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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Facebook censorship

WARNING: This post contains graphic content.

What a joke.This morning when my alarm went off I noticed a random notification asking me to go to the settings on my phone and enter my Facebook password. I was confused. I did as requested, only to receive the following message: 

Again, I did as requested. And received the following message:

Facebook asked me to refer to its 'Community Standards' page to ensure my account stayed in good standing. And to remove further content that may be in breach. 

So curious as I was, I decided to read why my account might have been blocked and what content might cause it to be blocked again. I suspect the  justification for the restriction was the graphic content of the image posted. However, I know for a fact that the particular story with the image attached was shared 4 times from the Gaza TV News page and once from my page, yet it was only my content that was removed. Of course, it would cause too much controversy if Facebook blocked a media company reporting out of Gaza. But me? a little old nobody in NZ, insignificant. My guess, is that it has nothing to do with the image although this was the excuse used to restrict access to my account. I have been particularly vocal on my account and have expressed my condemnation of the Israeli attack on Gaza. I have not attacked Israeli's nor have I made any racist remarks. I am not anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic. I am against the tactics employed by the Israeli government and the propaganda used to justify the murder of innocent civilians in Gaza. I am against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government. 

Admittedly, the image is extremely graphic, but if this was the reason for removing the content from my account then surely every account that posted the image should have had the content removed? Right? Wrong. I can still access the story on Gaza TV News and other pages.

Here is what Facebook Community standards say about graphic content:

It appears that while a media organisation may share graphic imagery, the privilege does not extend to individuals. If an image is considered not to balance the needs of a diverse community on one Facebook page, then it does not make much sense that it should be allowed to remain accessible on Facebook via other pages. Selective balance. Additionally, perhaps Facebook thought I derived some sadistic pleasure out of sharing the graphic content? F* off Facebook. I made it clear that I shared the image because down here in little old naive NZ our government is turning a blind eye to the atrocities suffered by the Palestinian people of Gaza. I included a message to that extent when sharing the objectionable content. 

So what's really going on Facebook?  I'm hearing from various sources that Facebook has restricted access to many Gazan's or those expressing support for Gaza or Palestinian's in general, I even note that Harry Fear (Documentary Maker, Activist, Journalist) was blocked from his Facebook account when he first started reporting live in Gaza. Facebook claiming it was administrative error. 

I was pure and simple censored for expressing views that were not complicit with the US position on Gaza. Facebook is as crony as any other massive corporation and will continue to suppress information sharing where it disagrees with what you have to say. 

I also want to briefly mention that in order to prove that I was the owner of my account, I was asked to identify people tagged in particular photo's. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I don't systematically trawl through all my friends photo's so this seemed like a complete farce when I was asked to identify the person tagged in the following photo:

I have never seen this photo. There were also photos of babies I'd never seen, and photos that friends had been tagged in by people that aren't my friends, but your actual friend wasn't even in the photo? Stupidity.