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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Why Facebook Can’t Censor Racist Speech




What has the world come down to, where one organization regulates what content can be communicated by everyone?

We used to fear government censorship, library or school book bans, and limits on a free press.  But now we have to concern ourselves with a handful of companies that in essence, control and dictate mass communication.  Our world has shrunk.  It gets filtered by a few companies:  

Google (includes You Tube), Facebook (includes Instagram), Twitter, Wordpress, Apple, Netflix, Pinterest, Amazon, Gannett, four major networks, five major book publishers.  

The information titans are more powerful than the government but they’re driven by profit, ideology, and politics.

The Internet seemingly needs a librarian, or an independent source that can:

·         Validate facts.
·         Label opinion vs. news/fact.
·         Identify fake news.
·         Alert us to scams.
·         Make sure ads don’t make false claims.
·         Keep a record of what’s been published and posted.

But right now we have a deeply flawed and compromised web, where liars and losers have undermined the purity and goodness the Internet promised.

Look at Facebook.  It’s been accused of many problematic practices in terms of how it stores and shares user information.  It was just accused of unfair housing practices because of how it does targeted advertising.  Now it’s embroiled in another half-baked policy to control free speech.  It’s a mess.

Facebook just announced how it will “ban white nationalism” just as it says it does not allow explicit expressions of support for white supremacy.  It is a stinking mess.

You might think that on the surface it sounds good that FB will shut down hate and intolerance, but in practice, it’s impossible to do and the arbitrariness of it all makes them the biggest tramplers of the First Amendment.

I don’t support acts of hatred nor do I want to live in a world where everyone is against someone simply because of what they look like, their gender, faith, or sexuality.  But I care deeply about the free exchange of ideas, even the bad ones.  In order for speech to truly be unshackled, even monsters get to have a forum.

Maybe before we curtail speech we look to address why so many groups feel the need to spew crap about others.  Being anti-something is bad, such as being anti-black, but being pro-something may not be much better if what you support is something that puts others down.  Think about it.  To be pro-black or pro-white can also be racist.  How do you stand up for your race without, as a result, put others down?

We are approaching, though not there yet, a certain level of equality between men and women, gay and straight, and black and white.  To reach fair treatment for all, at least legally, in public action and public speech, it takes decades, even centuries, of hard-fought court cases, demonstrations, violent protests, and mass media initiatives.  Women still earn less than men.  Blacks are still treated differently by the police than whites.  And many LGBTQ citizens still face abuse and discrimination.  But things are getting better.

So at what point do we stop noticing and discussing our racial-gender-sexual-religious differences?  At what point do we become done with needing groups to tell us to be pro-white, pro-women, or pro-gay?  When do we stop defining who we are by what we can’t change?  When is our self-worth no longer wrapped up in our skin color, or what’s between our legs, or whom we pray to?

We are a nation of miniature nations, tribes, gangs, and clicks. We are a divided country and the only way to evolve is to keep communication lines open and free, even if we don’t want to listen to the voices of others.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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