Posting death threats or threats that can lead to violence against anyone was once prohibited on Facebook, but this week the tech giant update its policy.
Now making allow death threats against individuals and groups the social media platform has deemed is “dangerous” is permitted.
The modified regulation states “high-severity violence” may not be posted, “unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news events, etc.”
In May, the company banned conservative pundits Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopolis and Laura Loomer in claiming they are “hate agents” and “dangerous.” Theoretically, users could post content threatening to kill these individuals, and nothing would be done by the company.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson following their removal from the platform. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive, and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts.”
Ahead of the 2018 midterms, Facebook purged more than 800 accounts as the social network clamped down on “inauthentic behavior,” including pages for the conservative Right Wing News and Nation in Distress.
“Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,” explained Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy and Product Manager Oscar Rodriguez, in a blog post. “Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was.”
There are at least 119 Antifa groups currently active on Facebook, many of which call for individuals they disagree with to be harmed. The group has thrown bricks and milkshakes laced with quick drying cement at people they disagree with. The Washington, D.C. Antifa group, SmashRacismDC has posted threats aimed at President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
“This is a message to Ted Cruz, Bret Kavanaugh, Donald Trump and the rest of the racist, sexist, transphobic, and homophobic right-wing scum: You are not safe. We will find you. We will expose you. We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.”
Yet, Facebook has not categorized Antifa groups as dangerous or banned from the platform.
President Trump hinted Thursday that he intends to push government action against Silicon Valley, as he railed against tech companies over demonstrable anti-conservative bias.
Conservative activist and journalists who have been shadow banned or deplatformed from Twitter and Facebook were in attendance of the event.
“Today I’m directing my administration to explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free speech rights of all Americans,” Trump said in a speech in the East Room of the White House. “We have terrible bias. We have censorship like no one has any understanding, nobody can believe. They’re playing with a lot of minds and they’re playing unfairly.”
Trump also pledged to hold “a big meeting of the companies in a week or two” as a follow-up.
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