Mark Zuckerberg the openly liberal billionaire founder of Facebook has been facing mounting criticism lately from the right, for what they claim to be a “fascist” attack on their freedom of speech and expression after several “anti islam” pages set-up on the social network were removed for breaching the sites strict anti “hate speech” terms of service.
Britain First, the right-wing political party who were particularly vocal about their views on anti-immigration and Islam, are now funding a legal appeal against Facebook, claiming that the removal of their own Facebook page is a “violation of the freedom of expression to over 1 million supporters” who had liked the page since its inception.
Donald Trump has brought the issue and concerns that many feel are justified about immigration to the forefront of his political campaign, and whilst admittedly some of his views have been controversial, it appears that he is not alone, as is evident with his staggering 20 point lead ahead of his nearest competitor in the race for the White House.
It appears that Zuckerberg may have heavily misjudged the opinions of what is now a majority in America, and still continues to side with the liberal narrative by openly pledging his support to the global Muslim population in the wake of a rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment worldwide.
“If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you,” Zuckerberg writes.
You have to wonder whether Zuckerberg’s priorities at pushing his own political agenda are somewhat mis-guided, considering the current threat that ISIS and other Islamic terror groups pose. Whilst pages that are deemed to be “Islamaphobic” are quickly reported and removed, it appears very little is being done to tackle the spread of extremist pro ISIS rhetoric or combat the recent trend of online radicalisation by terror groups using the site for their own gain.
Facebook even recently went as far as to publicly refuse to take down a known ISIS terror group fan page with over 6000 members titled “Shia Ibn E Mutta” (a derogatory term for Shia marriages), despite numerous reports from outraged Facebook users.
Facebook says; “We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
Clearly Facebook is somewhat selective as to how they apply their “community standards”, but it has left many scratching their heads as to understand the logic behind allowing a group which Al Qaeda themselves branded “too extreme” to be allowed to continue preaching hatred openly on the site.
It’s interesting to note that Zuckerberg’s position on “freedom of speech” appears to change depending on what current events are taking place at the time. Immediately after the Charlie Hebdo massacre for example, the social media CEO said that Facebook will remain “committed” to providing a service where users can express their opinions and beliefs, “freely without fear of violence”, even if the content causes offence. So why the U-turn?
Ultimately, Zuckerberg is allowed to do what he wants, it’s his site after all, and as they are not a government bound by the constitution, they can ban whatever they like, but I can’t help but feel that he should be more consistent in what is deemed to violate the sites code of conduct, even if it is “bad for business”. The public opinion now is increasingly becoming frustrated by political correctness, and those that may have previously remained silent on issues of immigration or religion are now standing up for their right to disagree, which should be encouraged and not stifled.
Admittedly, Facebook has an almost impossible job of moderating a site with over 1.55 billion monthly active users, but targeting high-profile right wing organisations on Facebook to make it appear on the surface that Facebook are in control and appease liberal sensibilities does nothing to tackle the real threat of genuine extremist organisations that are using the site to actively enrol young impressionable muslims into their violent ideology and carry out violent attacks of unspeakable terrorism. This should be the priority without question.