The leaked documents of Facebook’s secret rules and guidelines of moderating posts of its 2 billion users has revealed the social media giant’s double standard when it comes to Holocaust denial content. Facebook’s internal guidelines tell moderators to take down Holocaust denial posts only in four counties out of fourteen where it is illegal, because only in those four countries might Facebook face the risk of getting blocked.
Turns out that Facebook is ready to compromise one of its core mission statements “to make the world more open and connected” in order to safeguard its user base and not face the risk of being blocked anywhere.
One document says, according to the Guardian, that Facebook “does not welcome local law that stands as an obstacle to an open and connected world,” however it will block or hide Holocaust denial messages and photos if the company faces “the risk of getting blocked in a country” or if it could face legal repercussions.
Facebook guidelines tell moderators to take down Holocaust denial content in only four countries—Austria, Germany, Israel and France, even though such content is also illegal in another 10 countries where Facebook is okay with it. The document points out that such rule is not on grounds of taste, but because the company fears it might get sued.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook allows or restricts content geo-politically. Last year, the social media giant had no problem developing a censorship tool specifically for China, which suppresses content in accordance with that government’s strict censorship rules. Facebook decided it was okay to restrict freedom of speech in order to gain access to a market of 1.4 billion Chinese people.
In March, the social media company also cooperated with Pakistan when its government asked it to block “blasphemous content” (any content that is critical of Islam, and even posts favorable to atheism). Approximately 15 million Pakistanis have Facebook accounts, but Facebook doesn’t mind that they are not allowed to express their religious opinions freely on their platform.
Earlier this month, the site also agreed to a request by Thailand’s government to take down embarrassing photos of the Thai king walking in a crop top, because apparently the photos insult the royal family, which is illegal in the country.
Earlier this year Mark Zuckerberg pledged to increase censorship on Facebook, Heat Street reported. According to reported plans Facebook will not have a set of standards to govern the entire community, which means that users will not necessarily be free to share ideas and news, but will be censored in accordance to local governments and local laws.