Top Leaderboard, Site wide
August 23, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates








Truthdig Bazaar
Havana Nocturne

Havana Nocturne

By T.J. English
$18.45

more items

 
Arts and Culture

Hate Groups Losing Face on Facebook

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on May 11, 2009
ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com/Jacob Botter

A debate over freedom of speech on Facebook has shaken up the web this past week. The controversy centers on use of the social media site by such entities as Holocaust denial groups.

In a recent interview with CNN, Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt expressed the site’s desire “to be a place where people can discuss all kinds of ideas, including controversial ones,” but drew the line at groups that incite violent behavior.

The recent removal of two Holocaust denial groups indicates that Facebook is imposing a few caveats on the formerly free-wheeling site.

The Christian Science Monitor:

“It’s been a rocky year for the kids over at Facebook, who have weathered complaints about their new interface, and a wave of assaults from increasingly savvy hackers. The latest debacle? A brawl over free speech.

At issue are pages maintained by a community of Holocaust deniers, which have raised the ire of critics here and abroad. The loudest voice of protest belongs to Brian Cuban, an attorney and the brother of Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban. For months, Cuban has been trying to rally users against the proliferation of public groups such as the “Holocaust is a Holohaux.” Until recently, Facebook management remained silent.”

Read More


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By WriterOnTheStorm, May 15, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Folktruther writes:

“Zionists have mythicized the Holocaust, to the exclusion of other people being murdered, the Roma, homsexuals, disabled people, and above all socialists, communists, and political dissidents against the Nazies”

The most salient point in the thread. Because any interpretation of those events that diverges from the myth is now construed as potential holocaust denial.

The strictly exclusive claim to victimhood at the hands of the Nazis is a critical component of both the Jewish narcissistic identity as yaweh’s favorite folks, and a key weapon in the PR battle for hearts and minds that goes on even at sites like TD.

The argument says that because of the unspeakable crimes committed against the Jews in the Holocaust, they are entitled to receive special dispensation. They are not to be held to the same standards of conduct.

We must understand that they are afraid of another holocaust, the argument goes, that’s why they lash out against others in the middle east. That is why they should have nuclear armaments, while all others must be denied the same ‘defenses’, by force if necessary. This is why they must have a land of their own.

This is what Finkelstein refers to as the ‘holocaust industry’. But this special status rising from a one-eyed interpretation of a unique historical event is bound to cause resentment, leading some to sympathize with a counter-argument based on hatred.

There’s no excuse for holocaust denial, but there is no excuse for it’s corollary either: the systematic oppression of others in the name of the holocaust. And that holds true, wether it’s bulldozing a home, or taking a page off facebook.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 14, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

“In what ways does the current administration contribute to this pre-Nazi like condition?”

that is still being determined, but they came in office with full-force Fascism almost in place. They have so far, not been able to stop its advance.

Report this

By Folktruther, May 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

the Holcaoust is an historical event; it happened or it didn’t. A huge number of people were masacred, that number being estimated by historians. Including my grandparents for being Jews.  Jew were killed by poison gas in death chambers, or they wern’t. Any historical instance of reality should be permitted by anyone at any time in any way.  Becuase historians have lied their heads off about history, usually by what they don’t say.

Zionists have mythicized the Holocaust, to the exclusion of other people being murdered, the Roma, homsexuals, disabled people, and above all socialists, communists, and political dissidents against the Nazies.  Ziofascists are strongly in favor of censorship, firing people from their jobs, and lying routinely about historical events.

Also the Christian religion particularly has inculcated anti-semisism in its doctrine, and this has fused with the religous right wing’s pro-Zionism which is supported by Aipac, etc.  Zionism is a strong force for civil oppression in the US, as it is in Israel against the Palestinians.

Alexis however appears to sincerely not distinguish between what is true, i.e. an historical event, and the political values of the people discussing it.  This may be common in the US.  In Europe they actually put historians in prison for stating what they think is true in history, probably dominated by Zionist thought.

Allowing people to discuss what is true, indeed encouraging it, is essential to any form of real democracy, as opposed to the fake capitalist kind.  However allowing the KKK, Nazies, etc or any group with a history of racist terrorism to demonstrate is a form of racism. In the US, just belonging to the KKK should be a crime.

In the US mainstream truth, allowing racists, like Zionists,  platforms, special priviledges, and censhorship of historical events is one of the major reasons that the American people are so clueless and deluded.

Report this

By Hammersmith, May 14, 2009 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

I agree w/ Ed H. but I believe the insistence on treating the Holocaust as sacrosanct anytime individuals or groups question popular perceptions of those events is mideval and antiliberal (that is with a small “l”).  The idea that individuals in other countries are imprisoned for disputing the currently accepted accounts of the Holocaust should enrage Americans.  American’s obsession with the subject of the Holocaust and their narrowminded intolerance of questioners bespeaks Americans’ true nature.  You think you are better and smarter that fundamentalist protestant ignoramuses but you are just like them.

Report this

By Skwid, May 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when have people been subjected to anything on face book or anyother website, TV station, radio broadcast, or newspaper? If you don’t agree with or like what’s presented to you, don’t watch, listen or read. QUIT ACTING LIKE A VICTIM.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, May 14, 2009 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

Indeed, the colossal Nazi mass murder of Jews did happen, and it was every bit as horrible as any crime that could be imagined. But it doesn’t justify making any exception whatsoever to the principle of free political speech. That’s what lots of Jews don’t seem to be able to get their heads around: the Holocaust does not confer on Israel or on Jews in general any special exceptions to enlightened democratic principles whatsoever. In fact, it only confirms the wisdom and universality of those principles.

Report this

By Hammersmith, May 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

In what ways does the current administration contribute to this pre-Nazi like condition?

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 14, 2009 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

What we are saying here, Hammersmith, is not that the Holocaust did not happen.

It happened alright in every single horrible, inhumane detail.

What we are saying is that we are super-alarmed, that we have reached the point where the ethical condition of our Country,

is identical to pre-Nazi Germany

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 14, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Give me a freaking break,

a Holocaust denier, on Truthdig.

Sick!

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

this is so scary!! that is why I wonder about this Face Book initiative.

And you know what? The California First Amendment Coalition (and Wired magazine), while blasting HR 1966, are not saying one word about HR 256, the hate crimes bill.

You would think they’d be screaming about the assault to Free Speech but nothing.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, May 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

re: By Virginia777, May 13 at 7:43 pm:

Indeed, Virginia. This “hate crimes” bill has been hijacked by pro-
Israel zealots as a means of criminalizing any appropriately scathing criticism of Israel.

And you know what? There probably isn’t any way to rewrite this legislation so that it will be invulnerable to this kind of exploitation by Israel’s nominally “American” devotees.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

This Facebook issue is sounding a little too close to the upcoming Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, HR 256, which is really scary censorship!!

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts05072009.html

That said, I support HR 1966, to prosecute cyberbullies.

I have been the victim of one myself and I do not think that these people should keep being able to severely harass and bully other people, completely free from accountability or prosecution.

Report this

By Free Speech, May 13, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can’t say what’s worse, censorship or pretend free-fora. Here I quote Truthdig’s own privacy policy:  “When you visit Truthdig, our systems collect basic information about your computer, including Internet Protocol Address, operating system, browser software, Internet Service Provider. We also collect information about what you view on the Web Site.”

Can anyone say “creepy?”

Report this

By KDelphi, May 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

alexis—I was sortve being facetious…I meant that, if you censor others, you wil have no recrouse when it happens to you (and it will)

Those that would give up liberty for a little safety deserve neither. (paraphrase) Who said that? Franklin? In any case, they were correct.
The time for cowardice is past, if there ever was one.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, May 13, 2009 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Alexis writes:

“The venom in your words belongs on one of those pages Facebook rightly refuses to host.”

It’s not enough for Alexis to have the freedom to say that some remark is venomous or hateful or wrong.

That doesn’t give her enough protection.

What if some people don’t agree with her, and take the side of the person who said the unacceptable thing? What if some people are not persuaded by her condemnation of the speaker? Alexis must be protected from having to risk this.

The sayers of bad things must be shut up before they can be heard. Alexis doesn’t see what could possibly go wrong with this approach to civil liberties.

Report this

By ardee, May 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

alexis, May 13 at 1:29 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

The issue is whether it is proper for Facebook to deny extreme bigots a platform on its pages to disseminate their hate, not that such expressions of hate constitute a threat of immediate violence. By your reasoning an elementary school PTA newsletter should also host hate-mongers, bigots, racists, Nazis, Jihadi Muslims, and other undesirables simply because they are out there. Nonsense.
........................................

I believe the issue to be a larger one than you posit. (I wonder if you read the offending pages you so eloquently attack?) Even if these posts were filled with hatred and bigotry they are still protected speech under the law. Certainly Facebook was within its legal rights to rid themselves of those people, at least under current law. But certainly such speech as that was more apt to a medium like Facebook than to your example of a school newsletter. That is just emotionalism sans rationality I fear.

But the real issue here is who has the wisdom to ban speech? Who has the authority to tell me what I may say publicly and what I may not? Where does that right end? Today I may not insult a religion, tomorrow I may not insult the President.

Thanks but no thanks, censorship leads quickly to a place none of us wish to be.

Report this

By alexis, May 13, 2009 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ed Harges:

There is nothing about “Holocaust denial” that constitutes per se an incitement to violence, and certainly not one so direct and immediate that it cannot be permitted

The issue is whether it is proper for Facebook to deny extreme bigots a platform on its pages to disseminate their hate, not that such expressions of hate constitute a threat of immediate violence. By your reasoning an elementary school PTA newsletter should also host hate-mongers, bigots, racists, Nazis, Jihadi Muslims, and other undesirables simply because they are out there. Nonsense.
—————————————-

As usual, Jewish sensibilities are favored above everyone else’s. Freedom of speech means freedom to offend anyone, especially politically, or it means nothing.

Why do you say the holocaust is only a matter for Jewish sensibilities? How very callous of you, to put it mildly. The extermination of 6 million innocents, regardless of their faith or nationality, should be a concern of any thinking, feeling human being.

Again, the issue isn’t freedom of speech but of propriety and appropriateness. Freedom of speech necessarily includes freedom FROM speech.
—————————————

Banning “Holocaust denial” is not about preventing another “Holocaust ®”- it’s about protecting the fabulously lucrative franchise which Zionists have made of this horrifying tragedy.

The holocaust wasn’t so much a tragedy as it was a crime of immense proportions. The venom in your words belongs on one of those pages Facebook rightly refuses to host.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, May 13, 2009 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

There is nothing about “Holocaust denial” that constitutes per se an incitement to violence, and certainly not one so direct and immediate that it cannot be permitted - unless we say that calling gay marriage a threat to society, for example, constitutes per se an incitement to violence, one so direct and immediate that it cannot be permitted.

As usual, Jewish sensibilities are favored above everyone else’s. Freedom of speech means freedom to offend anyone, especially politically, or it means nothing.

Banning “Holocaust denial” is not about preventing another “Holocaust ®”- it’s about protecting the fabulously lucrative franchise which Zionists have made of this horrifying tragedy.

Report this

By alexis, May 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By KDelphi, May 12 at 6:08 pm #

Anyone who endorses censorship deserves to be censored.

Please tell us you are being facetious. We are posting at Truthdig, after all. Far too many here post statements like that with serious intent.

Report this

By alexis, May 12, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when is holocaust denial ‘political expression’?

.....more accurately since when isnt it? Those who express such denials do so precisley because it dovetails with their political philosophy, and their antisemitism as well no doubt.

OK, I agree with you here; promoting holocaust denial can only be politics if one’s position is that of Nazis and jihadi Muslims. 
—————————-

And why should people of good conscience be subjected to antisemitic venom on websites like Facebook?

......that very same argument can be used to censor or ban any thought word or deed you find offensive..Can you say, slippery slope? By the by, I do nto go to Facebook but my granddaughter who does notes that their are any number of anti Arab and anti Moslem comments as well. Have these also been banned?

You missed the point. This article is specifically referring to “pages maintained by a community of Holocaust deniers”, not the occasional comment on someone else’s page on Facebook. There is a huge difference here regarding the propriety of hosting Nazi pages and scattered comments. It is reasonable to expect and demand that Facebook police it’s own product where practicable; Nazi and Jihadi hate pages should not be allowed to fly under the radar, but it would be unreasonable to expect every comment on every thread to be monitored.
—————————————

Yeah, living in a true democratic society can be messy as hell, dontcha know. But the alternative sucks big time!

Right - good paraphrase of Winston Churchill: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

Nevertheless, a fair, just, and tolerant society would never require any journals, websites, or publishing houses to host and promote anything deemed objectionable by the respective owners. After all, true ‘freedom of speech’ entails freedom FROM speech. Let the Nazis publish their own hate if they have to.

Report this

By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who endorses censorship deserves to be censored.

Neo-liberals sure raised hell when Bush tried to censor, and, keep “questionable citizens lists”...and rightly so. If they dont hold others to the same standards, then, they are hypocrits.

Report this

By ardee, May 12, 2009 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

alexis, May 12 at 8:50 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee -

Since when is holocaust denial ‘political expression’?

.....more accurately since when isnt it? Those who express such denials do so precisley because it dovetails with their political philosophy, and their antisemitism as well no doubt.

And why should people of good conscience be subjected to antisemitic venom on websites like Facebook?

......that very same argument can be used to censor or ban any thought word or deed you find offensive..Can you say, slippery slope? By the by, I do nto go to Facebook but my granddaughter who does notes that their are any number of anti Arab and anti Moslem comments as well. Have these also been banned?

Your post implies that refusal to host those who abuse Facebook’s terms of agreement is somehow a “trending away from the ideals of liberty and freedom”. That’s nonsense. There is a proliferation of Nazi, white supremacist, and radical Muslim websites denying the holocaust on the web, in print, on the radio, and even on television if you can get broadcasts from Iran and much of the Arab world. If Facebook exercises good judgement they will decide they have no obligation to be a party to the dissemination of bigotry. The haters are free enough to do that on their own.
.........

Yeah, living in a true democratic society can be messy as hell, dontcha know. But the alternative sucks big time!

Report this

By jonr, May 12, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Freedom of speech on Facebook?!?”
I wasn’t aware of standards requiring websites, including this one, to post whatever anyone wants to contribute.  That’s why there are such things as “comment policies” and “terms and conditions” and “moderators.”
If it’s good enough for Truthdig…

Why is this even an issue?  Slow news day, or what?

Is there a “free speech requirement” to post my comment?  Or, is it posted only because the moderator in charge today thought it to be such an excellent and worthy comment?  (That’s either irony bordering on sarcasm, or vice-versa.)

Report this

By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

ITW—Being anti-censorhip , for whatever reasons, even if it is simply because someone “amuses” you, is ok with me.

Just stop censoring.

You’ll survive.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, May 12, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, May 12 at 1:43 pm #

google and ISP’s already censor enough.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), (paraphrase)

“She might, however, have misquoted two lines from Samuel Butler’s (1612-1680) ginormous 17th-century poem Hudibras. Part III, Canto iii, lines 547-550 read thus:

He that complies against his will

Is of his own opinion still

Which he may adhere to, yet disown,

For reasons to himself best known “


We should not be punishing people for what they might do…a “private” website can censor,but, there are many public (so-called non-profit sites) that censor all the time. This is our tax money.

Who knows what they will “censor” next?
*************************************************

Well, I hope it’s not Fadel. I’d lose a great source of entertainment.  From his loony paranoia which even Jewish and Russian paranoia can’t match, to his fabulous fantasy history, to his insistence that anyone who disagrees with him is ugly (hey lots of reactionary loonies are quite pretty—it’s their IDEAS that are ugly), to his threats to kill me on the field of battle, I’d really miss it!

Kind of like Folktruther’s fantasies about my posts that never took place. Their inanity is part of the spice of life!

Report this

By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

google and ISP’s already censor enough.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), (paraphrase)

“She might, however, have misquoted two lines from Samuel Butler’s (1612-1680) ginormous 17th-century poem Hudibras. Part III, Canto iii, lines 547-550 read thus:

He that complies against his will

Is of his own opinion still

Which he may adhere to, yet disown,

For reasons to himself best known “


We should not be punishing people for what they might do…a “private” website can censor,but, there are many public (so-called non-profit sites) that censor all the time. This is our tax money.

Who knows what they will “censor” next?

Report this

By alexis, May 12, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

fadel abdallah - you wrote:

“Again, under the Zionists’ pressure and censorship, Facebook was forced to remove the comments of Holocaust deniers, yet they continue to allow “Death to Arabs” groups to spew their venomous bigotry. And yet you continue to see many sons and daughters of bitches who deny that Israeli Zionists control every aspect of American life.”

Where is your proof of “Zionists’ pressure and censorship”?

Please link to “Death to Arabs” groups on Facebook. I think you just made that up.

So “Israeli Zionists control every aspect of American life”? A bit hysterical and paranoid, I think. It’s also odd that your outrage is directed at phantoms rather than the very real obscenity of the holocaust deniers. Why is that?

Report this

By Dave24, May 12, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

If private companies and institutions, such as Facebook, wish to censure content on their own site, I see nothing wrong with this.

It’s only when government imposes censorship through public policy that it becomes a problem.

Report this

By Jaded Prole, May 12, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

. . .but drew the line at groups that incite violent behavior. “

Does this mean that Republicans will be banned!?

Report this

By Fadel Abdallah, May 12, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

Again, under the Zionists’ pressure and censorship, Facebook was forced to remove the comments of Holocaust deniers, yet they continue to allow “Death to Arabs” groups to spew their venomous bigotry. And yet you continue to see many sons and daughters of bitches who deny that Israeli Zionists control every aspect of American life.

Report this

By alexis, May 12, 2009 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee -

Since when is holocaust denial ‘political expression’?

And why should people of good conscience be subjected to antisemitic venom on websites like Facebook?

Your post implies that refusal to host those who abuse Facebook’s terms of agreement is somehow a “trending away from the ideals of liberty and freedom”. That’s nonsense. There is a proliferation of Nazi, white supremacist, and radical Muslim websites denying the holocaust on the web, in print, on the radio, and even on television if you can get broadcasts from Iran and much of the Arab world. If Facebook exercises good judgement they will decide they have no obligation to be a party to the dissemination of bigotry. The haters are free enough to do that on their own.

Report this

By ardee, May 12, 2009 at 3:11 am Link to this comment

I wonder if this is a trending away from the ideals of liberty and freedom? Do I believe that the holocaust was a myth? Of course not, I grew up in a neighborhood wherein there were folks with numbers tattooed on their forearms and stories of unspeakable horror. But I support fully the rights of all to hold opinions contrary to accepted norms, further I believe this nation must, if it is to be true to the intent of the founders, allow Nazis to march and demagogues to rant.

There is no better arbiter of truth than public debate and the light of reason applied to all forms of political expression. Only when things remain in the dark cant hey fester and grow stronger.

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.