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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776
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Double Standards on Facebook

Ms. Blum worked through the wickets Facebook set up for restoring her account to its good graces, but was unable to determine what, exactly, had violated its standards.
Ruthie Blum (on the right, with blogger Batya Medad) was barred from Facebook for 24 hours at one point, and then for three days.

Ruthie Blum (on the right, with blogger Batya Medad) was barred from Facebook for 24 hours at one point, and then for three days.

antisemitism-disgusting-2

If you aren’t familiar with “banning campaigns” in social media, you probably wouldn’t guess that, of the two infosphere content types depicted above, it was the Ruthie Blum columns that got their user banned at Facebook.  But I think by now most of us have heard how this process works, and know that there are keyboard “warriors” making it their business to get conservatives and pro-Israel users banned from Facebook and Twitter, by “reporting” as offensive what is virtually always perfectly allowable content (i.e., according to the company’s standards).

Note:  I received information a short while ago that Facebook has resolved this issue with Ms. Blum, so we can hope that she doesn’t encounter the problem again.  I understand she plans to post an update to her 9 August piece.

William Jacobson (Legal Insurrection) picked up on this a couple of days ago, pointing out that conservatives and libertarians, with our heavy dependence on the web for connecting with each other, should be concerned about what happened to Blum.  There is little doubt that the trend of arbitrary exclusion in social media systematically favors the left over the right – and the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic over the pro-Israel.

But the opportunity doesn’t always present itself to make such a clear case for the double standard.  If the contrast here doesn’t make the case – the contrast between the Untold History site, which doesn’t violate Facebook’s community standards, and Ruthie Blum’s columns, which were vaguely but reflexively assumed to, for at least a while – then I don’t know what does.

J. E. Dyer

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