Monday, August 07, 2017

The pitfalls of censorship

Trying to protect people from reality is a mug's game. People need to learn to ignore unpleasant speech

Francie Latour was picking out produce in a suburban Boston grocery store when a white man leaned toward her two young sons and, just loudly enough for the boys to hear, unleashed a profanity-laced racist epithet.

Reeling, Latour, who is black, turned to Facebook to vent, in a post that was explicit about the hateful words hurled at her 8- and 12-year-olds on a Sunday evening in July.

“I couldn’t tolerate just sitting with it and being silent,” Latour said in an interview. “I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin, like my kids’ innocence was stolen in the blink of an eye.”

But within 20 minutes, Facebook deleted her post, sending Latour a cursory message that her content had violated company standards. Only two friends had gotten the chance to voice their disbelief and outrage.

Experiences like Latour’s exemplify the challenges Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg confronts as he tries to rebrand his company as a safe space for community, expanding on its earlier goal of connecting friends and family.

But in making decisions about the limits of free speech, Facebook often fails the racial, religious and sexual minorities Zuckerberg says he wants to protect.



Anonymous said...

The power of automated filtering systems, they cannot distinguish hate speech from reporting hate speech so even posts that should stay up get removed.

stinky said...

I call bullshit on her story cuz that's the way to bet nowadays.

Stan B said...

stinky - as much as it pains me, I'm trying to figure out what sort of bigoted racist redneck "whispers" profanity laced racial tirades? Most of the time, rubes who would do this are looking for affirmation from their friends, or just the enjoyment of the "shock" value of their words - but they want public acknowledgement. None of the people I've ever heard of doing this sort of thing are subtle "closet racists."

Bird of Paradise said...

Grow up and get over it Its time to climb out of the playpen(Safe space)and join the rest of us in the real world

Anonymous said...

I avoid Facebook and anything similar like the plague !