Facebook community standard policies are both infuriating and confusing. Back in my days as a racist member of the Tea-Party I dropped ‘N’ bombs directed at Collin Kaepernick and his supporters, calling them America-hating traitors. I called Black Lives Matter a domestic terrorist organization and called my “friends” who were black and voted Democrat Uncle Toms for not supporting “the party that ended slavery…the Republican Party.” Sure, several people defriended me, but the Facebook police never came running my way. At no point was I given a suspension for being racist.
Now, however, I have been suspended multiple times and I have had to create new profiles because Facebook deemed the phrase “white-fragility” and the sentence “white people are showing how fragile they are right now” as racist hate-speech. Facebook has also flagged and suspended my account for hate speech for saying “white-people who are comparing wearing a mask to the holocaust are fragile pieces of anti-Semitic shit.” These offenses got me 7 days, 14 days and 30-day suspensions respectively.
Meanwhile, my colleague Matthew Barlow, got a notice that one of his posts included hate speech. Barlow, who is Canadian, was joking with a friend of his who was laughing at his own Canadian inflections. having grown up in a border town. Barlow jokingly called him “a fucking Canadian,” and for this, was flagged.
Now I get it. Sure, my political posts are over the top and annoying and I can see why people who just want to use Facebook for some escapism would hate my post or de-friend me – that, I understand. But what I do not understand is Facebook’s decision to suspend me for being anti-racist when it not suspend me for being racist when I was a RWNJ. Nor does it make sense to flag a Canadian jokingly mocking his country as using hate speech. It is all beyond bullocks.
I can get suspended for calling antisemites and racists antisemitic and racist but nothing happens to my “friends” who post QAnon and QMap articles claiming that Wayfair is selling children as sex slaves. People who call out racism can be suspended for calling out racism, but people can share debunked articles and memes claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax… in the middle of a pandemic! White nationalists openly recruit on the platform, racists drop the n-word, and antisemites threaten a new Holocaust, and Facebook does nothing.
My issue with Facebook’s suspension of my accounts for a community standards violation isn’t that I am being suspended, but that people whose opinions are both dangerous and hateful are allowed to spew their hate and misguided mis-information without consequences. Worse yet, Facebook permits lies and misinformation that encourage people to refuse to wear masks in public – not only putting their lives at risk. but also the lives of others in. And the lies and hate that Facebook deems acceptable are the very reason why many people are rejecting the message of Black Lives Matter. How can Facebook say that they develop standards meant to protect their community when speech that tears the Facebook community apart and leads to the death of our fellow Americans is allowed on their platform?
Facebook’s community standards and policing of hate speech shows that it does not in fact care about hate speech. Hate speech from the president and his supporters is freely permitted, while those of us who condemn hate, racism, sexism, antisemitism, and all other forms of bigotry are silenced.
Come on Zuckerberg… do better.