back to article Facebook under fire over Israel, transgender bullying

Facebook was under fire again yesterday from various groups for alleged inconsistency in its moderation – too quick, it was claimed, to take down material supporting non-mainstream causes, too slow to react in other cases. dislikefacebook First up, according to gay newspaper Pink News, was a homophobic Facebook group called …


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  1. Paul_Murphy

    this line is not a title.. it is not a title. NOW it's a title.

    ... Our highly trained team of expert reviewers will then prioritise reports, remove any content or ...

    Yes - like promoting breast-feeding.

    Well done farcebook.


    1. frank ly

      This is a tit.....

      In Facebookland, breasts are obscene and it is harmful for young children to see them.

  2. bean520

    What did you expect?

    Facebook has millions and millions of pages; they don't have the manpower to vet through each and every single one.

    That's why they have the report abuse button. A mass-publicity page such as those from the anti-gay organisation mentioned is much more likely to have widespread exposure (including to people who disagree enough, both on this and of freedom of speech, to report is as "abuse") than a bunch of ****s who make a small-scale and deeply offensive bullying group, likely to be shared only with those who are sure to be like-minded. They won't get reported as "abuse" because they agree with the bullying sentiment the page displays.

    And Facebook can't act as a personal moral guardian when it cannot represent the whole world's moral beliefs (which is impossible). While most would say it was wrong to post the page of the transvestite on Facebook, some would say they have a right to do so, freedom of speech and all that.

    Facebook can't win really

    1. johnwerneken

      why should they take down anything, unless they themselves don't like it?:

      SCREW the opinions of people. They gotta hear and see what others want to say and show whether they like it or not. Facebook is just trying to keep their god d*** cvustomers happy. I am one too and I DO NOT LIKE power defering to the masses. Period. The other way around is not good either. The freedom to OFFEND PEOPLE is the most precious freedom of all. I say NUKE the people who ant to censor things, see how they like it. You too, personally, if you support censorship!

      If people commit murder on the grounds that they were provoked, I say Kill them too.

      Why not?

      What goes around will come around.


  3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    I consider Facebook abusive

    Can I flag it for removal?

  4. The Jase
    Paris Hilton


    Cowards in trying to have the page taken down. They're opposing freedom of speech.

    Its better to join the group and challenge every homphobic rant. Keep hitting them down with logic.

    That's why I love the EDL and racist groups, I get to have my racists in the open where I can see what they are up to and get to challenge every stupid thing they say, and boy do they say stupid things.

    The only reason to call for a group to be banned is if said group kicks off people who oppose its main cause.

    1. Jane Fae


      Excuse me if i can't quite buy this. Unless you go for the absolute free speech argument, including the right of people to shout "fire!" in a crowded cinema, then you'll agree that some speech needs to be looked at. Some speech is performative: by its very existence, it creates issues in the real world.

      If you are an absolutist, fine: but i'm not.

      And if you're not an absolutist and you agree that SOME speech maybe has sufficiently bad consequences that it needs dealing with, you need to ask what and on what grounds. For me, harm is a very good test. When i'm not writing i am involved in advocacy work and support for minority groups.

      I've seen first hand - experienced - the awful consequences of abuse and intimidation and i don't see a page like the poundland one as much of anything else. It outs a named indivicual, exposes her to ridicule, and possibly makes her a target for violent attack. No. That's speech going a step too far.

      I have a smidgeon of sympathy with you on the homophobic page. Its talking in general terms, so yes - you could view it as just an empty intellectual exercise. Though again, having seen damage first hand, i'm not easy with that view.



      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        free speech

        Claiming that shouting "fire" in a crowded cinema is free speech, therefore we need to limit free speech is like a claiming that CEO making false financial statements is free speech therefore we need to limit free speech. In other words, it's not. It's called fraud or deception.

        The speech itself is not harmful, not even in that context. It's a matter of "breaking" an implicit contract or using defacto understanding to defraud. Suppose for example I stood up in the cinema and announced that I there was _not_ a real fire and just shouted fire as an exercise and sat down. I also shouted "fire".. in a crowed cinema. That also contained the *exact same speech*. See the difference? It would be the same if a cinema posted a disclaimer saying that only official theater personnel can be believed for announcements of fire or any emergencies effectively removing the implicit contract or understanding customers have in that situation.

        And likewise, if a person who is not CEO or related to a company were to make false financial statements about the company, it would have no legal consequence because there is no contract , no obligation in contrast to someone who is a CEO making the exact same statements. Share holders are NOT obliged to believe the third party--they are not obliged to act on faith. Any act they make is of their own responsibility and no more i.e. they cannot blame someone else for acting on speech that turns out to be a rumor.

        I am absolutist for free speech simply because speech itself can never cause harm. It isn't the speaker that gives speech any meaning or any power, it's the listener! Therefore speech can never be "performative" as you state. It can NEVER cause action on its own.

        Just think about it logically and rationally for a minute: If it were causative that would it be able to move people involuntarily! That would mean it would cause me to act even if I didn't understand your language. And even when people understand the same language, why then do people act in very different ways? If it were causative, then everyone would be acting in the same manner, and involuntarily if you classify it as an "act", much like a how drinking causes drunkenness i.e. with high blood alcohol levels, everyone gets drunk, regardless of whether they want to or not. and of course, speech is not like that in the least.

        Furthermore, someone telling them to drink cannot be responsible for the other person's drunkenness. I don't drink, no matter how much you may try to persuade me, I still won't drink (if speech were causative--if you classify it as action--I'd be moving like a puppet at your words) Others know when to stop, when not to drive. Others don't. But actions can *only* be the responsibility of actors. And as we've seen speech itself cannot cause action. The listeners are not forced to act. They always have a choice.

      2. johnwerneken

        Mr Magenta hater of all things Green or Politically Correct

        YEA lets incite people to murderous rage I am all for it. Then we know FOR SURE who to throw out of the gene pool. I mean it, NO speach except what causes BODILY HARM (and not by retaliation) should be limited.

        Who cares how vile the comment one is not required to endorse by the act of hearing or reading.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Sorry the link you are trying to visit has been reported as abusive by Facebook users'.

    Sounds like some pro-Israeli supporter bogusly reporting links to pro-Palestinian sites as "abusive" for political reasons and FB's staff not checking thoroughly before swinging the banhammer.

  6. Gregor

    'Sorry the link you are trying to visit has been reported as abusive by Facebook users'

    I get that ALL of the time, I have no idea why.

    The last two 'abusive' links were to a link in the Scotsman Newspaper about changes in MoD staffing, and a link to a PDF factsheet on ScoutBase - run by the UK Scout Association.

    Evidently, both awful!

  7. Lamont Cranston

    They could save themselves a lot of bother by just

    blanket banning any page containing the phrase "LOL JK", as it'll just be some purile wank or other, thus no great loss to mankind. It's a fairly good bet that most of the members of these groups are under the 13 years threshold, anyway, so they can enact the ban in the name of the children. I'm happy, mumsnet are happy, CEOP are happy (oh lord, what have I become?!).

  8. katenlee
    Thumb Down

    Facebook is a Bad Idea

    There is something seriously wrong with Facebook, but its use is like a runaway train. Sure there are millions of pages that they can't possibly monitor, but those they DO moderate are in serious jeopardy. Case in point: . This company used Facebook as a place for it's customers to socialize. This positive, upstanding group had gathered 16,000 fans over the course of a year. For some unknown reason, FB pulled the plug and overnight, the page was gone. Facebook offered no explanation and no human came to bat when queries were sent asking "Why?" All their content, all their work had been snuffed out in a second. Had not been for devoted fans petitioning Facebook for appeal, this company's fan page would have never been restored. No explanation was given, except "error." A group with a smaller following would never have gotten their attention and all the work would have been gone. With everyone flocking to Facebook to socialize their business, this case shows that Facebook is a bad idea, indeed.

  9. johnwerneken

    magenta man - hater of all things either/or green or politically correct

    I can see why those ridiculed in the three referenced items might not care for it, I do not enjoy ridicule either.


    NONE of the allegedly "offensive" items were offensive to ME. And I dislike bullies, like gay and transgender people, and have a view of the middle east that no Arab AND no Israeli is likely to appreciate. So the issues concern me.

    WHAT CONCERNS ME MORE is the idea that Facebook would throttle free speech. (Of course they would they are Americans; Americans will do ANYTHING for a nickel, starting with throwing free speech overboard to please the 1d10t's amongst us. They are still id10t's whether they are 8 of them or 8 billion of them, THIRD PEOPLE OPINIONS SHOULD IN ALL CASES BE IGNORED ON ALL SUBJECTS!!!!)

    More than that, I am ASTOUNDED that any substantial AND rational number of suggestions might arise to take down any of those pages.

    MOST OF ALL I am flabbergasted that the Reg reports this asinine baloney as if it might matter to anyone with half a brain.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    re: NONE of the allegedly "offensive" items were offensive to ME

    We don't care what you think - British users have British laws, which don't guarantee freedom of speech but do provide protection from incitement and hatred.

  11. TrishaD

    Rugged Individualism

    It appears that Mr Werneken lives in some fantasy Wild Frontier world where personal abuse can be swiftly dealt with with a manly punch to the jaw, following which the perpetrators dust themselves down, think 'Lawd, we'd best not mess with Mr Crockett again', and retire as sadder but wiser human beings.

    Sadly, we dont live in such a world, we live in one where vulnerable people are targetted (personally) by nasty little shites like this. 16 yr old kids commit suicide because of this sort of abuse.

    A civilized society walks a tightrope between freedom of speech and freedom from harrassment. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we dont, but that line has to be recognised.

    Facebook need to raise their game.

    Mind you, of course, I'm transgendered so I probably would say that, wouldnt I?

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