Posted tagged ‘social media’

Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship

April 6, 2017

Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, April 6, 2017

Who would have thought that more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), Western Europe would be reinventing itself in the image of the Soviet Union?

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If Facebook insists on the rules of censorship, it should at the very least administer those rules in a fair way. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness.

Posts critical of Chancellor Merkel’s migrant policies, for example, can be categorized as “Islamophobia”, and are often found to violate “Community Standards”, while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook’s “Community Standards”.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook’s bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah’s Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews — despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and murder of Jews.

Germany has formally announced its draconian push towards censorship of social media. On March 14, Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced the plan to formalize into law the “code of conduct”, which Germany pressed upon Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in late 2015, and which included a pledge to delete “hate speech” from their websites within 24 hours.

“This [draft law] sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement announcing the planned legislation.

“Criminal” content? Statements that are deemed illegal under German law are now being conflated with statements that are merely deemed, subjectively and on the basis of entirely random complaints from social media users — who are free to abuse the code of conduct to their heart’s content — to be “hate speech”. “Hate speech” has included critiques of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policies. To be in disagreement with the government’s policies is now potentially “criminal”. Social media companies, such as Facebook, are supposed to be the German government’s informers and enforcers — qualified by whom and in what way? — working at the speed of light to comply with the 24-hour rule. Rule of law, clearly, as in North Korea, Iran, Russia or any banana-republic, has no place in this system.

Maas is not pleased with the efforts of the social media companies. They do not, supposedly, delete enough reported content, nor do they delete it fast enough, according to a survey by the Justice Ministry’s youth protection agency. It found that YouTube was able to remove around 90% of “illegal” postings within a week, while Facebook deleted or blocked 39% of content and Twitter only 1%. The German minister, it seems, wants more efficiency.

“We need to increase the pressure on social networks… There is just as little room for criminal propaganda and slander [on social media] as on the streets,” said Maas. “For this we need legal regulations.” He has now presented these legal regulations in the form of a draft bill, which provides for complaints, reporting and fines.

There also appears to be no differentiation made between primary-source hate speech, as in many religious tenets, and secondary-source hate speech, reporting on the former.

According to the draft, social media platforms with more than two million users would be obliged to delete or block any criminal offenses, such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint. The networks receive seven days for more complicated cases. Germany could fine a social media company up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law; it could fine a company’s chief representative in Germany up to 5 million euros.

It does not stop there. Germany does not want these measures to be limited to its own jurisdiction. It wants to share them with the rest of Europe: “In the end, we also need European solutions for European-wide companies,” said Maas. The European Union already has a similar code of conduct in place, so that should not be very hard to accomplish.

Facebook, for its part, has announced that by the end of 2017, the number of employees in complaints-management in Berlin will be increased to more than 700. A spokeswoman said that Facebook had clear rules against hate speech and works “hard” on removing “criminal content”.

If Facebook insists on operating under rules of censorship, it should at the very least aim to administer those rules in a fair manner. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness. Instead, Facebook’s practice of its so-called “Community Standards” — the standards to which Facebook refers when deleting or allowing content on its platform in response to user complaints — shows evidence of entrenched bias. Posts critical of Merkel’s migrant policies, for example, can get categorized as “Islamophobia”, and are often found to violate “Community Standards”, while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook’s “Community Standards”.

Facebook’s bias, in fact, became so pronounced that in October 2015, Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis, to stop allowing Palestinian Arab terrorists to use the social network to incite violent attacks against Jews. The complaint sought an injunction against Facebook that required it to monitor incitement and to respond immediately to complaints about content that incites people to violence. Shurat Hadin wrote at the time:

“…Facebook is much more than a neutral internet platform or a mere ‘publisher’ of speech because its algorithms connect the terrorists to the inciters. Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions … Additionally, Facebook often refuses to take down the inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its ‘community standards’. Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of Jews and Israelis”.

In 2016, Shurat Hadin filed a separate $1 billion lawsuit on behalf of five victims of Hamas terrorism and their families. They are seeking damages against Facebook under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act, for Facebook’s having provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook services, which Hamas then used to carry out their terrorist activities. The US has officially designated Hamas a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” which means that it is a criminal offense to provide material support to such an organization.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook’s bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah’s Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews — despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and the murder of Jews.

It is only a small step from imposing censorship on social media companies to asking the same of email providers, or ordering postal authorities to screen letters, magazines and brochures in the event that citizens spread supposed “xenophobia” and “fake news”. There is ample precedent for such a course of action on the continent: During the Cold War, people living behind the Iron Curtain had their private letters opened by the communist authorities; those passages deemed to be out of line with the communist orthodoxy, were simply blacked out.

Who would have thought that more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), Western Europe would be reinventing itself in the image of the Soviet Union?

Twitter Grants Verification to Muslim Brotherhood’s Violent, Anti-Semitic Online Mouthpiece

November 28, 2016

Twitter Grants Verification to Muslim Brotherhood’s Violent, Anti-Semitic Online Mouthpiece, Washington Free Beacon, November 28, 2016

Bydgoszcz, Poland, 20 June 2016: Twitter has announced the possibility of live streaming via itís site. With the integration of Periscope, the popular live streaming app Twitter now has the majority of the live streaming market in itís hands making rivals like Meerkat all but disappear. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***

Twitter. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto) 

“At a time when Twitter is already facing criticism for banning individuals based solely on speech, Twitter has effectively lionized a group responsible for the burning of Coptic churches and the killing of Egyptian police and judiciary officials,” Shideler added. “How is Twitter supposed to help defeat online radicalization when it essentially endorses the biggest source for Islamist radicals in the world?”

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The social media website Twitter is facing criticism for its recent decision to grant verification to the Muslim Brotherhood’s official mouthpiece, which routinely writes in favor of violent terror acts and disseminates anti-Semitic propaganda.

The Muslim Brotherhood–which has been designated as a terror outfit and banned by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and elsewhere–operates in the online sphere via a website known as Ikhwan Web, which serves as the Brotherhood’s “official” English-speaking feed.

Twitter recently granted verification to Ikhwan Web’s online feed, giving the organization an air of legitimacy that leading lawmakers and experts described as reckless given the Brotherhood’s history of supporting violent jihad and terrorism.

‎”Verifying the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter feed helps further their narrative of civilization-Jihad,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a Muslim Brotherhood critic who has authorized legislation to designate it in the United States as a terror organization, told the Washington Free Beacon.

“This maneuver makes the Brotherhood seem like a legitimate group while providing them cover to spread their radical version of Islam,” Cruz added. “I look forward to working with the new administration to expose the Brotherhood’s efforts to increase their influence in America.”

Ikhwan Web’s Twitter feed serves as a central hub for the Brotherhood’s radical propaganda and official statements. A Free Beacon request for comment to Twitter’s public relations department went unanswered.

Twitter has faced a wave of criticism for failing to shut down various accounts promoting radical jihad and terrorism against Western countries. Others have criticized the social media site for cracking down on accounts associated with conservative-leaning thinkers and writers.

Recent tweets indicate that the Brotherhood is, via its Twitter feed, advocating continued violence and resistance against Egypt’s ruling government. It also is working to mainstream the Brotherhood as a legitimate resistance organization and governing body.

Ikhwan Web has a history of promoting violence in the Middle East, primarily in Egypt, where the Brotherhood led a bloody coup and continues to support violence against the country’s ruling authority.

“It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” the Brotherhood said in a 2015 statement that was posted on Ikhwan Web.

The website also has a history of defending individuals accused of organizing terror attacks on U.S. soil.

Other recent articles posted by the group promote violence against the Israeli government and Jewish people, including one 2009 post quoting a Muslim Brotherhood leader as calling for “jihad” to “liberate” Jerusalem from Israeli control.

The Brotherhood falsely claims that Israel is attempting to vandalize Muslim holy sites and prevent access for adherents to the faith.

Other postings rally against “the ugly face” of Zionism.

Kyle Shideler, director of the Center for Security Policy’s Threat Information Office, told the Free Beacon that Twitter’s decision to grant legitimacy to the organization is “deeply concerning.”

“This decision by Twitter to provide the Muslim Brotherhood with this literal blue check of approval is deeply disconcerting,” Shideler said.

“At a time when Twitter is already facing criticism for banning individuals based solely on speech, Twitter has effectively lionized a group responsible for the burning of Coptic churches and the killing of Egyptian police and judiciary officials,” Shideler added. “How is Twitter supposed to help defeat online radicalization when it essentially endorses the biggest source for Islamist radicals in the world?”

Merkel Back Crackdown on Free Speech On Social Media Sites

November 25, 2016

Merkel Back Crackdown on Free Speech On Social Media Sites, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, November 25, 2016

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel long ago established herself as a menace to free speech, particularly in her decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Now, she is throwing her support behind a crackdown on “hate speech” on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — radically expanding the already broad scope of government regulation of speech.

Merkel declared “I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values.”

“Incompatibility with human dignity”? That is a standard that virtually defies definition. It would leave the government in the position to determine who is insulting “human dignity.”

Merkel is also threatening social media companies to get rid of “fake news” or risk a government crackdown. Merkel appears to fear that social media bots could influence German elections after President Obama flagged the role of fake news in the Trump election. Merkel insisted

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Merkel is clearly “all in” on the crackdown on free speech. The question is whether the German people will or can reverse this trend against this defining right of fundamental civil liberties and human rights.

What do you think?

VIDEO: Merkel Says ‘Trolls’ and ‘Fake News’ Could Influence German Election

November 24, 2016

VIDEO: Merkel Says ‘Trolls’ and ‘Fake News’ Could Influence German Election, Breitbart, Liam Deacon, November 24, 2016

merkelbows

Angela Merkel has said public opinion is being “manipulated” on the internet, claiming “fake news” websites and “trolls” could influence the approaching German elections.

In her first major address since announcing her intention to seek a fourth term, the German chancellor was also heckled and labelled a “disgrace” as she claimed to be “fighting illegal immigration” in Germany.

“Something has changed. As globalization has marched on, debate is taking place in a completely new media environment. Opinions aren’t formed the way they were 25 years ago,” she said, according to AFP.

“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,” she added.

The chancellor linked the rise of alternative media to populist politics in the West during the speech.

“A lot of people are concerned about the stability of our social order,” she said. “Suddenly it seems that what we considered self-evident isn’t that self-evident after all.”

She reportedly claimed that democracy itself, and even the economy, were under threat.

The chancellor also insisted that “hate speech” should be censored in Germany, because “it’s not compatible with our ideals”. Debates, she said, should be carried out in what she saw as “the spirit of respect for others”.

The speech also covered the topic of migration, which saw the German leader shouted down in her own legislative chamber.

“We have passed the EU-Turkey agreement and I want to clearly state that, also looking at other areas…” she started, before a woman interrupted her, crying: “Disgrace!”

“Careful,” the Chancellor replied.

“It is your opportunity to openly express your opinions. I believe fighting illegal immigration,” she added. But the woman shouted back, “yeah, yeah”, dismissing the claim sarcastically.

Mrs. Merkel continued her speech: “Putting a stop to illegal smugglers who do vicious trade with human beings, to do something against the fact that this year 4,500 or more refugees have drowned is one of the most important requirements of political trade.”

Allies of the chancellor applauded her as she asserted: “Those who have to rely on smugglers because they can’t shape politics, they do not do their job in the sense that I envision it.”

More than a million illegal migrants walked into Germany last year. The numbers began rising sharply immediately after Mrs. Merkel promised to suspend the Dublin agreementin August, and “welcome” any migrant who could make it across Germany’s borders.

Gulag, Western Style

November 23, 2016

Gulag, Western Style, PJ MediaDavid Solway, November 22, 2016

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In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.

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There are various ways of quashing social and political dissent, some more effective than others. The “Soviet method” practiced in stringently repressive regimes—torture, imprisonment, the ever-expanding Gulag, summary execution—works extremely well in the shorter historical timeframe, until a people rise up in revolt or such demonic societies collapse from their own internal contradictions. Of course, the truly Stygian regimes, closed to the world, indifferent to economic pressures, and under the heavy boot of unbroken military control, such as North Korea, may persist indefinitely or until defeated in war. But generally speaking, the tried-and-true methods of political oppression are sufficient to the task of keeping a population in a state of enslavement for a prolonged historical period.

In the sphere of the liberal West, however, there are other means of subjection to the will of increasingly centralized governments. Because they tend to function gradually and under the radar, these tactics are enormously efficient in their deadening effects, going unrecognized until it is often too late to mount significant resistance. They operate through a process of curricular distortions, social pressure and incremental legislation targeting speech habits, facets of normal behavior, assumptions of what counts as morally legitimate, and financial and job security.

A useful technique for anaesthetizing the individual citizen and rendering him compliant is the erasure of authentic historical knowledge. We’ve remarked the success of this approach in the U.S. with the “history from below” or “people’s history” movement, associated with Howard Zinn, and the foregrounding of a bowdlerized version of Islamic history in American schools. Canada is no different. Eric McGeer, author of Words of Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War, writes: “In my last years of high school teaching I was increasingly infuriated and disgusted at the portrayal of Canada in the history textbooks assigned for use in our courses. There was no sense of gratitude in the textbooks, no empathy with the people of the past or an attempt to see them in their own terms, no sense of the effort people made to create one of the few truly liveable societies on earth. You would have thought that this country was nothing more than a racist, bigoted, this or that-phobic hotbed. My first lesson involved taking the book and dropping it into the waste paper basket and advising the students to do the same.” (personal communication). The study of history, McGeer concludes, is nothing now but a progressive morality tale and a mechanism of social engineering. Sounds a lot like Title IX. Pride in one’s nation, its accomplishments and sacrifices, is contra-indicated. There is more than one way of burning the flag.

The center-right consensus that has characterized Western nations has been under attack for some considerable time as nation after nation in the once liberal West gravitates progressively leftward. Robert Conquest’s Second of his Three Laws of Politics states that “any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” The consequence of Conquest’s Law is, inevitably, what Robert Michels in Political Parties called “The Iron Law of Oligarchy,” which formulates how democratic institutions tend to succumb to the rule of an elite—in our day, a progressivist camarilla that controls government policy and media outlets, and harnesses the energies of dissenting associations and cabals. In many countries, the democratic process has become or is on the road to becoming a mere formality.

The oligarchic agenda can be detected in the disastrous nationalization of the health care system; the decadence of an academy which indoctrinates rather than educates; the rise of destructive feminism and the feminization of the culture; the transgendering of everyday life—in Canada, for example, Bill C-16 has been tabled, making “gender expression” a prohibited ground of discrimination and potentially mandating non-binary pronouns such as zhi or hir, as is already the case in New York City where astronomical fines are levied for contravention; the special status ascribed to the incursions of anti-democratic Islam; the “abolition of the family,” as Marx and Engels urged in The Communist Manifesto; and the regulatory strangling of the free market economy and the conjoint attrition of the middle class. Additionally, the leftist project is materially facilitated by the growing prevalence of kangaroo courts run by committed activists of every conceivable stripe and in which no provision whatsoever is made to assist those too often falsely accused of discrimination or being in violation of some obscure code or policy of sanctioned conduct. The judgments handed down against those who have offended the sensibilities of favored identity groups will often involve harshly punitive forms of retribution that may cost a defendant his employment and his livelihood.

A Romanian friend who suffered through Nicolae Ceaușescu’s dictatorship in his home country tells me that in many ways the situation in the “freedom loving” West is actually worse. In Romania, as in the Soviet Union and the rest of the Eastern Bloc, most people knew that the regime was founded on lies and that the media were corrupt, time-serving institutions. Here, on the contrary, people tend to believe that the government is relatively, if not entirely, trustworthy, that the judiciary is impartial, and that the media actually report the news. Citizens are therefore susceptible to mission creep and are piecemeal deceived into a condition of indenture to socialist governance, an activist judiciary, a disinformative, hireling press corps, and left-wing institutions. People will vote massively for the Liberal Party in Canada and the Democrats in the U.S., not realizing they are voting themselves into bondage, penury and stagnation. The process operates insensibly and takes longer to embed itself into the cultural mainstream, but the result is alarmingly effective and durable. My friend has never read F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom or George Orwell’s 1984, but his layman’s insights and practical experience bear out Hayek’s scholarly analysis and Orwell’s dire warnings.

A totalitarian regime will control its citizens through propaganda, censorship, and outright violence, modes of oppression that are at least publicly demonstrable, evident to most. But knowing that the enchainment of the spirit is ultimately more reliable than the enchainment of the flesh, a democratic polity veering towards oligarchy will focus on propaganda and censorship as well, but in a far more subtle form. It will function mainly through public shaming rituals, social ostracism, rigid speech codes, Orwellian disinformation, and legal or quasi-legal assault. It does not need to depend on physical violence.

Fear of social rejection, the lure of groupthink, the pestilence of political correctness controlling what one may say and think, public apathy, historical ignorance, and especially the Damoclean sword of selective hiring, job dismissal, and financial reprisal go a long way to subdue a people to the will of its masters and consign them to a Gulag that may be less observable a such, but one that is nonetheless socially and economically crippling to individuals, families and businesses.

In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.

Saudi women revolt: #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen

September 7, 2016

Saudi women revolt: #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, Counter Jihad

(Lot of luck with that. — DM)

Female oppression and subjugation are integral elements of Islamic supremacism, exhibited by Saudi Arabia (among other Islamic states), which exports and funds Wahhabism globally. Saudi Arabia is now experiencing a kind of social media revolt by its women against its guardianship laws. Hurray for social media in allowing these women some dissenting expression; they are otherwise buried and gagged under the niqab.

“The hashtag, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, has taken the Twitter social networking world by storm, calling for an end to these oppressive laws” of male guardianship.

Females in Saudi Arabia are permanently under male guardians from birth. They can’t be educated, travel, marry, “or even have surgery” without male guardian approval. In fact, if a woman so much as leaves the house against the wishes of her male guardian, he can “go to the police and file a complaint that you are a fugitive and the police will come after you and take you home.”These are elements of Islamic law, but nowhere else are they so strictly enforced as in Saudi Arabia.

Western leftist feminists who turn a blind eye to the tortures of the sisterhood by Islamic supremacists and jihadists, meanwhile, are perhaps too busy with the chorus of celebratory jeering over the death of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (who spoke out boldly against Muslim immigration in Europe and the erosion of democratic principles) to take note of this new development about women in Saudi Arabia.

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“Calls to end Saudi male guardianship sweeping social media”, by Katie Beiter, The JPost , September 7, 2016:

Reem, a 37-year-old Saudi nurse, who asked that her last name be withheld, recalled when her family arranged her marriage. After graduating from nursing school, she worked for 10 years until her cousin approached her father asking for her hand in marriage.

“All of a sudden my father said to me, this is my nephew and you will marry him,” Reem said. “We were complete opposites in character and I didn’t like him, he wasn’t handsome. So, I refused, I cried, I did everything a Saudi girl can do, but sadly, they forced me.”

“It broke my soul,” she added. After a year of being engaged, Reem broke it off. Her parents then forced her to marry a man, who, according to Reem, was a drug addict; so she divorced him.

“Now, I am divorced with one son. I am a nurse, but I stay with my family. I have a good salary, but they refuse to let me live independently. I am 37 years old and I still live with my parents,” Reem said.

Stories like these are not uncommon in Saudi Arabia, a conservative, Muslim country, where male guardianship laws still reign. These laws require Saudi women, regardless of age, to have a male guardian, usually a husband or a father, who makes all legal decisions for them.

The hashtag, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, has taken the Twitter social networking world by storm, calling for an end to these oppressive laws.

“Basically, from when they are born to when they die, Saudi women require male guardians, who are given legal control over their lives,” Kristine Beckerle, a Human Rights Watch researcher recently reported. According to Beckerle, the New York-based human rights organization “has concluded that male guardianship is the most significant impediment to women’s rights in Saudi Arabia today.”

Saudi women are not allowed to travel, marry, study, or even have surgery without permission from their guardians. “If you go out against your guardian’s will, he can go to the police and file a complaint that you are a fugitive and the police will come after you and take you home,” Reem added.

There is a Twitter hashtag in Arabic (#سعوديات_نطالب_باسقاط_الولاية51), which updates the number of days the hashtag has been circulating. It has reached 51.

“It’s a unified effort by Saudi Women in attempt to voice their struggle in the only legal way that they can in Saudi Arabia,” Isaac Cohen, Director of the S.A.F.E. Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Saudi women fight male guardianship, told The Media Line.

Women have chosen the social media platform to raise awareness because protest rallies are illegal and can even carry prison sentences in Saudi Arabia. In the past, Saudi women have feared publicizing their beliefs; however, women have now become more willing to take a stand in the anti-guardianship campaign, according to Beckerle.

These women have gone so far as to record videos of themselves to post on social media, articulating the horrors of the repressive laws. Aside from the hashtags, there have been many other instances of solidarity amongst Saudi women.

Some of which include the distribution of “I am my own guardian” bracelets and stickers; a petition to the king, which gathered over 3,000 signatures in 24 hours; and a wall in Riyadh with the hashtag written in graffiti.

“I am flabbergasted. The media is not free and Saudi women themselves face many levels of difficulty. To see women take up the call and demand their rights has been incredible,” Beckerle said.

There have been movements in the past to change laws in Saudi Arabia. In October 2013, there was a campaign to allow women the right to drive; however, that was unsuccessful.

However, activists hope that this campaign may be different. Because the guardianship laws affect a number of different aspects of women’s lives, Beckerle believes that this gives the government room to initiate changes….

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

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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.