an uncharged felony against the defendant in an alleged hate crime case, or making statements that are not supported by video evidence. Despite the fact that none of the speech in question fit the Facebook definition of hate speech they chose to unpublish the page for that reason and deleted it on appeal. This move came just one day after they had unpublished the page citing hate speech and re-published it after an appeal.
It seems that Facebook is extending their definition of hate speech without changing the written rule. If someone criticizes a member of a protected class for conduct irrelevant to their status as a member of that class then does Facebook consider that hate speech? Are alleged hate crime victims above criticism? The closest part of the hate speech rule that someone could have mistaken the speech to cover would have been this part:
“Culturally perceived negative character trait, including but not limited to: coward, liar, arrogant, ignorant … Derogatory terms related to sexual activity, including but not limited to: whore, slut, perverts”
Facebook however first claims that they require people to be targeted for a protected characteristic before the prohibition on the above conduct applies. So, targeting someone caught on video telling two different stories a liar is not hate speech just because the liar is black. When a public records search reveals that the same person was charged with prostitution over a decade ago and not convicted, saying that you think the person might be a whore is not hate speech.
There is another section that could be misconstrued to apply to that page, but like the last one it first requires that the person being targeted be targeted based on a protected characteristic. That section includes:
“Mocking the concept, events or victims of hate crimes even if no real person is depicted in an image”
Does Facebook consider disagreeing with a jury verdict in an alleged hate crime case to be hate speech? Is it hate speech to say that you do not believe that the defendant is a white supremacist as alleged and that you don’t think his conduct was racially motivated? Does Facebook consider all jury verdicts to be correct and therefore anyone that says the jury got it wrong in a hate crime trial is mocking the concept, events or victims of hate crimes?
I think that when Facebook extends their definition of hate speech to apply to speech that clearly is not hate speech that they are the ones mocking the concept, events, or victims of hate crimes. By doing that they lump people that disagree with a verdict in with people that support the alleged conduct based on the alleged motives of the defendant. When they do that people that really are posting hate speech can deny it by pointing out that Facebook falsely categorizes a lot of non-hate speech as hate speech and therefore you can’t conclude that someone posted hate speech of Facebook based on the removal.
When Donald Trump recently attacked the Communications Decency Act he made one good point. It was that large social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are monopolizing free speech and abusing that monopoly to censor opposing views. Attacking the CDA is a horribly unconstitutional and inappropriate response to such a monopoly. It is an act that threatens free speech far more than the monopoly itself. It is such a threat that I plan to get off my butt and vote for Joe Biden this year. In 2016 I voted for myself as a write in because I did not like either candidate, but getting rid of Trump has make me like Joe Biden.
I might consider voting for Trump if he were to take a more appropriate approach to combating speech monopolies and censorship. An approach like introducing a bill that would not touch the CDA, but would make it unlawful for any company with a large enough market share to delete any form of speech from their platforms that is not unlawful. That means that if a company life Facebook with the market share that they have were to delete any post they would be breaking the law unless the post being deleted contains content not protected by the First Amendment.
Here is a little bit of evidence showing what I a have been talking about on Jeremy Christian Trial. There is a woman involved in the case named Demetria Hester. The jury found Christian guilty of assaulting Hester with a plastic Gatorade bottle full of booze. He did hit her in the face with the bottle, but the surveillance video shows that she assaulted him with mace before he threw the bottle. If you watch the video embedded at https://copblaster.com/blast/3378/demetria-hester-has-a-criminal-record-and-assaulted-jeremy-christian at about 1:40 in Jeremy turns away from her and starts walking when she maces him, he keeps waking away from her while she follows with the mace, and only after she kept macing him did he turn around and throw what was in his hand at her. Then she stopped macing him and he went home.
Hester lied publicly about the incident by accusing Jeremy of throwing the bottle at her before she maced him. She was called out on this at the trial https://copblaster.com/blast/3388/demetria-hester-admits-to-prior-felony-convictions and it was revealed that she had a history of committing crimes involving dishonesty, but somehow the jury still considered he a credible person.
The only significant change in the case since the page was created was the guilty verdict. Does disputing that verdict constitute hate speech (https://copblaster.com/blast/3399/jeremy-christian-verdict-proves-jurors-dont-care-about-the-law)? Obviously nothing written on it targeted anyone for having protected characteristics. I did write some stuff about how the defendant and alleged victim Micah Fletcher both have the same mental health dual diagnosis (https://copblaster.com/blast/25804/jeremy-christian-sentencing-lwop-fails-to-consider-diminshed-capacity) but that is hardly targeting anyone for being disabled.
Is the reason for the violation that they think the people being criticized would not be in the position to be criticized if it were not for protected characteristics? That would require Facebook to endorse jury verdicts as fact and that would explain whey they did not do anything during the actual trial.
Published at Thu, 25 Jun 2020 16:41:36 +0000