Video: Robert Spencer on Facebook’s censorship of criticism of Islam

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 18, 2017:

In this new video, I discuss Facebook’s willing compliance with Sharia blasphemy laws, as indicated by Facebook’s Vice President Joel Kaplan traveling to Pakistan to assure the Pakistani government that material critical of Islam would be removed from Facebook.

Also see:

YouTube to Begin Censorship Via Mob Rule as Internet Titans Turn Liberal

Constitution, by Andrew West, August 1, 2017:

The war on conservatism has been waging on the internet for years, and now, YouTube is looking to get in on the action.

Recently, internet giants such as Google and Facebook have been working overtime to restrict the world’s access to non-mainstream media.  Facebook has been extremely egregious in their anti-conservative slant, openly admitting to employing a team of censors to eliminate right wing sources from appearing within their “trending topics” section.  This corrupt curation has been lambasted by watchdog groups the world over as nothing more than totalitarian censorship carried out by a power-hungry CEO.

Google has had its fair share of conservative controversy as well, as a number of popular search terms were neutered by the world’s most popular search engine.  Particularly, during the 2016 election, any searches for negative information on Hillary Clinton were either buried or completely omitted from the autocomplete results displayed on the website.

Furthermore, Google has already received record fines in Europe for their self-serving product search modifications that pointed consumers to Google-owned or Google-centric devices as opposed to the most popular devices as the website purported to be doing.

Now it looks as though YouTube, which is owned by Google, will also look to rig its search results, leaving free speech advocates concerned over the reality-shaping leftist scam completely inundating the internet as we know it.

“According to a post on YouTube’s official blog, videos will now be subject to the rule of the mob. If enough users flag a video as ‘hate speech’ or ‘violent extremism,’ YouTube may impose restrictions on the content even if it breaks none of the platform’s rules.

“‘We’ll soon be applying tougher treatment to videos that aren’t illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of our policies on hate speech and violent extremism. If we find that these videos don’t violate our policies but contain controversial religious or supremacist content, they will be placed in a limited state. The videos will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetized, and won’t have key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes.’

“YouTube has also rolled out a ‘trusted flagger’ program, in which 15 ‘expert NGOs and institutions’ to help them identify hate speech and extremism on their platform.

“Among these organizations are the No Hate Speech Movement, a left-wing project pushed by the Council of Europe, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, an organization whose president has been accused of ‘manufacturing outrage’ by the World Jewish Congress.

“YouTube is also planning to artificially alter its search results so that searches for ‘sensitive’ topics on YouTube no longer return the most popular videos, but a ‘playlist of curated YouTube videos that directly confront and debunk violent extremist messages.’”

While the concept of censoring hateful videos seems innocuous enough, the reality of this overreach will likely be much more damaging than imagined.

Free speech in America has been under attack for some time, with February’s UC Berkeley riots being the flashpoint for the liberal New Fascist movement to bolster their offensives.  These militant leftists believe that the First Amendment should be rewritten to nullify free speech in cases where people are offended.

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Also see:

YOUTUBE’S DANGEROUS CONFLATION OF “TERRORISM” AND “INFLAMMATORY SPEECH” by Daniel Greenfield

Google was unique as a major dot com with an absolutist position on free speech. Where Twitter eagerly censored the right and favored the left, Facebook favored the left, Google stood by free speech.

When Obama came looking for a Benghazi scapegoat and seized on the Innocence of Muslims video, not only did YouTube refuse to take it down, but Google fought an extended court battle over it. It was an impressive feat that is coming undone.

Google News and then Google began baking in partisan “fact checks” into search results. Then the search algorithms were retooled to promote Islamist views over those of counterterrorism critics, as Robert Spencer has discussed.  Search for Jihad and you’ll find Islamist results while Jihad Watch has been buried.

Now Google will have a cage for “inflammatory videos”. As a subset of measures being taken to flag pro-terrorist videos, there will be a crackdown on non-violent but inflammatory videos.

Third, we will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly violate our policies — for example, videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content. In future these will appear behind an interstitial warning and they will not be monetised, recommended or eligible for comments or user endorsements. That means these videos will have less engagement and be harder to find. We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints.

The question is who decides what is inflammatory or offensive. And what are the metrics?

Google is a private company. It has the right to decide who uses its service. But

1. Google is vocally fighting for Net Neutrality. There’s a good deal of hypocrisy in demanding that cable companies shouldn’t be able to rein in YouTube’s bandwidth as part of their own corporate policies, while playing the capitalism card when it suits it.

2. Google is a monopoly. There’s no way around it. It controls much of the internet. Its dominance in search is particularly troubling. As it begins biasing its results, the worry stops being abstract and becomes a real threat to freedom of speech. When a corporate monopoly can silence political dissent, we’re in troubling territory.

And this needs to be addressed.

Did Facebook Just Agree to Enforce Blasphemy Laws?

(Photo; Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Meira Svirsky, July 13, 2017

Doublespeak is language that deliberately distorts or even reverses the meaning of words. For example, when critics of radical Islam expose this extremism for what is it, Islamists and their “progressive” enablers call them “Islamophobes;” when those who call themselves “social justice warriors” campaigning for tolerance exhibit just the opposite (i.e., intolerance) by shutting down any conversation with which they don’t agree; when others force their religious beliefs (i.e., blasphemy laws) upon others in the name of freedom of religion (as in Canada’s new motion against criticism of Islam); or when perpetrators of crimes frame themselves as victims.

Doublespeak often leads to doublethink, as George Orwell writes in his seminal novel Nineteen Eight-Four: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.” In the novel, people explicitly learn doublethink due to peer pressure and a desire to fit in or gain status with in the “Party.”

With these definitions in mind, Clarion Project launches a week-long expose of some of the worst offenders:

A high-level Facebook executive met with the interior minister in Pakistan last week to discuss Pakistan’s demand that the social media platform remove what the Islamist country deems “blasphemous content.”

The fact the meeting took place at all speaks volumes about Facebook’s intent.

First, the tete-a-tete, the first-ever discussion on the issue between a senior Facebook exec and the Pakistani government, comes on the heels of the decision by a Pakistani “counter-terrorism” court to sentence a 30-year-old man to death for making “blasphemous” comments on Facebook.

Such an outrageous verdict should have caused any company serious about human rights to refuse to engage with such a regime. Even the fact that there exists such a law such a law that violates the basic — and what should be universal — right to freedom of speech should be reason to protest.

Yet apparently, business is business for Facebook.

Facebook has 33-million users in Pakistan. So not only did Facebook engage with the Pakistani government, they made assurances to the sharia-compliant country that they were committed to keeping their platform “safe” by “promoting values” that are in congruence with their “community standards.”

Facebook also committed to removing explicit, hateful and provocative posts that incite violence and terrorism.

In Pakistan, that means blasphemous content (as per Pakistan’s definition of blasphemy). Because in Pakistan, just the mere mention of blasphemy can incite mob violence and extra-judicial lynchings.

Pakistan is active in pursing internet service providers to convince them to make any criticism of Islam forbidden. In March, it convened a meeting of Muslim countries to discuss how they can shut down freedom of expression on social media with regards to blasphemous (read: anti-Islam) content.

As to how the meeting went with Facebook, Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said, “We appreciate the understanding shown by the Facebook administration and the cooperation being extended to us on these issues.”

So, when Facebook – which has a history of taking down material critical of Islamists — says to Pakistan it will remove “hateful and provocative” material, it is most likely doublespeak for “We will comply with Islam’s blasphemy laws.”

Unfortunately, compliance with – and even enforcement of—Islamist blasphemy laws has become an all-too-common fixture in the West.

In some cases, the West has simply bowed to Islamists under the threat of violence. After the Danish cartoon riots which spread across the globe and the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Western publications have demurred from publishing most any material deemed offensive to Islam.

Yet other examples are more insidious. Canada just passed a motion “condemning all forms of Islamophobia.” The motion, hailed as a “first-step” by its supporters, is dangerously close to and may even make illegal any criticism of Islam.

Europe, which has no bill of rights guaranteeing the freedoms enshrined in America’s constitution, has traditionally balanced freedom of expression with social concerns. In recent years, that balance has become defined through the relativistic morality of each country’s political climate, with freedom of speech in a serious decline due to pressure from Islamists and their “progressive” supporters.

If we intend to hold on to the freedoms we now take for granted in the U.S., pressure should be put on Facebook as well as any other company which exhibits compliance with sharia blasphemy laws. Otherwise, we will sadly see our rights slipping away as is the situation in Europe today.

Facebook’s Little Ethics Problem

Gatestone Institute, by Ruthie Blum, June 7, 2017:

  • Facebook has been aiding abusers of human-rights — such as China, Turkey, Russia and Pakistan — to curb the freedom of expression of their people.
  • “On the same day that we filed the report, the ‘Stop Palestinians’ page that incited against Palestinians was removed by Facebook… for ‘containing credible threat of violence’ which ‘violated our community standards.’ On the other hand, the ‘Stop Israelis’ page that incited against Israelis, was not removed. We received a response from Facebook stating that the page was ‘not in violation of Facebook’s rules.'” — Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of The Israel Law Center.
  • According to Darshan-Leitner, Facebook’s insistence that it cannot control all the content on its pages is disingenuous, if not an outright lie. After all, its algorithms are perfectly accurate when it comes to detecting users’ shopping habits.

There is a problem at Facebook. On May 8, the social media platform blocked and then shut down the pages of two popular moderate Muslim groups — on the grounds that their content was “in violation of community standards” — without explanation.

Had these pages belonged to the radicals who incite followers to violence, however, the move would have been welcome, and would have corresponded to Facebook’s Online Civil Courage Initiative, founded in Berlin in January 2016, to “challeng[e] hate speech and extremism online,” in the effort to prevent the use of social media as a platform for recruiting terrorists.

The pages that Facebook shut down, however — Ex-Muslims of North America, which has 24,000 followers; and Atheist Republic, with 1.6 million — do nothing of the sort. In fact, they are managed and followed by Arabs across the world who reject not only violence and terrorism, but Islam as a religion.

This, it turns out, is precisely the problem.

Angry Islamists, bent on silencing such “blasphemers” and “apostates,” troll social media and abuse Facebook’s complaint system. It’s a tactic that works like a charm every time, as conservative and pro-Israel individuals and groups — whose posts are disproportionately targeted by political opponents and removed by Facebook for “violating community standards” — can attest. As in most of those cases, the pages of the former Muslims were reinstated the next day, after their administrators demonstrated that the charges against them were false.

The president of Ex-Muslims of North America, Muhammad Syed, who is originally from Pakistan, complained about the practice in an open letter to Facebook, and demanded that the company do more to protect former Muslims from online harassment by Islamists:

“Ironically, the same social media which empowers religious minorities is susceptible to abuse by religious fundamentalists to enforce what are essentially the equivalent of online blasphemy laws. A simple English-language search reveals hundreds of public groups and pages on Facebook explicitly dedicated to this purpose [enforcing blasphemy laws online] — giving their members easy-to-follow instructions on how to report public groups and infiltrate private ones.”

Syed also started a Change.org petition, calling on Facebook to “prevent religious extremists from censoring atheists and secularists.” According to the website Heat Street, which broke the story, there are many other secular Arab groups that have been similarly flagged by religious Muslims on social media.

For its part, Facebook continues to claim that the sheer volume of material it deals with every day makes it virtually impossible even for its algorithms to distinguish accurately between posts that violate its own “community standards” and those that do not.

This claim has been refuted by attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of Shurat HaDin – The Israel Law Center, who has been engaged in a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against Facebook for failing to prevent or halt anti-Israel incitement on its pages. Darshan-Leitner decided to put her premise to the test at the end of December 2015, by creating two fictitious Facebook pages — “Stop Palestinians” and “Stop Israelis” — and posting hate-filled comments and clips on each.

For two days, from December 28-30, Darshan-Leitner’s organization continued to increase the level of incitement on both pages. For example, a post on the “Stop Israelis page” featured an anti-Semitic cartoon and the phrase “death to all the Jews.” Simultaneously, a post on the “Stop Palestinians” page read, “Revenge against the Arab enemy. Death to all the Arabs.”

At this point, according to Darshan-Leitner, Shurat HaDin reported both pages to Facebook and requested that they be removed.

“Facebook was very quick to respond to our reports,” she said on a YouTube video.

“On the same day that we filed the report, the ‘Stop Palestinians’ page that incited against Palestinians was removed by Facebook. Facebook sent us a response stating that the page was removed for ‘containing credible threat of violence’ which ‘violated our community standards.’ On the other hand, the ‘Stop Israelis’ page that incited against Israelis, was not removed. We received a response from Facebook stating that the page was ‘not in violation of Facebook’s rules.'”

Six days later, after a huge outcry in the Hebrew press and on social media, Facebook changed its initial judgement and removed the anti-Semitic page.

This kind of behavior is just what Muhammad Syed is railing about.

“Arab atheists, Bangladeshi secularists, and numerous other groups have been under attack for years, as religious conservatives in the Muslim world learn to abuse Facebook’s reporting system to their advantage. Early last year, multiple atheist and secularist groups were targeted with mass, coordinated infiltration and reporting — leading to the closure of many groups. These groups were eventually restored, but only after a lengthy and sustained effort by organizers to draw public attention to the issue.”

Darshan-Leitner said that although she does not consider Facebook guilty of incitement, its insistence that it cannot control all the content on its pages is disingenuous, if not an outright lie. After all, its algorithms are very accurate when it comes to detecting users’ shopping habits — information that advertisers pay a lot of money for the privilege of obtaining.

Furthermore, Facebook has been aiding abusers of human rights — such as China, Turkey, Russia and Pakistan — to curb the freedom of expression of their people. As the New York Timesreported last November, the social media giant quietly developed software to enable the Chinese government to suppress posts. This was CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s way of getting back in China’s good graces, after Facebook was banned from the enormous market in 2009.

Where Pakistan is concerned, the situation is just as delicate. In March, according to Al Jazeera, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned that blasphemous content on Facebook would be “strictly punished.”

Sharif has been trying to get social media outlets to adhere to his country’s blasphemy laws, which state that anything deemed insulting to Islam or Muhammad is a crime, and those convicted of it can be sentenced to death. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called blasphemy “an issue about the honor of every Muslim,” and threatened to “take strong action” against Facebook and other platforms that do not comply. He also mentioned, however, that Facebook had agreed to send a delegation to Pakistan to work something out.

This was a mere few months after Facebook signed a “Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online,” produced by the European Commission and also endorsed by Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube, asserting “a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world.” This, it stated, “is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.” (Emphasis added.)

This is a far cry from a whispered exchange, caught on a hot mic on the sidelines of a United Nations development summit in New York in 2015, between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Merkel confronted Zuckerberg about not doing enough to combat “xenophobic” posts relating to the influx of migrants into Europe in general and Germany in particular.

“We need to do some work on it,” Zuckerberg responded.

So far, all of Zuckerberg’s hard work seems to be paying off, but not for former Muslims such as Syed, seeking moral and intellectual support from the like-minded.

Ruthie Blum is a journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama and the ‘Arab Spring.'”

Facebook Has Been Regularly Shutting Down Atheist and Ex-Muslim Groups

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Heat Street, by Masha Froliak, May 9, 2017:

Yesterday, Facebook restricted and then shut down the public pages of Ex-Muslims of North America (24k followers) and Atheist Republic (1,6 million followers) –groups that advocate secularism and provide support to “apostates” (people who leave Islam and who often face persecution).

In fact, the ex-Muslim group claims that for the last several years, Facebook has been continuously blocking groups like it. The ex-Muslims have written an open letter to the social media giant, calling on it to “to stop exercising intellectual persecution” against atheist and ex-Muslim organizations and to “whitelist” such vulnerable groups from organized false flagging attacks.

On Monday, Muhammad Syed, the president of the Ex-Muslims of North America took to Twitter to report that the Facebook pages of Ex-Muslims and Atheist Republic were restricted (and the next morning shut down) “in violation of Facebook’s community standards”. No details were given as to what standards were violated. On Tuesday, after appealing the case, both groups were able to regain full access to their pages.

Syed believes the pages had been targeted in coordinated attacks by Muslim fundamentalists using “simple and effective” Facebook flagging tools to report that pages falsely for standards violations. Facebook, Syed said, isn’t doing enough to protect “groups vulnerable to malicious attacks”.

In the open letter to Facebook, which was revealed to Heat Street, Syed pressures the social media company to take measures to improve its reporting mechanisms and to protect ex-Muslim groups.

“Ironically, the same social media which empowers religious minorities is susceptible to abuse by religious fundamentalists to enforce what are essentially the equivalent of online blasphemy laws. A simple English language search reveals hundreds of public groups and pages on Facebook explicitly dedicated to this purpose – giving their members easy-to-follow instructions on how to report public groups and infiltrate private ones,” Syed writes.

The Atheist Republic group has been shut down 4 times in the last two years, Syed says, and then reinstated. He adds that attacks of this nature are not new and there are there are hundreds of Facebook accounts that are working to shut down atheist and ex-Muslim public pages in an organized effort. Facebook, he alleges, is doing nothing about it.

“Arab atheists, Bangladeshi secularists, and numerous other groups have been under attack for years, as religious conservatives in the Muslim world learn to abuse Facebook’s reporting system to their advantage. Early last year, multiple atheist and secularist groups were targeted with mass, coordinated infiltration and reporting – leading to the closure of many groups. These groups were eventually restored, but only after a lengthy and sustained effort by organizers to draw public attention to the issue,” he explains.

In his letter to Facebook, Syed, with the help of the Arab Atheist Network, compiled a list of groups that have been targeted in coordinated flagging attacks and shut down by Facebook in the last several weeks. At least nine other groups have been abused with Facebook’s reporting tool.

Syed, who was raised in Pakistan, believes that ex-Muslims are among the most persecuted groups in the world and that online platforms like Facebook are the “last refuge” for many atheists and secularists in the Muslim world.

Muhammad Syed

“Many of these groups are not simply pages – they are communities in which atheists who are abandoned by those around them find comfort, support and emergency assistance in case of persecution or abuse. The closure of these groups means the loss of these vital resources for the isolated and vulnerable,” Muhammad tells Heat Street.

The letter urges Facebook to create a “whitelist” for groups and pages that are vulnerable to such attacks and asks to penalize accounts that repeatedly abuse its reporting tools.

In the meantime, as Heat Street reported, in March Facebook kowtowed to officials in Pakistan and removed “blasphemous” content insulting Islam within the country. In this instance, Facebook had no problem with censoring freedom of speech on its platform.

Other atheist groups shut down by Facebook in the course of a month:

A Science Enthusiast (750,000 members)

Arab Atheist Network (23,500 members)

Arab Atheist Forum and Network (9,200 members)

Radical Atheists without Borders (23,500 members)

Arab Atheist Syndicate (11,000 members)

Arab Atheist Syndicate, backup (5,000 members)

Humanitarian Non-Religious (32,000 members)

Human Atheists (11,000 members)

Arab Atheists Forum and Network (6,400 members)

Mind and Discussion (6,500 members)

Facebook Enforces Sharia Blasphemy Laws

Published on Mar 31, 2017 by Acts17Apologetics

http://www.answeringmuslims.com
Pakistani officials are working with Facebook to purge the social network of content deemed “blasphemous” against Muhammad and the Quran. Further, Pakistan is demanding that Facebook help track down blasphemers for extradition and trial. Is Facebook becoming Sharia compliant?

Here are links to the articles quoted in the video:
https://www.dawn.com/news/1323131/fac…
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39…
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/16/pakist…

Zuckerberg-funded charity supports radical Islamic groups

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

WND, by Art Moore, March 30, 2017:

America’s wealthiest community foundation, with more than $8 billion in assets, has donated a total of more than $330,000 to two U.S.-based Islamic groups determined by the United Arab Emirates to be terrorist organizations.

The donations by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Islamic Relief are the targets of a national campaign by the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum.

MEF, led by Daniel Pipes, a noted writer and commentator on Islamic supremacist movements, is calling for immediate termination of the foundation’s funding for the Muslim groups in a Change.org petition.

Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR (VOA Photo/M. Elshinnawi)

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, or SVCF, is “the go-to charitable organization for some of America’s wealthiest philanthropists,” the petition notes.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a $500 million dollar donation to the foundation in 2013.

MEF said it privately contacted SVCF last month and presented evidence of CAIR’s and Islamic Relief’s extremist ties. SVCF leaders, however, “refused to discuss the matter” and “engaged in a flurry of ad hominem attacks on the Forum,” Israel National News reported.

MEF said it’s “unconscionable that such a leading institution as SVCF, which claims to support ‘understanding and tolerance,’ should help organizations that rely on ignorance and hatred.”

“To be precise, CAIR and Islamic Relief have a long history of providing platforms to speakers who denigrate and threaten women, Jews, Christians, the LGBTQ community, and Muslims belonging to minority sects,” MEF said.

CAIR has sued the authors of a WND Books expose, “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” which documented the group’s radical ties. A trial in the case is expected to commence this fall.

CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to fund the terrorist group Hamas, and both CAIR and Islamic Relief were designated as terrorist organizations by the United Arab Emirates in 2014, along with groups such as ISIS and al-Qaida.

According to evidence entered in the Justice Department’s Hamas-financing case, CAIR was founded by figures associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the worldwide movement that has stated its intent to transform the U.S. into an Islamic state. The case prompted the FBI to cut off its cooperative relationship with CAIR. More than a dozen CAIR leaders have been charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes.

Commitment to diversity and tolerance?

In its petition, the Middle East Forum cites regular speakers at CAIR and Islamic Relief events who have rationalized honor killings and wife-beating and advocated the death penalty for homosexuals.

“It should not be politically divisive to state that these ideas are incompatible with SVCF’s self-proclaimed commitment to diversity and tolerance,” MEF says.

MEF also charges that through its funding, SVCF is “legitimizing Islamists as leaders of American Islam,” enabling them “to speak on behalf of ordinary Muslims.”

While CAIR has complained of the unindicted co-conspirator designation, as WND reported in 2010, a federal judge later determined that the Justice Department provided “ample evidence” to designate CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, affirming the Muslim group has been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.”

In the ongoing lawsuit CAIR filed against the WND authors in 2009, the group alleged its reputation was harmed, and it sought damages in court.

But a federal court in Washington determined CAIR failed to present a single fact showing it had been harmed, and the organization gave up that specific claim.