Posted tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook and Twitter censor Jihad Watch, block thousands from reading it

March 3, 2017

Facebook and Twitter censor Jihad Watch, block thousands from reading it, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion by reopening their terror promoting page. — DM)

The facts at hand presumably speak for themselves, but a trifle more vulgarly, I suspect, than facts even usually do.

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 2, 2017: 16,683
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 2, 2017: 1,051

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 6, 2017: 12,882
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 7, 2017: 1,880

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 7, 2017: 23,783
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 7, 2017: 1,718

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 8, 2017: 18,926
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 8, 2017: 1,091

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 9, 2017: 11,914
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 9, 2017: 974

And then the very next day:

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 10, 2017: 2,923
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 10, 2017: 295

The dropoff has continued:

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 20, 2017: 3,408
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 20, 2017: 416

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 27, 2017: 2,369
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 27, 2017: 329

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, March 2, 2017: 1,645
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, March 2, 2017: 206

mark-zuckerberg

Did thousands of people who used to click on Jihad Watch articles from Facebook and Twitter suddenly on February 10 lose interest? Of course not. This is what happened: Facebook and Twitter are censoring Jihad Watch as “hate speech.” Now, I do not accept and will never accept the idea that reporting on jihad activity and Sharia oppression constitutes “hate speech,” but that is, of course, the longstanding claim of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim groups in the West, and has been uncritically adopted by the Left, with which Facebook and Twitter are so firmly aligned.

In reality, what constitutes “hate speech” is a subjective judgment. The label itself is a tool in the hands of the powerful, enabling them to control the discourse and silence dissenters to their agenda. That is ultimately what this is about: the purveyors of the Big Lie always have to shut down those who tell the truth, because they are aware that their whole enterprise rests on a lie and is deeply threatened by the truth. They can only put their lie across by constant repetition and relentless persecution of those who tell the truth. The truth-tellers, in contrast, need not resort to censorship against the liars, for they are confident that the truth, if given a fair hearing, will be obvious and compelling.

The good news in all this is that despite this choking-off of referrals from Facebook and Twitter, Jihad Watch’s overall readership is growing. Apparently many people who used to come here from Facebook and Twitter are finding different avenues. That is very important in general: free people must not accept this censorship, which is a desperate lashing-out of a discredited and weakening political and media elite against an inexorably growing populist revolution. If Facebook and Twitter shut out the truth, then we have to, in large numbers, shut out Facebook and Twitter. That is certainly what I am going to do: while each Jihad Watch post automatically goes up on Facebook and Twitter (for as long as that will last), I will never personally go to either one again.

And despite the ever-decreasing platform for those who dissent from the socialist, globalist, internationalist agenda of these sinister and authoritarian elites, there is every reason to be confident. They have all the money and all the power and all the platforms, and even so, Brexit was voted in, Trump was elected, and much, much more is to come. There is, after all, one weapon they do not have on their side, and that is why, for all their intermediate success, they are doomed to failure: that weapon is, of course, the truth.

“EU Reads Riot Act to Facebook, Twitter, Google Over Hate Speech (FB, GOOG),” by Rakesh Sharma, Investopedia, December 5, 2016:

The European Union has warned Facebook Inc. (FB), Twitter Inc. (TWTR), Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google (GOOG), and Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) that they could face the prospect of hate speech laws, if they fail to clamp down on such speech on their platforms. The companies, which own or run social media platforms with member numbers that run into millions on the continent, had signed a code of conduct to take down instances of offensive and hate speech within 24 hours back in May. (See also: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft Agree To Report Hate Speech To The EU).

According to a new report that quantifies their efforts, the tech behemoths still have some way to go. The report, which will be discussed by EU ministers this week, stated that the companies reviewed 40 percent of reported cases within the first 24 hours and 80 percent within 48 hours. Germany and France saw the highest rates that were “in excess” of 50 percent while only 4 percent and 11 percent of reported posts were removed in Italy and Austria respectively.

“If Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft want to convince me and the ministers that the non-legislative approach can work, they will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months,” Vera Jourova, EU’s justice commissioner, told FT in an interview. (See also: Facebook May Allow Third-Party Groups To Censor Content In China)….

And:

“Google Launches AI Program to Detect ‘Hate Speech,’” by Lucas Nolan, Breitbart, February 23, 2017:

Google has launched a new AI program called Perspective to detect “abusive” comments online in an effort to crack down on hate speech.

Publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Economist are testing the new software as a way of policing comments sections, according to the Financial Times.

“News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content, but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labour and time,” said Jared Cohen, president of Jigsaw, the Google social incubator that built the tool. “As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether. But they tell us that isn’t the solution they want.”

Perspective is available to all publications that are currently part of Google’s Digital News Initiative, which includes The Guardian, the BBC and The Financial Times. In theory, the software could also be utilized by social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has recently attempted to impose stricter rules on users in an attempt to reduce supposed harassment on the platform.

CJ Adams, a product manager at Jigsaw, discussed the adaptability of their program, saying, “We are open to working with anyone from small developers to the biggest platforms on the internet. We all have a shared interest and benefit from healthy online discussions.”

Perspective is used to filter and compile comments on websites for human review. In order to learn what exactly counts as a “toxic” comment, the program studied hundreds of thousands of user comments that had been deemed unacceptable by reviewers on websites like The New York Times and Wikipedia. “All of us are familiar with increased toxicity around comments in online conversations,” said Cohen. “People are leaving conversations because of this, and we want to empower publications to get those people back.”…

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion by reopening their terror promoting page

March 3, 2017

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion  by reopening their terror promoting page, Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus, March 2, 2017

pal1

 

pal2[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

Three days ago, Facebook shut down Fatah’s terror promoting account. The Palestinian Authority protested the closure as evidence of unfair collaboration between Israel and Facebook against the Palestinians (see below). Yesterday, Facebook reinstated the account, without removing any of the terror promoting material that is regularly posted on the page by Fatah. In 2016 alone, Palestinian Media Watch documented over 130 posts glorifying individual terrorist murderers and terror attacks, and posts encouraging violence and terror.

The following are examples of the terror and murder promotion that Facebook has reopened for public viewing:

video produced by Fatah’s student movement at Birzeit University urges Palestinians to murder Israelis and seek Martyrdom by carrying out stabbing and car ramming attacks. The video shows a staged car-ramming and stabbing attack at a checkpoint near Ramallah. [Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

pal3

Fatah expressed pride in the first Palestinian female suicide bomber Wafa Idris, who murdered 1 and wounded over 100 in 2002: “Her pure body exploded into pieces in the Zionists` faces” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Jan. 27, 2017]

pal4

Fatah posted an image encouraging stabbing Jews on its Facebook page, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 terror wave. The image depicts a religious Jew screaming in pain with a knife stuck in his shoulder, accompanied by the text: “Here is Jerusalem, you crazies, beware!” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Oct. 4, 2015]

pal5

A Fatah student movement election campaign poster showed a bloody knife shaped as the PA map of “Palestine”. Text on poster: “Plant it [the knife] in the heart of your enemy.” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Apr. 26, 2016]

pal7

Fatah celebrated murdering 116 Israelis, when it bragged about its “10 most outstanding operations” and “10 most outstanding operations during the Intifada” in two separate posts [Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 16, 17, 2016]

PA accuses Facebook of bias

Before Facebook reopened Fatah’s page, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information complained that the closure was due to an “an agreement” between Facebook and Israel:

“The [PA] Ministry [of Information] emphasized in a statement… that the targeting of… Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel).”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Reacting to the closure of Fatah’s page, Head of Information at the Fatah Commission of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub, who manages Fatah’s Facebook page, emphasized that Fatah “will establish an alternative page and new accounts,” and complained pages of “settlers” and “ISIS” have not been shut down:

“There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked… This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.”

[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

The following are longer excerpts of the responses to Facebook’s closure of Fatah’s page:

Headline: “The [PA] Ministry of Information: Facebook’s supervision of our forums is bias in favor of the occupation”<

“The [PA] Ministry of Information said that the fact that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a private radio station constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation, and siding with the hangman who creates terror and spreads hate through all the means and pictures day and night.<

The ministry emphasized in a statement today, Tuesday [Feb. 28, 2017], that the targeting of the media platforms and Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel) who disdains the international conventions.

The ministry added that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a media outlet, which was a victim of ongoing incitement and acts of terror by the Israeli occupation army against its employees. This requires its administration (i.e., Facebook’s) to clarify its steps, so as not to be perceived as one that follows the path of the occupation and violates the standards of individual and public freedoms…

The ministry called on the site’s administration to take back the unfair decision, as one who spreads freedom of speech and thought and defends its platforms in the world cannot support the occupation and side with racism and dark terror that expels the people of Palestine who is thirsty for its freedom.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Headline: “A picture of late President Arafat causes the closure of the Fatah Movement’s Facebook page”

“The ‘Facebook’ social media administration closed the Fatah Movement’s page on the site. According to the movement, the Facebook administration notified it that the reason for the closure was the posting of a picture of late President Yasser Arafat, in which he is seen holding a Kalashnikov rifle that had been in the possession of an Israeli soldier – after [the soldier] was captured in Beirut in the ’80s – and next to him [current Fatah Deputy Chairman and] leadership member Mahmoud Al-Aloul.

Head of information at the Fatah Movement Bureau (sic., Commission) of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub told the [independent Palestinian] news agency Wattan: ‘The Facebook administration closed the page, which has approximately 70,000 followers, and said that the reason for the closure was that the picture contradicts Facebook’s standards.’ He added that ‘The admin pages that manage this page were blocked for a period of 30 days.’

Al-Jaghoub noted that they were warned by the Facebook administration that the page would be removed if they continued to post pictures like this, and said: ‘In the past approximately four warnings reached us before [the page] was closed today [Feb. 28, 2017].’

He responded to the closure by saying: ‘There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked.’

Al-Jaghoub continued: ‘This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.’

He also emphasized that they will establish an alternative page and new accounts, as this is the second time that the movement’s page was closed; approximately a year and a half ago the Facebook administration closed this page when it had 200,000 followers.”
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Germany Mulls Heavy Fines for Facebook Over ‘Fake News’ Posts

December 21, 2016

Germany Mulls Heavy Fines for Facebook Over ‘Fake News’ Posts, Washington Free Beacon, December 20, 2016

The German government is considering making Facebook pay hefty fines for “fake news” posts due to worries they could impact the country’s elections.

The possible fines come from lawmakers in the country who are worried Russia may try to interfere with elections in 2017. Politicians are mulling legislation that would compel the social media giant to create a “legal protection unit” and pay individuals affected by “fake news” stories that are not swiftly dealt with, Forbes reported.

“If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros ($522,000 in U.S. dollars),” said Thomas Oppermann, the chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party.

 The Social Democratic Party and Christian Democratic Union, the party led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, both support the “fake news” crackdown.

Merkel warned in November that the country would deal with such stories.

“Something has changed—as globalization has marched on, [political] debate is taking place in a completely new media environment,” Merkel said. “Opinions aren’t formed the way they were 25 years ago. Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls—things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them.”

Patrick Sensburg, a member of Merkel’s party, added, “targeting disinformation to destabilize a state should be a criminal offence.”

Facebook says it is in communication with politicians in the country over their concerns.

“We take the issues raised very seriously. And we are engaging with key politicians and digital experts from all parties and relevant ministries in Germany interested in this matter,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon in an email statement.

This is not the first time this month that Germany has singled out Facebook and threatened penalties.

Volker Kauder, an ally of Merkel’s, said at a Christian Democrats conference in early December that large companies could face fines for online hate speech.

“I expect from big companies like Facebook that they adhere to laws. If they are not respected than we must think about new possibilities, fines for example,” Kauder said.

Facebook has said it is difficult to track such speech given the number of users on the social media platform. Kauder disputed this notion.

“They say there is too much. But a big auto manufacturer that produces millions of cars can’t say: ‘I produce so many cars that I can’t guarantee they are all secure.’ No, that is not on,” Kauder said. “I expect and demand from Facebook that laws are upheld.”

Other German politicians have warned they may introduce legislation if social media outlets fail to remove 70 percent of hate speech by March 2017, Yahoo News reported.

Merkel will stand for reelection next year. German far-right politicians have gained traction by hitting the chancellor for her “open-door” immigration policy.

Marcus Pretzell, a member of the Alternative for Germany party, took to social media to blame Merkel’s policies for the loss of life following Berlin’s Christmas market truck attack. That attack killed 12 and injured nearly 50.

“These are Merkel’s dead,” Pretzell posted on Twitter.

German police, believing they arrested the wrong man, released a Pakistani migrant on Tuesday who was the initial suspect for the attacks. Authorities launched a new manhunt following his release.

Facebook to Label ‘Fake News’ with Help of Partisan ‘Fact Checkers’

December 16, 2016

Facebook to Label ‘Fake News’ with Help of Partisan ‘Fact Checkers’, BreitbartBen Kew, December 15, 2016

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 25: Martin Schulz, Mark Zuckerberg and Mathias Doepfner attend the presentation of the first Axel Springer Award on February 25, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Frank Zauritz - Pool /Getty Images)

BERLIN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 25: Martin Schulz, Mark Zuckerberg and Mathias Doepfner attend the presentation of the first Axel Springer Award on February 25, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Frank Zauritz – Pool /Getty Images)

Facebook has announced it will introduce warning labels on stories they deem to be “fake news,” with the help of partisan “fact checking” organisations such as Snopes and PolitiFact.

Stories deemed to be false will now be “flagged” by Facebook, with an accompanying red label claiming the story is “disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.”

Users will then have the option to “learn why this is disputed” to receive an explanation as to why Facebook believes the story is false.

“We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations,” Facebook VP Adam Mosseri wrote in the Facebook news blog. “If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why.”

Mossieri insists that the company will not prohibit users from posting anything deemed “fake,” but “you will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.”

Furthermore, Facebook will prohibit paid promotion of stories that have been marked as disputed.

In the announcement, Facebook confirmed that it will be working alongside organizations that are signatories of “Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles.”

Business Insider reports that these organisations will include the likes of Snopes, ABC, Politifact, and FactCheck.org, all of which have records of left-wing partisanship — particularly throughout the 2016 election.

For example, PolitiFact infamously said it was “mostly false” when Donald Trump claimed in a presidential debate that Hillary Clinton wanted “open borders.” PolitiFact made this ruling despite Clinton being on the record at a paid speech saying “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”

Trump also said that Russia has 1,800 nuclear warheads and has expanded its arsenal while the U.S. has not. PolitiFact admitted that Trump’s claim was factual, but it rated the statement as “half true” for supposedly “missing the big picture.”

In both of these cases, PolitiFact went beyond mere fact-checking and moved the goal posts in ways that benefited Clinton’s candidacy. This type of ideological “fact checking” went beyond parody during October’s presidential debates, with NBC taking Trump’s statement that Clinton “acid washed” her emails (a reference to the data deletion tool “BleachBit”) 100% literally and declaring the statement “false.”

FACT CHECK: Trump says Clinton “acid washed” her email server. She did not.
More fact checks: http://nbcnews.to/2c6w8lx 

 Meanwhile at ABC, George Stephanpoulos — a former campaign operative and top White House staffer to Bill Clinton — led the network’s election coverage, never disclosing this fact in his on-air appearances. Stephanopoulos’s wife said the pair would “leave the country” should Donald Trump be elected to the presidency.

Is All News Fake News?

November 21, 2016

Is All News Fake News? PJ MediaRoger L Simon, November 20, 2016

“Fake news” is very much in the news these days.

Barack Obama was off in Lima complaining that “fake news” was responsible for the defeat of Hillary Clinton.  I guess that depends on what your definition of “fake” is.

Meanwhile, cranky libertarian Ron Paul has given us a handy list of the forty-eight mainstream media “journalists” (scare quotes Ron’s, but how could you argue?) who were caught, largely through WikiLeaks, colluding with the Hillary Clinton campaign during the election.

Which company was the worst? Three worked for Politico and The Guardian, five for ABC, six each for MSNBC and the New York Times, and nine for CNN.  (We have a winner!)

“Fake news,” anyone? Or is that restricted to Breitbart.com and InfoWars?

But far more important than the increasingly unpopular MSM or a president nine-tenths out the door is a purveyor of news with exponentially more power and reach than all of them put together, squared — Facebook. That company’s founder and maximum leader Mark Zuckerberg has been taking heat about “fake news” as well and is making his special attempt to solve it. From the WSJ:

The first and most important step is to rely on technology to better classify misinformation and “detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Oh, good. “Garbage in, garbage out.” I think we’ve heard that before.

Another step is to make it easier for users to report fake stories, he said. Facebook has long relied on users to flag objectionable content, including fake news.

And who will they report the “fake” stories to? Who will then determine if they are fake or not?

Facebook is turning to outside groups for help in fact-checking, Mr. Zuckerberg wrote.

Groups chosen by Facebook, of course. (Conservatives picked by Facebook will be self-promotional goofballs like Glenn Beck — at least they were in the past.)

 It is also exploring a product that would label stories as false if they have been flagged as such by third-parties or users, and then show warnings to users who read or share the articles.

Just what we need — trigger warnings. They work so well on campus.

Facebook earlier this week announced it would bar fake-news sites from using the company’s ad-selling tools. Mr. Zuckerberg said he is looking into “disrupting the economics” of sites that traffic in fake information.

I wonder who those “fake-news sites” are. Not the New York Times, of course, for whom Jayson Blair fabricated umpteen front page stories and Walter Duranty flat-out lied about Stalin’s mass starvation of the Ukrainians.

Mr. Zuckerberg reiterated that Facebook doesn’t want to become an arbiter of truth itself.

But that’s just what it is.  They determine the fake sites.

“The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically,” he wrote. “We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible.”

Well, that’s good, if it’s true, which I doubt. The problem with Facebook is that it has far too much power.  You could easily write a corollary to Lord Action: “Media power tends to corrupt and absolute media power corrupts absolutely.” In fact, media are ultimately more powerful than our leaders. (Hillary Clinton is probably gone forever. George Stephanopoulos, her faithful lapdog, could be with us for the next thirty years.)

Facebook, through our own sloth and compliance, is approaching absolute media power, if it hasn’t achieved it already.

This news monopoly is truly dangerous for obvious reasons, even if the monopolist feigns or actually believes he has an attitude of openness, as Zuckerberg does.

The problem is that it’s all about humans — they are the ones, at least until AI takes over, making the determinations. And I haven’t met a human yet who isn’t biased. That includes Zuckerberg, the New York Times, National Review, PJ Media or anybody I know or have known.

Have you?

Ergo, on a certain level, all news is fake. Reading or watching the news is the ultimate version of caveat emptor. 

One of the great positives of election 2016 was that the media was almost totally distrusted. They told the electorate repeatedly that Donald Trump was horrible and that Hillary Clinton was the infinitely better choice and we all know what happened.

Power to the people.  That’s the point. Trust yourself. All news is fake, I repeat, at some point. It’s just somebody’s narrative, including this.

Merkel says Facebook, Google ‘distort perception,’ demands they ‘reveal algorithms’

October 27, 2016

Merkel says Facebook, Google ‘distort perception,’ demands they ‘reveal algorithms’

Published time: 26 Oct, 2016 20:53 Edited time: 27 Oct, 2016 11:05

Source: Merkel says Facebook, Google ‘distort perception,’ demands they ‘reveal algorithms’ — RT News

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel © Francois Lenoir / Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel launched a broadside at internet media giants, accusing them of “narrowing perspective,” and demanding they disclose their privately-developed algorithms. Merkel previously blamed social media for anti-immigrant sentiment and the rise of the far right.

“The algorithms must be made public, so that one can inform oneself as an interested citizen on questions like: what influences my behavior on the internet and that of others?” said Merkel during a media conference in Berlin on Tuesday.

“These algorithms, when they are not transparent, can lead to a distortion of our perception, they narrow our breadth of information.”

Google uses an algorithm to decide which search results are first shown to a user, while Facebook arranges the order of the news feed, and decides to include certain posts from a user’s liked pages and friends, at the expense of others. Both sites also promote links to news articles, often based on a user’s own media interests.

Read more

An illustration photo shows a man using WhatsApp messenger in a smart phone behind a Facebook logo. © Dado Ruvic

These algorithms are at the core of the intellectual property of any social media or search website, and comprise some of the most highly-protected trade secrets in the world, potentially worth billions. No internet giant has ever revealed its inner workings.

Merkel did not specifically name Facebook, Google or Twitter, but implied that the large platforms are creating “bubbles” of self-reinforcing views, and squeezing out smaller news providers.

“The big internet platforms, via their algorithms, have become an eye of a needle which diverse media must pass through to reach users,” warned Merkel. “This is a development that we need to pay careful attention to.”

The internet giants themselves have argued that the so-called social media bubble is largely a myth, and that online users have a wider access to differing views than under a pre-internet model, where most news would be acquired from just a handful of newspapers and one or two TV channels.

German establishment raises ‘Sword of Damocles’ over social media

This is not the first attack on social media by Merkel and her Grand Coalition government, and while the German politician advocates diversity of views, she has previously accused it of perpetrating opinions that are most at odds with those of the establishment and traditional media.

Read more

© Fabrizio Bensch

Last month, Merkel accused AfD, the recently-established anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim party, which receives overwhelmingly negative coverage in most newspapers, of “spreading their lies” through social media, as it achieves breakthroughs in regional elections around the country.

A year ago, at the height of the refugee influx into the country, Merkel, who was first elected in 2005, was caught on a hot mic personally pressing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to clamp down on anti-migrant posts during a UN session in New York.

A fortnight ago, the leader of Merkel’s parliamentary CDU faction, Volker Kauder, said that social media should be fined €50,000 for failing to remove “hate speech,” saying that a “Sword of Damocles” has to hang over social media. Kauder also called for warnings, similar to those on cigarette packs or before entering pornographic websites, to be given to those about to go on social media.

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with Facebook founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg (C) and Google CEO Eric Schmidt
(R) at the G8 Summit in Deauville May 26, 2011 © Philippe Wojazer

Justice Minister Heiko Maas – who said that there had been a 77 percent increase in hate crimes following the arrival of 900,000 asylum seekers – has given internet media companies until February next year to comply with EU directives on xenophobia and racism, or face legal action.

Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to Censor “Anti-Islam” Speech; Lawsuit Filed

July 13, 2016

Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to Censor “Anti-Islam” Speech; Lawsuit Filed, July 13, 2016

AFLC_SocialMedia_Censorship_Banner_07-11-16-3-Final-1024x527

Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Geller and Spencer, along with the organizations they run, are often subject to censorship and discrimination by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of Geller’s and Spencer’s beliefs and views, which Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consider expression that is offensive to Muslims.

Such discrimination, which is largely religion-based in that these California businesses are favoring adherents of Islam over those who are not, is prohibited in many states, but particularly in California by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which is broadly construed to prohibit all forms of discrimination.  However, because of the immunity granted by the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free to engage in their otherwise unlawful, discriminatory practices.

As set forth in the lawsuit, Section 230 of the CDA immunizes businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from civil liability for any action taken to “restrict access to or availability of material that” that they “consider[] to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, issued the following statement:

“Section 230 of the CDA confers broad powers of censorship upon Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube officials, who can silence constitutionally protected speech and engage in discriminatory business practices with impunity by virtue of this power conferred by the federal government in violation of the First Amendment.”

Muise went on to explain:

“Section 230 is a federal statute that alters the legal relations between our clients and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, resulting in the withdrawal from our clients of legal protections against private acts.  Consequently, per U.S. Supreme Court precedent, state action lies in our clients’ challenge under the First Amendment.”

David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added:

“Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have notoriously censored speech that they deem critical of Islam, thereby effectively enforcing blasphemy laws here in the United States with the assistance of the federal government.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“It has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists to impose such standards on the West.  Its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which co-sponsored, with support from Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton, a U.N. resolution which called on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are falling in line, and we seek to stop this assault on our First Amendment freedoms.”

AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise and David Yerushalmi, along with the plaintiffs in this case, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, will hold a Press Call from 2:00-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13.  To access this press conference call, dial(641) 715-3655 and enter code 111815.