Facebook treats everyone equally. Leftists wants whites and men to be at the bottom of the hierarchy.
A new misleading article is going viral on leftist and liberal-leaning social-political websites. ProPublica reports that white men are a protected class on Facebook, and that criticism of white men is considered hate speech.
Sure enough, hateful attacks against white men are considered hate speech and subject to possible deletion–just as a group of liberals have long said they wanted social media to take a harder stand on hate speech. So, too, are attacks on black men, white women, black women, Asian men, Asian women, Hispanic men, Hispanic women, Muslim men, and Muslim women considered hate speech.
Attacks on any such ethnic-gender (or religion) combination group are hate speech. ProPublica’s problem and that of those sharing the article is that they don’t want whites or men to have equal rights.
There’s nothing confusing in Facebook’s position. It’s spelled out in black and white–literally–in the slides:
How did a policy of policing hate speech impartially, without favor, turn into allegations of pro-white bias? How did it create headlines like these:
“Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children” – ProPublica
“Facebook’s Training Documents: ‘We Protect White Men’” – NY Mag
“Facebook Will Ban You for Talking About White Men. Black Children and Muslims? Not So Much” – The Root
“Leaked Facebook Rules Reveal Why It Won’t Protect Black Children From Hate Speech” – Gizmodo
“This slide reveals Facebook’s cringeworthy hate speech policies” – Mashable
ProPublica started the madness by framing its article in a provocative and misleading way that succeeded in its goal of driving clicks and shares. It appears from reading many of the above that many of the bloggers tasked with summarizing the article didn’t read enough to understand the reality.
While true that black children as a group aren’t protected from hate speech–because children and elderly aren’t protected–it would be just as true for The Daily Stormer to publish a headline shouting, “Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect Black Muslim Trans Women from Hate Speech But Not White Children.”
Age isn’t a protected category. (What would Facebook be without posts about how terrible millennials are?) And a Protected Category + a Non-protected Category = a Non-Protected Category. It is a “subset” of a protected category.
White children are going to shoot up schools. Muslim children are going to grow up to be terrorists. Teenage girls are conceited brats. All such hate speech is equally protected on Facebook.
ProPublica’s real problem is that white people should be treated equally. The article says:
“Sadly,” the rules are “incorporating this color-blindness idea which is not in the spirit of why we have equal protection,” said Danielle Citron, a law professor and expert on information privacy at the University of Maryland.
ProPublica also has a shallow understanding of the Constitution and free speech law:
Facebook’s rules constitute a legal world of their own. They stand in sharp contrast to the United States’ First Amendment protections of free speech, which courts have interpreted to allow exactly the sort of speech and writing censored by the company’s hate speech algorithm.
First, Facebook is a company. It’s policing of speech doesn’t constitute any kind of legal rule. There are no legal consequences for publishing speech that goes against its speech code. And there are no legal protections. Facebook has the right to manage what is published. That is, in fact, what these very same anti-hate speech activists have been calling for; they’ve been calling for Facebook to manage what people publish on their platform.
Second, the First Amendment protects speech targeting white males just like it protects speech targeting blacks, Muslims, Jews, Hispanics, Christians, and anyone else from government reprisal. Twitter’s decision to ban Milo Yiannopoulos and suspend Richard Spencer can just as well be said to “stand in sharp contrast to the United States’ First Amendment protections of free speech.” Yes, Spencer made a lot of outright racist attacks against minority groups, but the First Amendment doesn’t include carve outs for hate speech and doesn’t apply to American citizens of different races differently.
ProPublica might want to look at another Amendment: the Fourteenth Amendment and the equal protection clause. Yes, it applies to white men, too. It applies equally to every citizen.
Behind this seemingly arcane distinction lies a broader philosophy. Unlike American law, which permits preferences such as affirmative action for racial minorities and women for the sake of diversity or redressing discrimination, Facebook’s algorithm is designed to defend all races and genders equally.
Therein lies the problem: Some people don’t want everyone to be treated equally. They want to parcel out rights and privileges by race.