Showing Nipples is worse than denying the Holocaust



 

Facebook finds itself under attack today with another aggressive post from Arrington.  The reason ?  They will not ban Holocaust Denial groups (Facebook Remains Stubbornly Proud Of Position On Holocaust Denial).  Explosive stuff.

The argument against banning is that Facebook cannot get involved in what its users are saying, as a guarantor of free speech.  The argument in favour is that clearly all Denialists I have ever listened to believe that humanity should finish what the Nazis started — and there is the rub.  I would not want to rank people’s suffering into categories, but Shoah stands on its own.

What’s interesting about this is the following: once again the law finds itself behind the reality of tech.

  • Why Nipples are worse then 6M dead: Nipples are banned on Facebook (and that would include nursing mothers) because the now-defunct COPA made it an offence to give kids access to “porn” (including nipples).  Hence if you did not want your site to disappear behing an 18-or-over certification, there was no choice but to remove nipples.
  • Why Facebook cannot ban: At the same time , sites like Facebook rely on their status as a hosting platform and safe harbours provisions of the DMCA to keep operating.  If they start meddling with content, they might be considered publishers and hence be held responsible for EVERYTHING that happens on the site.  The US being legally non prescriptive, it has no law against Holocaust Denial.  The recent difficulties encountered with PirateBay highlight the debate.

You can see why Facebook Corp.  are wriggling in this unfortunate position.  Do the right thing and ban the groups, and shut your business down ?  Now what a statement that would be !

I will leave the conclusion to some who has more authority to comment on this than I. As ouriel tweeted to me this AM:  @fdestin holocaust denial is less a crime than showing breast feeding pictures? well something is fucked up with the law

Indeed !

“<— Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”, for all of us

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One Response to Showing Nipples is worse than denying the Holocaust

  1. Howard says:

    Fred, I continue to be confused by your assertion that Facebook, once notified of content that violates their ToS, risks their safe harbor status. §512 declares that the safer harbor is intact when “upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, [the service provider] acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;”. Service providers are permitted to tamper with user-uploaded content after they have actual knowledge. Once the issue is brought to their attention from outside sources, they no longer can be accused of pre-filtering or screening content and making editorial decisions.

    At any rate, the FB ToS makes it very clear that they currently reserve the right to take down any content in violation of any of the no-no’s listed in their Statement of rights and responsibilities, a stance that appears to support the view that they are not concerned about losing the safe harbor when they have actual knowledge. They do not limit themselves to removing only illegal content, but content deemed to abuse their ToS.

    You can read a further statement of their policy in the FAQ — Help Center>Privacy: Report abuse:
    “I need to report someone for violating Facebook’s Terms of Use.”
    FB responds:
    “Facebook encourages all users to utilize “Report” links when they find abusive content. In most cases, you will find this “Report” link below the content that you are viewing. Selecting this link takes you to a form where you can specify the type of abuse and submit a detailed report. Facebook investigates these reports and determines whether or not the content should stay up based on our Terms of Use. All abuse reports on Facebook are confidential.”

    http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=843