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First, let me say that I am a total supporter of the internet. It needs no changes. Let it continue to grow and thrive. However, one of my fundamental assumptions has always been that there is really no incentive for internet providers to be biased. Any such suggestion of real bias would immediately lose them a huge market share. Their own self-interest is in maintaining a completely unbiased mode of operation. Actually, this is the least expensive, least complex form of online operation so why not do it purely from a business standpoint?
We have reached the day that my fundamental assumption must be tested. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Social Justice Warrior environment is so mindlessly one-sided that it doesn’t realize that it is itself the threat to social justice. Brendan Eich, a very hard working, personally hands-on tech entrepreneur, believed that marriage was between one man and one woman. He quietly donated $1,000 to an organization that supported his point of view. He was outed by the SJWs as not being politically correct and driven from his own company.
In this insane environment, we shall now look at another high-tech phenomenon. Mark Zuckerberg is no technical genius. I don’t think he can write a line of code himself. He is, however, a marketing genius. He created a fabulous marketing scheme called Facebook. He gave people free access to their own easy-to-use personal website. He pitched keeping in social contact with others. By selling advertising on top of this model, Facebook took off and has made Zuckerberg hugely wealthy. With wealth has come fame, power, and influence.
This would all be fine because that is what America is all about. Unfortunately, absolute power does corrupt absolutely and Mr. Zuckerberg needs to be called to task. From many different sources, there have been complaints of full-scale content bias manipulations by Facebook. Zuckerberg blows it off and sticks to a story of total innocence. This has held back the tide of anger in the past, but no more. The Senate is investigating claims that Facebook censors conservative news.
One odious example of this censorship occurred last year. In the midst of knife-wielding terror attacks in Israel, Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center received information that many of the terrorists were being recruited on Facebook. So they decided to do an experiment, placing two Facebook pages online simultaneously. One page was full of real hate speech against Palestinians. The second page used the exact same language as the first but with one change: “Israeli” was substituted for “Palestinian.” They immediately reported both pages to Facebook. Immediately, the page that had hate speech against Palestinians was taken down. The page that had hate speech against Israelis was left up with Facebook claiming that they couldn’t determine if it constituted hate speech. Shurat Hadin tried to contact Facebook and Zuckerberg directly but were given no hearing. The result was Lakin v. Facebook.
The Complaint was filed in response to a wave of terror attacks beginning in October 2015 by which Palestinians attacked people with knives, axes, screwdrivers, cars and Molotov cocktails for no reason other than a perception by the attacker that the victims are Jewish. Many of these attackers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder and the glorification of violence against innocent civilians they read on Facebook.
Zuckerberg did not respond.
The Complaint alleges that Facebook is much more than neutral internet platform or a mere “publisher” of speech because its algorithms connect the terrorists to the inciters. Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions and targeting advertising based on people’s online “likes” and internet browsing history. Additionally, Facebook often refuses to take down the inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its “community standards.” Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of Jews and Israelis. Shurat HaDin will pursue the claims against Facebook on behalf of its 20,0000 clients until Facebook makes it (known that it) will not allow itself to serve as a tool for terrorists to transmit their rabble rousing messages to their followers and that incitement to anti-Semitic violence will not be tolerated on its website.
G-d will be watching and all the money and fame in Silicon Valley will not excuse Zuckerberg’s conduct if he continues to ignore this.
I like the internet but not that much.