South Africa: Facebook is Still Censoring Black Activists

 
06 Dec 2017
 
South Africa: Facebook is Still Censoring Black Activists
South Africa: Facebook is Still Censoring Black Activists
 

“Black people from all over the world must come together and organize and mobilize against Facebook, on Facebook.”

 

A few months ago, the US-based investigative journalism website ProPublica leaked internal documents revealing Facebook’s guidelines for dealing with hate speech and abusive language for its moderators in training. These “guidelines” fall nothing short of racist, discriminatory and tone deaf. One example of blatant racism was a multiple-choice question asking the moderators-to-be, "Which group is protected from hate speech?" Among the options were: female driver, white men and black children. The correct answer to the question was: white men.

It’s no surprise that Facebook, a company where the top-level executives are cisgender white men and only 2% of its staff is black, would allow hate speech against black children before white men. The real dilemma, however, is that the victims of Facebook’s racist policies use it as an outlet to express themselves, organize and build movements for social and political justice. The growing power of social media is undeniable, so Facebook’s rules are not only harmful to freedom of speech, a basic human right, they also exclude marginalized people from using the power of social media to affect meaningful change through social activism.

“Facebook’s rules exclude marginalized people from using the power of social media.”

South Africa’s Black First Land First movement’s (BLF) president, Andile Mngxitama, is among the many black activists, globally, who have consistently been discriminated against, racially profiled and silenced by virtue of Facebook’s racist community standards guidelines. The BLF president practically has a Facebook jail cell with his name on it by now and it takes just a few drops of white tears for him to land back in jail every other week after he’s released back to Facebook society.

Just recently, the BLF president was silenced for three days after posting a statement discouraging the unlawful evictions of black people by the neo-liberal party, the DA and its coalition partners, the Economic Freedom Fighters, in the Gauteng Province. Facebook relies on users to report content for their moderators to review. So, keeping in mind the type of training these moderators received, they may have gotten the job because Facebook’s racist conduct resonates with them. They probably “correctly” answered that they would protect white men and not black children or women (from hate speech) during their training.

“The BLF president practically has a Facebook jail cell with his name on it.”

The most common, and in some instances appropriate, response to racist white establishments that rely on us to survive would be aboycott, because in the words of Zinzi Clemmons, “They can’t have our words if they don’t respect us.”However, most black activists have built a strong following on this platform. For instance, with movements like BLF and Black Lives Matter, social media is an easy way to communicate with and educate society and the people who look to them for socio-political action. So, to boycott Facebook would be to boycott the hard work they have put in to build their following, it would be to boycott social media mobilization (which has proven to be a powerful method for organizing rallies and marches) and it would be boycotting the right to be treated fairly and without discrimination.

“Social media is an easy way to communicate with and educate society and the people who look to them for socio-political action.”

Facebook needs to be transformed from the inside out. Their internal policies are just as problematic as the policies they impose on users.

 

The notion that Mark Zuckerberg & Co mustn’t be labeled as white supremacists because they didn’t intend for Facebook to be a breeding ground for bigotry and racism when it was created is utter rubbish because black activists are not being victimized by their intentions for creating Facebook; they’re being victimized by Facebook’s actions and policies. It’s Facebooks swift action against posts by black people that challenge whiteness for hate crimes and the actions that they don’t take to protect marginalized individuals from bigotry that underpins their white supremacist ethos.

 

Black people from all over the world must come together and in the ultimate act of savagery, organize and mobilize against Facebook, on Facebook; to send a clear message that we will not boycott because of all that we’ve invested into growing this platform but will also no longer tolerate being silenced and discriminated against.

 

Thabi Myeni is student and member of the Black First Land First movement in South Africa.

This article previously appeared in Pambazuka News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

Black people of the world should mobilize together and make their own daggone Book of some kind or another. My name's on Facebook, but I've never learned how to send messages on the sucker. It's only on there because my daughter wanted me to put it there. The CIA and FBI are probably involved in that joker and also the Police. They know every time you go to the bathroom on Facebook. Just waiting for you to screw up. I have family there; so far they're still "free".

Norland posted:

Black people of the world should mobilize together and make their own daggone Book of some kind or another. My name's on Facebook, but I've never learned how to send messages on the sucker. It's only on there because my daughter wanted me to put it there. The CIA and FBI are probably involved in that joker and also the Police. They know every time you go to the bathroom on Facebook. Just waiting for you to screw up. I have family there; so far they're still "free".

 

EXACTLY!

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