This policy information is important to know because FB is filled with vigilante groups, many of them have been featured on this particular blog over the years, including vigilante biker gangs, online hate groups, and individuals organizing to cause harm to registered citizens. However, it is apparent from the leaked reports that only a small number of individuals are actually protected by Facebook. In fact, only a handful of people are considered “vulnerable persons” that are protected from speech a moderator might consider a “credible threat of violence.”
Vulnerable persons include: heads of state, next in line for head of state, candidates for head of state, specific law enforcement officers, witnesses and informants, people with a history of assassination attempts, people listed as targets on hit lists created by banned dangerous organizations, activists, journalists, homeless people, foreigners, Zionists, and in the Philippines, drug users and dealers.
According to the Facebook manual, posting “someone shoot Trump” should be removed, but telling people to “kick a person with red hair” or “snap a bitch’s neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of her throat” is completely allowed. Also, based credible threat of violence is expected to include an “achievable time.” Plus, statements that include “next time I see you,” “sooner or later,” or specific time frames should also be removed, but we know that’s rarely the case. In addition, certain groups could be considered vulnerable by region. Facebook warns moderators to also eliminate threats against vulnerable targets, outing affiliation, singling out targets, aggregating targets, and calling for street justice depending on the region. Also, accompanying a threat with a picture of a firearm supposedly violence Facebook policy as well.
Perhaps the most damning evidence of all that Facebook allows vigilante violence to be advocated on their website is in the section of “non-credible threats.” Included in this list of non-credible threats is, “advocating for capital were cruel and unusual punishment for crimes Facebook recognizes.” Next to this statement is a text bubble saying “hang child molesters.” They use another example of non-credible threats of violence on the next page, with another text bubble saying, “Pedophiles are going to experience the electric chair! They deserve it anyway!!”
Since this is directly from Facebook’s hidden policy on removing credible threats of violence, the strong implication here is that Facebook advocates violence against registered citizens because they don’t consider us a vulnerable class of people. To use threats against registered citizens as an example of what is allowed on Facebook shows the indifference that Facebook employees have against many other unpopular groups of people as well. This should be a huge cause of alarm for those of us in the anti-registry movement who rely on Facebook for expressing their First Amendment rights.
I personally believe that the only way this is going to change is through a lawsuit. For far too long, Facebook has been deleting the accounts of registered citizens while allowing hate groups like those profiled on AZUnites to proliferate, recruit, and continue to operate online. There’s no telling how many vigilante attacks have occurred because of this. And, in light of the recent Packingham case, the rights of registered citizens should be taken more seriously by Facebook, who should already have a great responsibility of protecting the rights of all of its users. More and more, news media outlets are turning to Facebook only commenting as the way to share ideas among viewers. Even my recent interview with Ashleigh Banfield was a Facebook only comment section. Thus, like it or not, the ability to respond to, to advocate, or to express a dissenting opinion requires a Facebook account in many instances. And registered citizen should be able to express their viewpoints without fear of reprisal from online vigilante thugs. The question is, who has the resources and is willing to take on this challenge?