Facebook has banned far-right groups including the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL) from having any presence on the social network. The banned groups, which also includes Knights Templar International, Britain
First and the National Front as well as key members of their leadership, have been removed from both Facebook or Instagram.
Facebook said it uses an extensive process to determine which people or groups it designates as dangerous, using signals such as whether they have used hate speech, and called for or directly carried out acts of violence against others based on
factors such as race, ethnicity or national origin.
This week we have seen David Lammy doubling down on his ludicrous comparison of the European Research Group with the Nazi party, and Chris Key in the Independent calling for UKIP and the newly formed Brexit Party to be banned from television
debates. It is clear that neither Key nor Lammy have a secure understanding of what far right actually means and, quite apart from the distasteful nature of such political opportunism, their strategy only serves to generate the kind of resentment
upon which the far right depends.
Offsite comment: Facebook is calling for Centralized Censorship. That Should Scare You
If we're going to have coherent discussions about the future of our information environment, we--the public, policymakers, the media, website operators--need to understand the technical realities and policy dynamics that shaped the response to
the Christchurch massacre. But some of these responses have also included ideas that point in a disturbing direction: toward increasingly centralized and opaque censorship of the global interne
Wikileaks was a whistle blowing website that shone a light on how governments of the world have been running our lives. And it was not a pretty sight.
Julian Assange who ran Wikileaks, is surely a freedom of speech hero, however he broke many serious state secret laws and has been evading the authorities via diplomatic immunity afforded to him by the Ecuadorean embassy in London. This has now
been rescinded and Assange has been duly arrested. He is now in serious trouble and will surely end up being sent to the USA to answer the accusations.
It is hard to see that the prosecuting authorities will be convinced by ethics or morality of the ends justifying the means.
Amazon has banned a book by Tommy Robinson. Mohammed's Koran: Why Muslims kill for Islam which he co-authored with Peter McLoughlin has now been removed from the store. According to McLoughlin the book was removed from the Amazon
database last month, and even second hand versions cannot now be sold. Despite scathing reviews the author said it was the No.1 best-selling exegesis of the Koran.
Amazon joins a long list of internet giants that have banned Tommy Robinson with only YouTube currently giving him a platform.
Robinson has accused major companies and media outlets, including the BBC , of censorship for removing his content which he claims should be protected under freedom of speech. He wrote:
This is the twenty-first century equivalent of the Nazis taking out the books from university libraries and burning them.
A spokesman for Amazon said:
As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable. That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain inappropriate content.
It is difficult to see how such censorship will soothe a divided society. Surely it will mean that people leaning towards progressive politics will see less that opposes their viewpoint. But on the other side of the coin decisions like this will
add to the anger of substantial numbers of people sympathetic to Tommy Robinson's views. They will likely feel that the silencing of Tommy Robinson is equivalent to the silencing of his supporters.