As we posted earlier, we have been on this front of addressing hatred, terrorism, and Holocaust denial on Facebook for a very long time and even had a long telephone conversation with Chris Kelly about the many issues we find on the platform.
When we originally spoke to him, he claimed that a lot of the things in which we took issue represented "legitimate political discourse."
Mr. Kelly wanted to clarify his thoughts on Holocaust denial and wrote to us an email in which he stated the following:
Holocaust denial is obviously repugnant and ignorant. Motivated by hate, it is not always clearly expressed that way. It therefore poses some of the most difficult challenges for any person or company devoted to free speech as a means to bubble up and address such repugnance and ignorance.It's an interesting statement. If Holocaust denial is "motivated by hate" should it not be removed by Facebook, which has rules against hatred?
In an ideal world Facebook, or any individual, could take an action that would firmly address hate once and for all. The policies in Facebook’s statement of rights and responsibilities are, however, designed to operate in the flawed real world. Cloaked hatred is not something those policies can change alone, but they may create circumstances where it is expressed and can be attacked for what it is instead of driving it underground to fester.
Also, is there really such a thing as "free speech" on the internet? After all, Facebook has private rules and community guidelines against hatred, violence, and porn. Facebook is a private company, on private servers. Technically, if something even hints at breaking their rules, they have every right and perhaps even an obligation to remove it, no?
Furthermore, since when is Holocaust denial "cloaked hatred?" Seems pretty overt to us. We've never met a Holocaust denier who was not a hater of Jews. What's the difference between "driving it underground" to fester? And just lettering it fester on Facebook?
If Holocaust denial is a piece of trash, and Facebook is your yard, do you not clean it up because you don't want the trash to infest the garbage can? Makes no sense.
We say let the haters fester all they want "underground." It's better there then in what claims to be some sort of responsible community which has rules against hatred.
No shoes? No socks? No service!
Facebook, like all private companies, is free to take hard line stands in order to enforce its rules. It is a sad reality that they are more aggressive about porn on their platform than they are about Holocaust denial and Jew hatred, and that they continue to rationalize this nonsense.
Posted: Monday, May 11, 2009
Chris Kelly, Chief Privacy Officer @ Facebook: "Holocaust Denial Motivated by Hate"