Monday, January 30, 2017
Facebook caves in to Polish patriots
On November 1, Facebook blocked the page of a Polish MP, Marek Jakubiak, who promoted the Independence Day march on his Facebook wall, following complaints from those who found the call to defend Europe against non-believers discriminatory.
Access was also disabled to FB pages of All-Polish Youth and other right-wing organizations promoting the march. The takedown followed community protests: complaints made by users who felt the march itself as well as its advertising were discriminatory and hateful. The complainants indicated the discriminatory content of the posts. Facebook later referred directly to the Falanga symbol, visible on the official posters, as a direct reason for the takedowns of hateful, discriminatory content.
Falanga symbol. It's basically a Christian image
However the predictable arguments of the company – that the takedowns followed community standards and mass user complaints – failed to satisfy the right wing activists. They did use the portal to promote their activity and seek community funding from mass followers per voluntary donations so the loss of advertising opportunity shortly before the march was particularly throbbing.
Jakubik and his followers threatened legal action against the company. The MP claimed his freedom of speech was violated and used his public role to emphasize the ‘threat’ Facebook represented to the public discourse in Poland, as he was banned for “being proud to be Polish”. Employees of a Polish Facebook branch were identified as left-wing lobbyists pursuing their political sympathies, influencing the Dublin-based community review teams of the company.
While the calls for the Internal Security Agency to go after Facebook were not yet followed by actions, the clear statement from Polish ministers, including the Minister for Digital Affairs who strongly criticized Facebook for censorship, banning posters promoting a perfectly legal public gathering in Poland, made Facebook lift their ban within the next few days.