Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, August 13, 2012

Does Facebook defend racial hatred?

Some interesting developments have emerged from the continuing disgrace that was Facebook allowing and implicitly defending racial vilification.

I referred matters to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Today I received the following advice from the Commission:

Racial hatred is
·        an act that is done in public;
·        which is done because of the race, colour, or national or ethnic origin of a person or group; and which is
·        reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate that person or group.

1. The Abo-Memes account on Facebook and its predecessor were by definition 'public'
2. It was expressly targeting indigenous Australians by virtue of their "race, colour, or national or ethnic origin"
3. I have obtained opinion from Indigenous Australians that I know and it was 100% offense (and most definitely not, as one of Abo-Meme's public supporters claimed in those pages, that 98% of Aboriginals would not have a problem with the content!).

So it appears to be pretty much a textbook case that this material fits the legal definition of 'racial hatred' in Australian legal jurisdictions. So the question that Facebook are still yet to answer is why they elected to defend those acts of racial hatred?  Remember that Facebook dismissed my complaint against the Abo-Memes Facebook pages on the basis that it did not breach Facebook's Community Standards. And those Community Standards include acts of:
- Bullying and Harassment; and
- Hate Speech.

Quite clearly the actions of Abo-Memes were both racial harassment and hate speech. Under the Australian Human Rights legislation, the actions of Abo-Memes were in breach of the legislation and thus sure to be found to be illegal. But Facebook apparently deem themselves  to be above a nation's own laws. By claiming there was no evidence of any breach of Community Standards, impso facto, Facebook would appear to be defending those actions despite quite clear legislative restraints.. And they are still yet to respond to me on these matters.

Now the downside of things. I am not of Indigenous Australian descent. I wouldn't have thought that to be terribly relevant. However under the same Human Rights legislation, I am not able to lodge a complaint relating to indigenous matters as blatant as those of Abo-Memes because I am not of indigenous descent, not matter how offended and upset I may have been. By that same logic, John F Kennedy would not have been able to enact his Civil Rights reforms in the USA because he was (as far as I am aware) not of African American descent and those reforms did not represent any specific party but overall social and civic reform. 

So no matter how many of us are offended by those acts of racial vilification that are a textbook example of breaching Australian Human Rights  legislation, it is only a small minority of persons who are actually allowed to take action against it. 

Am I the only one who thinks this is complete garbage?

No comments: