First let’s do Twitter….
- The image above was tweeted out by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. It really was. It was also deleted in seconds, but not before enough people and bots captured it to set the stage for her to get swamped by online mockery.
How much crap is it fair and ethical to give a public official who has this happen to her? My answer: an endless amount. Obviously Bowser didn’t do this; the incompetent she assigned to send out tweets in her name did. Too bad. If you delegate your identity, you are responsible for what goes out under your name. Should Bowser get more or less flack than, just to pick an example out of the air, Donald Trump, who sent out his own tweets and was widely mocked for every typo, poor chosen re-tweet, or dumb comment.?
Exactly the same amount.
- This meme has been going around on Twitter…
Boy, I didn’t see that ending coming. I thought we would learn that the one hired was the interviewee who left first….which would have been me, after about 30 minutes.
Anyone who would agree to work for a manifest asshole like the employer in the story is such a pathetic weenie that he or she deserves the abuse that such a job would inevitably entail.
I sure hope it’s not a true story. And I hope only a tiny percentage of those seeing the meme are not so foolish and submissive as to think this was a test of “patience.”
These tweets have not made me regret my decision to get off of Twitter.
Now on to Facebook, which is evidently trying to make me quit that platform too…
Facebook is adding the following to its “hate speech policy”: “Do not post: Content attacking concepts, institutions, ideas, practices, or beliefs associated with protected characteristics, which are likely to contribute to imminent physical harm, intimidation or discrimination against the people associated with that protected characteristic. Facebook looks at a range of signs to determine whether there is a threat of harm in the content. These include but are not limited to: content that could incite imminent violence or intimidation; whether there is a period of heightened tension such as an election or ongoing conflict; and whether there is a recent history of violence against the targeted protected group. In some cases, we may also consider whether the speaker is a public figure or occupies a position of authority.”
More: “This provision will appear in a section of the Community Standards devoted to policies that require additional context in order to enforce (for more about this group of policies, see here, under the heading “Sharing Additional Policies Publicly”). Specialized teams will look at a range of signals, as noted in the text quoted above, to determine whether there is a threat of harm posed by the content….By way of example, burning a national flag or religious texts, caricatures of religious figures, or criticism of ideologies may be a demonstration of political or personal expression, but may also lead to potential imminent violence in certain contexts. Previously, this content would have been left up; now, with context, we have created a framework of analysis for determining when it poses an imminent risk of harm and might be taken down.”
First Amendment expert Prof. Eugene Volokh comments in The Volokh Conspiracy:
“Protected characteristics are “race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease”; so it seems like Facebook may block:
- Criticisms of religious institutions and belief systems, if Facebook concludes they seem “likely to contribute to imminent … discrimination” against the targeted religious group.
- Criticisms of a foreign country or government (China, the Palestinian Authority, in principle Israel), if Facebook concludes they seem “likely to contribute to imminent … discrimination” against its citizens or people who share an ethnicity with it.
- Criticisms of pro-transgender-rights or pro-gay-rights beliefs, if if Facebook concludes they “likely to contribute to imminent … discrimination” against sexual minorities.
- Criticisms of feminism, if Facebook concludes they seem “likely to contribute to imminent … discrimination” against women.
- Criticisms of pro-disability-rights positions, if Facebook concludes they seem “likely to contribute to imminent … discrimination” against the disabled.
The Professor adds, “And of course the proposal contemplates that this would be applied to election campaigns, even when candidates for office are debating these very issues, and even when swaying a small percentage of the electorate can change the outcome.”
This is a Hanlon’s Razor classic: the people who run Facebook are either stunningly stupid and civically illiterate, or they are somewhere on the spectrum of evil. Right now, I’m guessing both.