On July 13th I reported on the FACEBOOK CRACKDOWN ON ANTI TERROR GROUPS UPDATED: FACEBOOK refusing to remove groups that deny the Holocaust, Aids the spread of hate - read the whole thing.
LICRA, The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism – or Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme (LICRA) in French— was established in 1926, and is opposed to intolerance, xenophobia and exclusion. They are fighting back and taking on the anti-semitism at Facebook.
The LICRA's aim is to stay in permanent alertness concerning any kind of discrimination. It fights against everyday racism and the banalization of xenophobic acts. It helps the victims who are most of the time not aware of their rights. It pays attention to any racist speech in the media. It does not want in any case to alter the press's freedom of speech, but only to find and correct any hate or discrimination incitement. It also makes sure that any negationist document is removed from sale. Moreover, it sues websites that publish racist or anti-semite content, and warns the hosts about the risks their bring upon themselves. Finally, it attacks racist contents in some political speeches. The convictions that have already been made prove that these are crimes, not points of view.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO
156 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Paris, July 22, 2009
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,
The International League against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA) has fought racism,
antisemitism, Holocaust denial and negation of genocide and crimes against humanity in all forms of expression for more than 80 years. It defends the moral interests, honor and memory of all deported persons and victims.
The International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH) is a 18-country strong network that
counters multiple forms of online discrimination and hate, including Holocaust denial.
In that light, our organizations are very concerned by the positions your company has taken with respect to online content that denies the Holocaust.
Holocaust denial is one aspect of antisemitism. So-called science has been used to deny Jews – and others – the status of human being and today the Internet is used as a perfect disseminator to perpetuate this hatred, e.g. by those that see gain in reviving the Nazi-era. Indeed, when President Obama visited Buchenwald, he condemned the “ignorant and hateful” statements of Holocaust deniers.
Many European countries that suffered deeply as a result of the Holocaust have passed
legislation condemning racism, including denial of the crimes of World War II. This is why Facebook has undertaken to comply with these laws by preventing access to online Holocaust Denial in those countries. However commendable this is, it is an action based on fear of litigation. Surely it would be more fully justified and honorable if Facebook would change its policy and take action against this harmful content irrespective of country, but based on moral, ethical and civic grounds.
I hope that you will reconsider Facebook’s position on this very sensitive issue.
President of LICRA
Philippe A. Schmidt
Chairman of INACH
Vice President of LICRA
Secretary-general of INACH
Facebook Launches Massive Attacks Against Anti-Terrorists By Benyamin B.
Last week, three anti-terrorism organizations were targeted in a massive crackdown by Facebook. The organizations - The Anti-Terrorism Coalition (ATC), Facebook-based American Infidel (AI) and Facebook-based Infidel Forces (IF) - were involved in taking over Islamic terrorist, pro-terrorist and other hateful groups operating on the popular networking site.
IF, which was formed in 2008, had originally been created to counter Facebook's bias against anti-terrorist, patriotic and other freedom-loving groups and individuals. While countless terrorist, pro-terrorist and other hateful groups and users have been allowed to operate freely on Facebook, friendly users and groups have constantly been banned and shut down, respectively. Thus, the creators of IF decided to both "level the playing field" and combat cyber terrorists, at the same time.
By then, Facebook's blatant bias toward hostile groups and against allied groups was beyond obvious. David Appletree, the leader of the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF), was (and still is) getting banned frequently for his group's actions against hostile groups. The JIDF had been involved in taking over hostile groups and getting others banned, by having massive numbers of its users report them to Facebook. In one instance, David Appletree was banned for being an administrator of a group that was taken over by Islamic hackers, while no action was taken against the hackers.
Facebook's favoritism of the very same people "who would kill all of its male employees and put all of its female employees in burqas" has also made it to the news on numerous occasions. In one instance, after Islamic hackers took over a massive pro-Israel group, Facebook banned the group's creator - a 14 or 15 year old American Jew by the name of Todd Snider. While this story was picked up by the anti-terrorism community, especially by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, the David Horowitz Freedom Center (and Frontpage Magazine) and some others; it was largely ignored by the mainstream media.
This led IF to take over hostile groups and infiltrate others by sending in operatives posing as Islamic terrorist sympathizers. The AI, and later, the ATC both subscribed to IF's effort. Operating in accordance with Facebook's terms, IF began to join hostile groups left without administrators and grant themselves administrative powers.
By early this month, the allied effort had managed to take over more than 150 hostile groups and prevent the hostile takeover of approximately 15 - 20 friendly groups. Additionally, several friendly groups that had been taken over by hostiles were "liberated" by the allies, after they took those groups over themselves.
It was then that Facebook launched its mass purges against the AI, IF and ATC. In late June, Facebook sent a warning to IF and AI members for "uploading" a picture of an Israeli flag, in which the Star of David was replaced with a swastika, to the group "Stop the israelian Genocide against Ghaza". Facebook staff also took down the picture. In reality, this group had actually just been taken over by allied forces and they had not yet had the chance to change the picture. In fact, the picture had been uploaded by the group's terrorist and anti-Semitic creators at least several months ago. Interestingly, during this lengthy period of time, Facebook did not take any action against the group or its original administrators.
About a week later, on July 2, Facebook disabled the accounts of two high-ranking AI members (who were also administrators of AI's Facebook group). Asked to be identified only as Ben and Hodge, the two had been active supporters of IF's effort and had lent them a hand on several occasions. Then, on July 5, IF leader Jack Johnson, several other IF members and ATC member Jack Turner were banned by Facebook. This was followed with the banning of IF's second in command, Mike Jenkins, on the following day. Facebook also banned every single undercover account being used by the three allied groups, effectively shutting down all of their attempts to infiltrate hostile groups.
In the aftermath of these attacks, almost all the groups controlled by IF and its allies were left without administrators, and thus, susceptible to hostile takeover. Within several days, approximately a quarter of all these groups had fallen back into enemy hands.
In addition, any threads and posts made on any Facebook groups at all by any of the banned individuals were automatically deleted when they were banned. Thus many anti-terrorism groups, in particular, lost an overwhelming amount of posts and threads. The AI group suffered perhaps the greatest data loss of them all. This completely hampered the debates, discussions and the dialogue going on at these groups. One AI member expressed great dismay that the debates he had been having with a Muslim individual at the AI group had been deleted, adding that "they were extremely respectful and informative."
Not one of the individuals banned has thus far been able to get Facebook to reactivate their accounts, with a staff member by the name of Lysander explicitly telling both Ben and Hodge that they had violated Facebook's terms, that he was not able to "provide further explanation" of their violations, that their decision to ban them was final and that all of their subsequent inquiries would be ignored. IF leader Jack Johnson has provided a rather detailed account of exactly what happened on the ATC Website: http://www.atcoalition.com/news/viewarticle.php?id=29.
On top of all of this, Facebook has been engaging in surveillance of the ATC and other friendly websites. It first began to visit the ATC website hours after the original press release that broke Facebook's crackdown against allied groups was published.
To my knowledge, never before, in the history of Facebook, has such a massive crackdown as this ever taken place. In fact, few Western companies have been able to match Facebook in their ultra-Chamberlainian actions. This incident ranks up there with Yahoo's targeting of the ATC and other allied websites in June of 2003 and Network Solutions' banning of the website where Geert Wilders planned to release Fitna in March of 2008.
And while us and our allies have abided by the law and by Facebook's terms, countless numbers of Facebook groups and users that in the past and present put up swastikas, post pictures with the Star of David crossed out, post pictures of American and other allied flags being burned, call for violence against non-Muslims, hack into accounts and groups (thus also breaking the law) and commit other despicable acts are, for the most part, unmolested by Facebook. In fact, only when friendly groups such as the JIDF ask massive numbers of their supporters to report individual hostile groups to Facebook staff does any action get taken against such groups.
In the meantime, my organization - the ATC - will continue to expose the radical leftist and authoritarian nature of Facebook.
Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme
Paris, le 23 juillet 2009
COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE
INTERNET - RACISME
La LICRA APPELLE Facebook A prendre des mesures
contre les contenus négationnistes
La LICRA et l’INACH, réseau international contre la haine sur Internet, se sont associés afin d’exprimer à Facebook, dans un courrier adressé ce jour à son Directeur général Mark Zuckerberg, leur plus vive inquiétude quant aux prises de position de l’entreprise américaine en matière de contenus négationnistes sur Internet.
Les deux ONG ont rappelé à Facebook que la contestation de l’Holocauste est une facette de l’antisémitisme et que l’outil Internet est aujourd’hui un moyen redoutable d’une diffusion massive de ce langage de haine.
Si le récent engagement de Facebook à respecter les législations nationales en empêchant l’accès aux contenus négationnistes dans les pays réprimant le négationnisme constitue un pas en avant, il n’est certainement pas suffisant.
La LICRA et l’INACH ont donc demandé à Facebook de reconsidérer sa politique en étendant cette mesure à l’ensemble des pays, quelles que soient leurs législations, sur une base morale, éthique et citoyenne.