After serious pressure from the German minister of justice, Facebook now has started to censor Postings in Europe and Germany in particular. According to the ZDF, postings will be deleted and the users may be banned if they contain “attacks” against races, ethnicity, national background, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, serious disability or illness.
Interestingly, there is no definition of what constitutes an “attack”. Is it an attack on race if you write you don’t want any immigration from Asia? Is it an attack on ethnicity, if you want to stop any further immigration by Arabs?
Both statements are clearly protected by free speech in Germany, unless perhaps if “because they are inferior” is added as a justification for that opinion.
Both statements may be considered stupid, but stupidity is legal. Still, no one knows how the anonymous censor will judge it.
“Attacks on religious identity” are also forbidden. Does this mean any criticism of Islam will lead to the ban of the person expressing it?
“Attacks on gender identity” may very well mean that the madness of the gender ideology, for instance the claimed existence of 65 genders and the idea a man doesn’t become a man because of his penis, but because he was indoctrinated through his parents raising him as a boy – can no longer be criticized – and thus attacked – on facebook without risking deletion of your account.
There cannot be enough emphasis on the word “attack”. We are not talking about calls for violence or heinous defamations. Attack is, what we Germans call a “rubber-word”. You can stretch it to cover practically everything.
The German minister of justice has pressured Facebook. His job includes protection of the constitution with its Article 5 guarantee against censorship. There will be no due process. No hearing the other side. No appeal and no probation, if the facebook censor doesn’t grant it. Those censored will not even know who enforced the censorship.
300 people were hired to perform this work. It is highly unlikely they all will be judicial experts. The number of comments will make it impossible for an overseer to double check and there won’t be any time to look into the context of a comment which may be a sarcastic exaggeration.
People making a living through Facebook will now have to consider in detail what they say, or to risk losing their livelihood. This will lead to self-censorship that occurs in despotic nations.
And, as a funny anecdote at the end: These measures weren’t deemed necessary when anti-jewish mobs ravaged German streets in 2014, shouting “Hamas, Hamas, Jews in the Gas” among other solgans and posting comments accordingly all over Facebook. But this is from a minister of justice, who called the terror attack on Charly Hebdo an “attack on Islam” while visiting a big mosque just hours after four Jews were killed because they were Jews in the kosher supermarket Hyper Casher. And of course, he didn’t visit a synagogue after that.
An example of this censorship at work has just come to my attention: