Why Facebook’s censorship rules protect some speech you condemn and forbid some speech you condone

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The headline is misleading, as the article is really about the nuances and challenges Facebook must consider in trying to regulate speech, as the subheadline suggests. A more accurate version would be “Why Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules…”

The rules developed considerable nuance. There is a ban against pictures of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character often used by “alt-right” white supremacists to perpetrate racist memes, but swastikas are allowed under a rule that permits the “display [of] hate symbols for political messaging.” In the documents examined by ProPublica, which are used to train content reviewers, this rule is illustrated with a picture of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that has been manipulated to apply a swastika to his sleeve.

pub. 06/2017

 

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The failures of the term “alt-right”

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But that “joke” is trolling women on Twitter and using violent, code words for black people, Muslims and Jews. They also like to say “glorious,” as in, “glorious” leader Donald Trump, a nod to Hitler’s “fields of glory.”…

…Which is why we are avoiding “alt-right” in favor of white supremacy or white nationalism.

pub. 11/2016

The Nazi history of the “lying media”

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During the first world war, after Germany got a thrashing in foreign newspapers for what they called the “rape of Belgium”, Allied (and especially British) newspapers earned the moniker. That set a usage pattern that holds till today: Lügenpresse refers to any medium that does not reflect the user’s own worldview, and must therefore be propagated by a hated “Other”.

pub. 11/2016