Facebook took down my post




Here is my Facebook post regarding the New Zealand shooter's manifesto that got taken down for violating Facebook's Community Standards:

I’ve read at least a dozen articles that reference the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto.  They all follow the same pattern --  they include selective quotes, express a conclusion as to the shooter’s motivations, but provide no links to the manifesto for the reader to follow to judge for himself or herself.  The implication is that only journalists are wise and prudent enough review the manifesto.  It is not for us patients and delinquents.   

I became frustrated enough to go searching for the manifesto on my own.  Finding it was more difficult than I thought.  I didn’t find it posted on any mainstream news sites, but mostly on obscure sites that give off a racist aura.  For that reason, I’m not going to post a link, but if you want to read it for yourself, you can try searching for “the great replacement towards a new society.”  I hope it is unnecessary to emphasize that I am not suggesting that people read the manifesto because I agree with the contents.   

I’m not going to do what the journalists and columnists do, which is to try to neatly place this guy into a political category, but if all you’ve read are articles summarizing the manifesto, you’ll probably be surprised by some of the actual contents of the manifesto, such as the condemnation of conservatives, capitalism, free trade, and industrialization, and the praise for a minimum wage, unions, environmental protections, and communist China.  The overall nasty theme, though, is that races and ethnicities should not mix.  All of his other views are in service to that theme. 

 When I received the notice that my post was taken down, I thought perhaps it was due to a bot that got triggered by my inclusion of the full title of the manifesto, so I clicked on the button to request a review of the decision.  But several days later, I received a second notice, informing me that my post had been reviewed and the original decision stands.  There is no option that I see for requesting further review or explanation. The nameless reviewer did not cite the specific "community standard" that I violated, nor explain the specific reason for the decision.  So I can only speculate.  

One possibility is that Facebook has decided to prohibit posting any link to the manifesto because it promotes violence.  (In New Zealand, linking to the manifesto has been outlawed.)  Although my post does not contain a link, perhaps giving a suggestion as to how to search for the manifesto was considered close enough.  But Facebook does not appear to be blocking media posts such as those by the Washington Post and the New York Times, which not only discuss the manifesto, but also contain extensive quotes from the document, which my post does not do.

 The only other possibility I can think of is that Facebook objects to the particular facts that my post highlights because they are inconsistent with a political narrative that Facebook favors.  Or it could be a combination -- the initial take-down notice was automatically generated by a bot, but the human reviewer simply didn't like the perceived message of my post.  If so, it is difficult to reconcile the decision with the following statement appearing on Facebook's "Community Standards" page:

Our mission is all about embracing diverse views. We err on the side of allowing content, even when some find it objectionable, unless removing that content can prevent a specific harm.

Facebook is not a governmental entity, so it is not bound by the First Amendment.  But if it is going to have stated policies that echo First Amendment principles, and then repeat those statements at public hearings, they should not be selective in the application, which gives the impression of viewpoint discrimination.  Facebook does not have paid subscribers, but it does have users who trade information for the services that they receive, and based on that consideration, can potentially demand adherence to the stated policies.  Facebook also has advertisers who make ad placements based in part on Facebook's stated policies.  If Facebook knowingly follows some other unstated policy, that would constitute fraud.  That's my free legal advice for Facebook.