A picture of Adolf Hitler cooking a Jew in an oven is the latest picture on Facebook to be deemed ‘not offensive’ by the social network as a group of users continue to demand a public meeting with Facebook representatives claiming the site is actively permitting content that incites racial and homophobic hatred to go unchecked.
Three weeks after its creation, the group “Facebook –No To Hatebook”, has attracted over 8000 members from around the world, and has claimed some success after multiple complaints in forcing the network to take down pages or content on pages that range from “HOAX OF GAS CHAMBERS”, “HOMOSEXUALz DESERVE IMMEDIATE DEATH”, “Death To Queers” and “Death to Islam”. However, frequently the pages or the content is put straight back up under a slightly different name.
The Group notes also that the social network’s policies are still preventing the removal of many clearly racist or homophobic pages, with Facebook saying they are ‘not offensive’.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Jonathan Glass said:
“There is now a clear palpable anger growing towards Facebook for the way that its users are being treated. We all love Facebook. It has reconnected us with old friends from around the world and we strongly see it as a force for good.
However, it also provides an outlet for people to spew violent hatred into the world more easily than ever before. This is not Facebook’s fault but it is their responsibility to do its best to remove these pages from its site. And not only are they failing miserably, but they rub salt into the wounds of those who are trying to combat this poison by sending an automatic 20 second response stating that the page does not violate their policies, regardless of clear racism, anti-semitism or homophobia on these pages. The page owners are then able to ban those of us fighting them from their pages, rather than Facebook banning them and their pages.”
Glass goes onto explain how
“There are literally thousands of racist, anti-semitic and anti-gay pages that Facebook delivers around the world,” and while “we are huge believers in free speech, when posts cross the line into incitement and violent threats Facebook has to decide if it wants to be a force for good in this world or a force for evil.”
The group says it has received many public and private messages of support from people and has invited Facebook to explain them in a public forum and for an open dialogue to commence.
The group makes it very clear that they want to be Facebook’s partner in helping combat and remove the hate from the social network and has multiple suggestions on how they may do so which include:
1. Stronger algorithms to pick up and remove hate sites and individual posts on a more timely basis
2. More user support to respond to complains of hatred on a timely basis, improving what appears to currently be an automated non-responsive system
3. Creation of a watch list, which would monitor specific known individuals and organisations who promote and regularly publish hate