Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caved to internal and external pressure and once again changed Facebook policies. He declared his platform will be “adopting some new policies to prohibit a wider category of hateful content in ads.”
In a June 26 livestream Zuckerberg said his company does “believe that there is a public interest in allowing a wider range of free expression in people’s posts than in paid ads.” However, he also acknowledged that while the company restricts what is allowed in ads, “we want to do more here to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric that is being used to sow discord.”
Zuckerberg has been hounded relentlessly by activist organizations and his own employees for not censoring the president of the United States, even after a $10 million donation to social justice groups.
President Donald Trump threatened a crackdown on the violent riots tearing apart the country with fire, looting, and racial attacks. And his critics furiously demanded he be banned from social media. Zuckerberg responded at the time that while he disliked Trump’s “divisive and inflammatory rhetoric,” he explained that he is responsible for reacting "not just in my personal capacity but as the leader of an institution committed to free expression.”
Facebook’s Hate Speech policy was already enormous and complex. It states the company defines hate speech as “a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability.”
Zuckerberg made clear that his platform would, as of today, be “adopting some new policies to prohibit a wider category of hateful content in ads.” He specified that this covers prohibiting “claims that people from a specific race or a specific ethnicity or national origin or religious affiliation or caste or sexual orientation or gender identity or immigration status, any claim that they are a threat to the physical safety or health or survival of anyone else.”
He also declared that Facebook will be changing its politics “to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads that suggest that these groups are somehow inferior, or ads that are expressing contempt or dismissal or disgust directed at them.”
Zuckerberg also vowed that Facebook would “ban posts that make false claims saying ICE agents checking for immigration papers at polling places,” a claim which he suggested is a “tactic used to discourage voting.” What Zuckerberg intends to say here is unclear, considering the fact that illegal immigrants can not legally vote.
Zuckerberg is a complicated figure when it comes to free speech. He later expressed in a post to his Facebook page additional notes concerning his Facebook live comments. In the post he wrote that he is “committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues, because I believe we can make more progress when we hear each other.” However, he also made clear that “I also stand against hate, or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we're committed to removing that no matter where it comes from.”
Zuckerberg announced in an earlier post on June 26 that he would broadcast an update on “some of the racial justice work we announced on June 5th, the latest work related to our civil rights audit, and a number of additional steps we're taking to prepare for the 2020 elections.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 or 1-650-543-4800 and demand that the platform provide clarity on “hate speech”: Today, hate speech means anything liberals don’t like. Silencing those you disagree with is dangerous. If companies can’t tell users clearly what it is, then they shouldn’t try to regulate it. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.