(This Is A Re-Post)The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding(FFEU) headed by Hip Hop legend Russell Simmons and Rabbi Marc Schneier in conjunction with the World Jewish Congress United States and the Islamic Society of North America, hosted a group of 28 rabbis and imams from 10 European nations. The purpose was to take a big step in improving historically strained Muslim-Jewish relations.
If the dialogue in the social media universe, particularly Facebook is any indication of that understanding, they have a lot of work to do.
I recently spoke to Simmons’ Political Director, Michael Skolnik about the need to pay more attention with more urgency to the lack of said understanding spawning racial and ethnic hatred in the social media universe. In particular, the popular social networking site, Facebook.
“For us, growing to 250 million users isn’t just an impressive number; it is a mark of how many personal connections all of you have made, and how far we at Facebook have to go to extend the power of connection to the billions of people around the world,”
“Billions of people around the world”
That’s a staggering number if achieved. Lets just talk millions. Within the borders of the new “4th largest country” are millions of Jews, Muslims and other religious and ethnic groups. Many, as in the terrestrial world, fighting with each other by way of countless Facebook groups designed to denigrate, humiliate and infuriate.
A sampling of some of these groups shows just how much hatred is flowing in a medium where the message is spreading with terrifying speed. A matrix like environment that if not already, will soon be most influential medium in the world in the propagation of racial and ethnic hatred. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, there has been a 30 percent increase in hate groups on Facebook and YouTube alone. In addition they have identified approximately 10, 000 problematic hate and terrorist web sites hate games and other internet postings.
Lets take a look at some of the Facebook groups involved.
1. “Fuck Islam”
“This group does not promote any religion. The reason we oppose Islam is that it is false. It does happen to be dangerous for civilization and personal freedom, but the most central aspect to this religion is that it is wrong about the Quran, it is wrong about the value of Muhammad, it is wrong about marriage, it is wrong about government, it is wrong about sin, and it is wrong about god. Fuck Islam.”
2. Fuck Judaism
“Let’s critizise(sic) the most racist religion on earth!”
3. Fuck Jews With a picture of Hitler and a Swastika
4. Fuck Muslims
5. Klu Klux Klan Has a photo attached captioned “Die Jews”
This is a small sampling of hate groups on Facebook. The individual groups numbers range from the single digits to thousands. In a “country” of 250 million, the cumulative analogous numbers of racists bigots and other haters promoting Islamaphobia, antisemitism and racial bigotry is frightening.
Facebook has resisted doing much of anything to combat this problem taking the position that beyond a basic need to censor against violent speech and the most obvious and virile of hate rhetoric, it is not their problem at all. They are simply the medium or the soapbox.
In the interest of simplifying it’s business model and keeping stress off its infrastructure, Facebook has crafted a “hate speech policy” that relies on linguistic semantics, “binary certainty” and what they appear to believe are 1st amendment ideals.(The First Amendment does not apply to speech within social networks)
It reads as follows:
‘You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”
Call me crazy but the above listed groups seem hateful to me. Am I missing something?
Real translation? Hate speech is whatever Facebook says it is on any given day. There does not appear to be any consistent definition applied or standardized enforcement of any definition at all. This has allowed hate groups aimed at Jews, Muslims and other religious and ethnics minorities to grow with astounding speed and flourish within the worlds 4th largest country’
This is the level of ethnic understanding on Facebook. It is a free for all. It is time for an additional voice. A voice that can help reach the ever growing Facebook user base and more importantly those setting hate speech policy.
I hope A Foundation For Ethnic Understanding can be forged in our new fourth largest country, Facebook.