An interesting little thought experiment here – is Facebook actually banning people for being dangerous or for being unfashionable among the bien pensants? For what Facebook has done is state that anyone they regard as being white supremacist is to be banned from the platform. Sure, of course, they’re a private organisation, they can ban anyone they like for any reason.
Actually, well, no, they can’t, they’d be grossly guilty of gross discrimination under the law if they banned people on the basis of their race, gender, sexuality and whatever else is a protected characteristic these days. But in a better world yes, private property would mean private property.
But, you know:
Years after the company first dismissed fears it was empowering extremists, Facebook has permanently banned a number of far-right organisations and individuals including the British National party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First . The ban, which came into effect at midday on Thursday, extends beyond the groups and individuals specifically cited as hate organisations: posts and other content that “expresses praise or support” for them will also be banned, as will users who coordinate support for the groups.
It’s only a few years back that the BNP had a duly elected MEP and I think they might have a councillor or three even now. Banning a legal political party seems a tad extreme.
In a statement, Facebook said: “Individuals and organisations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook. Under our dangerous individuals and organisations policy, we ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence. “The individuals and organisations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram. Posts and other content which expresses praise or support for these figures and groups will also be banned. Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organisations, pages, groups and content against our community standards.”
And now to our test. This is about hatred, not the specific views, yes? This is about danger to the society as a whole through the expression and whipping up of that hate, yes? The thought experiment:
Let’s replace the shouting against Pa!i, K!ke And Ni!!er with Bourgeois and Capitalist. Now, those groups going to get banned? The people who call for the elimination of the bourgeoisie as a class? When that was tried it was just as bloody and awful as anything the race baiters tried after all.
Hmm, what’s that? The revolutionary communist parties aren’t going to get banned? It’s OK to laud Pol Pot but not Julius Streicher?
So, it is about the views themselves, not danger nor hatred, isn’t it? That is, if you want to kill the right people you’re not banned at all.