The recent horrific events in France have resulted in a tremendous wave of support for freedom of speech — even speech that may offend — as well as a comparable wave of disdain for anti-blasphemy laws and those who would threaten or enact violence.
Violence? Yes, as witnessed not only by the recent events in France, but in many such events over the last decades. And yet…and yet.
On 26 June 2013 I received the following note from Facebook gatekeepers.
I had reported the page, “Behead Those Who Disrespect Our Prophet P.B.U.H.,” as violating Facebook’s Community Standards. While the original report on my Support Dashboard no longer exists (as Facebook has now “revised” its decision), it used to say that they had reviewed my report and decided that the reported page’s content did not violate Facebook’s “Community Standards.”
What? What?! How in the world could such a page not be in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards?
I was deeply offended by this, though perhaps not terribly surprised. After all, so many social media gatekeepers appear to be self-serving ideologues who’d rather suppress speech that is contrary to their convictions (asserting that it promotes “a culture of violence”) than shut down pages that actually and overtly promote violence.
Facebook wouldn’t take down a page that actually called for people’s heads to be cut off? They must have lost their minds?!
But the bloodshed of the innocent can bring clarity.
Last week’s horrific events in Paris appear to have pricked Facebook’s gatekeepers’ consciences just enough that they have “revised” their decision regarding my report of the page in question. Here is a screenshot of an email just received this afternoon.
Perhaps a modicum of sanity has emerged within the gatekeepers who examine complaints to see if material has violated their Community Standards.
It is, of course, a bit late to take such a stance, what with the moral high ground now muddied by the blood of Parisians.
Better late than never? I don’t know. Political convenience? Perhaps. It just is so very difficult to see how Facebook’s gatekeepers could have been so morally obtuse as not to see a page that actually intends to incite violence as in gross violation of their stated Community Standards.
To understand more about the relationship between Islam, Islamic Law (sharia), and violence, read “Liberty or Islamic Law.”