Who Will Shape Facebook’s Censorship Policies?

Who Will Shape Facebook’s Censorship Policies?
FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows the log-on screen for the Website Facebook on an Ipad, in Bordeaux, Southwestern France on... Regis Duvignau May 18, 2017 10:23am EDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to protect free speech. But his platform, the largest and most influential social network in the world, regularly clamps down on free speech on behalf of authoritarian regimes. Facebook seems to be at a dead en in terms of growth, will it make it's big push into foreign countries and if so will free-speech be an issue? Some of these countries aren’t happy with the idea of letting their citizens have access to free-speech friendly platforms, and impose conditions on Facebook’s operations within their borders.

Will Zuckerberg's protection of free speech be compromised? Below are some details on these countries:

  • China: Facebook was banned from China following riots in 2009 in Ürümqi and revelations that the Xinjiang independence activists behind the riots used the social network to organize. Facebook has been desperate to re-enter China’s massive market ever since.
  • Turkey: Frequently censors its citizens on the internet. During the coup attempt against President Erdogan last year, all social media was blacked out across the country. Just last month, Turkey blocked access to Wikipedia.
  • Pakistan: Also known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is currently undertaking a massive crackdown against what it describes as “social media blasphemy.” The state recently sent out a text message to millions of Pakistanis urging them to report their fellow citizens if they suspect them of “blasphemous” posting, effectively encouraging a citizen-led religious Stasi. Pakistan has asked Facebook for help identifying blasphemers on social media — even those outside the country, so it can pursue their extradition. Facebook has not denied complying with the request, instead saying that the company “reviews all government requests carefully, ‘with the goal of protecting the privacy and rights of our users."
  • Russia: The media is determined to find evidence of collusion between President Trump and Russia, but there is considerably more evidence to be found of Facebook doing the bidding of the Russian government, which is frightening the social network by threatening to ban it from the country. The pressure seems to have paid off – in 2014, Facebook blocked a page supporting Alexei Navalny, described by the Washington Post as “Putin’s biggest critic.”  
  • Germany and the European Union: In response to the migrant crisis and the subsequent crime and terrorism wave sweeping Europe, Germany has taken a keen interest in scrubbing criticism of their catastrophic mass migration policies from social media. German police have even raided homes over alleged “Facebook hate speech,” and one couple was taken to court and sentenced for criticizing mass migration on the platform. In September 2015, German chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard asking Mark Zuckerberg if he was “working” on clamping down against allegedly “hateful” content on the platform, to which Zuckerberg replied “yeah.” The German government has also threatened to fine Facebook if it does not clamp down on “fake news,” while the European Union has threatened “non-legislative action” if social networks like Facebook and YouTube do not tackle “hate speech’ on their platforms.

Breitbart News / TRUNEWS summary. 

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