One Facebook, Two Faces
By Saad Mustafa Warraich, Karachi â€“ Pakistan
TMO Editorâ€™s Note: Facebookâ€™s policy concerning freedom of speech obviously has an underpinning of anti-Islamic bias, since Facebook obviously has the capacity and will to immediately ban pages supporting Hitler but on the other hand stands idly by while miscreants insult the holiest person to 1.2 billion Muslims. The experience below demonstrates Facebookâ€™s naked hypocrisy. At TMO we of course decry the terrible outrages committed by Hitler and the fascists, however the relevant point on this issue is the fact that Facebook protects the honor of certain sacred cows, while protecting at the same time the people who commit the very worst atrocities against other groups that are protected by their own policies regarding religious hate speech.
I had been banned from Facebook and my account had been disabled a night before Facebook was banned in Pakistan. Before all this happened, I visited the blasphemous page â€œDraw Muhammad Dayâ€ and the content on the page hurt me badly.
Once again a certain group of westerners called it the â€œfreedom of expressionâ€ and went on to show extremism â€“ something they always verbally disassociate themselves from.
As a response to this lunacy, I thought it best to find out how they respond to othersâ€™ right of freedom of expression â€“ I created an Adolf Hitler page right away and it read, â€œTo all those who think they can ridicule Islam in the name of freedom of expression and yet punish those who speak of the genius of Hitler.â€
The comment on the wall read, â€œLetâ€™s hit them where it hurts them the most.â€ Further I added some photos of the Fuhrer, Nazi Party and the Italian Footballer Paolo Di Canio who was banned and fined by FIFA two years ago for performing the â€œcontroversialâ€ Roman Salute which, according to him, gave him a sense of belonging to his people.
Within an hour tens of people joined the Hitler page which was named â€œH | T L E Râ€. The very next time I tried to log in I found out that my profile had been disabled for â€˜violation of Facebook Regulations.â€™
Facebookâ€™s reply for my inquiry was as follows:
After reviewing your situation, we have determined that your violated our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. One of Facebookâ€™s main priorities is the comfort and safety of our users.
We do not tolerate hate speech. Targeting people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or disease is a serious violation of our standards and has resulted in the permanent loss of your account.
We will not be able to reactivate your account for any reason. This decision is final.
Now how is it that Hitler is termed the most evil person in the history of mankind while those that bomb Muslims, commit heinous crimes in their countries, ridicule their Prophet (s) and Quran and as a result hurt the sentiments of 1.2 billion Muslims are hailed as heroes? And I wonder why the victims of Holocaust are more important than victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Despite the protest of a large number of Muslims, Facebook has not removed the blasphemous page from the website.
According the statement issued by Facebook their policy is to withhold such content in countries where it is controversial. The statement specifically says that we do not remove Nazi content from Facebook because it is illegal only in a few countries. As two-faced statements go, this one takes the prize. Perhaps before issuing the statement the Facebook did not realise that words like â€œAdolf Hitlerâ€, â€œSieg Heilâ€ and â€œNaziâ€ are not allowed to be used on Facebook to create new pages.
And if all this and the removal of Hitler page and the permanent deactivation of my profile isnâ€™t enough, here is a testament to Facebookâ€™s vile hypocrisy. The statement issued by Facebook on 20 May says, â€œWe strongly believe that Facebook users have the freedom to express their opinions, and we donâ€™t typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.â€
While, in another instance, Facebook replied to me in an entirely different way. Excerpt and screenshot is given above.
Now these two conflicting statements speak volumes about the discrimination by the Facebook. It simply means that Facebook through its official statement to global media wants the world to believe that they are the torchbearers of freedom of expression and allow everyone to speak their minds out. On the other hand the face that individuals like me get to see is a much horrible one. It talks about hate and intolerance and all forms of so-called equality and unshakable resolve. While Facebook is portraying itself as the silent and innocent onlooker for the entire world, I wonder what gives them the right to remove a major chunk of my life from the web.
I donâ€™t think Facebook should come up with any clarification statements for the Muslim world over what happened. It is clearer than crystal that as long as we are labelled as extremists, we are not going to enjoy the equal rights in this world. And those that are trying to play God love to label us that. While reporting the Facebook ban in Pakistan in different articles, guardian.co. uk mentions the brutality of Pakistan Army in Swat while Yahoothinks itâ€™s necessary to unveil Al-Qaidaâ€™s plans of attacks on Danish and Dutch football teams. It is a blatant attempt to criticize Pakistan for placing the ban, link the country to extremism and terrorism and thereby justifying this sacrilegious act of Facebook users.