Archive for the ‘Hate Speech’ Category

Spanish court throws out ‘hate crime’ complaint against archbishop – Catholic News Agency

Granada, Spain, Aug 10, 2017 / 12:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Spanish state prosecutor has dismissed a hate crime complaint against the Archbishop of Granada after an LGBT activist group claimed he had preached hate against transgender people in a homily.

According to EFE news agency, the case was thrown out because the Granada prosecutors office could not find sufficient cause to bring legal action against Archbishop Francisco Javier Martnez of Granada.

In February, the activist group Observatory against LGBT-phobia filed a complaint against the archbishop, claiming that he promoted hate speech against LGBT persons in a homily in which he lamented the introduction of gender ideology to young children in school.

There is a short-sightedness and lack of intelligence in introducing this ideology to children, the archbishop said in his homily at the time.

We are equal in dignity…but we are not interchangeable, he said of biological differences between men and women.

In their complaint, the activist group asked the judge to prosecute the archbishop in an express and exemplary way, in order to put an end to this unjust scourge of hate speech.

The prosecution said the case was dismissed in part because of freedom of speech found in the Spanish constitution, according to EFE.

A similar complaint was filed against another archbishop in 2016, when feminist and LGBT activist groups accused Cardinal Antonio Caizares, Archbishop of Valencia, of hate speech following a homily in which he warned of attacks against the family that came from movements and actions of the gay lobby, ideologies such as radical feminism or the most insidious of all, gender ideology.

A court in Valencia dismissed the case in September 2016, citing the cardinals freedom of speech.

Tags: Religious freedom, Catholic News, Free Speech, LGBT

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Spanish court throws out ‘hate crime’ complaint against archbishop – Catholic News Agency

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

‘Hate speech’ tweets painted at Twitter HQ in protest – BBC News


BBC News
'Hate speech' tweets painted at Twitter HQ in protest
BBC News
A German satirist who claims Twitter is failing to delete hate speech has captured the firm's attention offline – by stencilling the offending messages outside its Hamburg office. Shahak Shapira, who is Jewish, said he had reported 300 incidents of
German-Israeli Artist Targets Twitter Over Hate SpeechFortune
Artist Vandalizes Twitter HQ in the Name of Killing Hate SpeechInverse
A Man Spraypainted Hate Tweets in Front of Twitter's Office After It Failed to Delete ThemAdweek
Irish Times –Deutsche Welle
all 22 news articles »

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‘Hate speech’ tweets painted at Twitter HQ in protest – BBC News

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Hate and speech – The Indian Express

By: Editorial | Updated: August 9, 2017 6:30 am The state police had booked T.P. Senkumar under Section 153(A) of the IPC, a legal provision against hate speech, for remarks he made in an interview to a Malayalam magazine in July.

The arrest of a former DG of Kerala police last week on charges of promoting communal enmity is a case of gross misuse of the law. The state police had booked T.P. Senkumar under Section 153(A) of the IPC, a legal provision against hate speech, for remarks he made in an interview to a Malayalam magazine in July, soon after he retired from service. In the interview, Senkumar presented what appeared to be a prejudiced view of the states Muslim community. He claimed that population growth in the state was skewed in favour of Muslims and that a section in the community promoted religious conversion through love jihad. Coming from an individual who had led the police force in the state, his views, predictably, stoked a controversy.

Senkumars views are undoubtedly controversial, even bigoted. That a person who lacks a nuanced understanding of religion, sensitivity to communal concerns and the complexity of social relations headed the state police is indeed a cause for concern. However, to book him under hate speech provisions is uncalled for. It could be said that Senkumars narrow-minded notions of Muslims and Islamist politics in Kerala have a wider resonance in a climate that emboldens majoritarian assertions and encourages intolerance. Yet, such views cannot be banished by wielding hate speech laws. They call for greater political engagement and debate. Skewed ideas about communities will have be confronted with arguments and facts. It is undemocratic to demand the curtailment of the right to freedom of expression by raising the spectre of communal disharmony.

In Senkumars case, the police action appears doubly dubious since the former DGP has a fraught relationship with the ruling regime. The Left government had removed him from the DGPs post after it won the election last year. Senkumar moved the court and was reinstated as DGP on the orders of the Supreme Court ahead of his retirement. Now the criminal case against him rests on slippery ground also because he was booked a month after his remarks appeared in the public domain. Senkumars remarks need to be challenged in the public sphere, not through criminal action.

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Hate and speech – The Indian Express

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Emoji-Filled Mean Tweets Help Scientists Create Sarcasm-Detecting Bot That Could Uncover Hate Speech – Newsweek

Emojis help millions of humans inject emotional nuance into their online conversation every day. They let your friends, family and lovers know that a critical remark was meant in jestor that what might be taken as a throwaway comment is actually a sincere expression of deep disapprovalthat can’t be ignored.

Now, MITs Technology Review magazine reports, researchers have used the popular icons to train an algorithm to spot sarcasm. And its better at doing sothan humans.

An algorithm MIT researchers developed to analyze tweets can now detect sarcasm, and emotional subtext in general, better than most people, the magazines report says.

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The tool, called DeepMoji, uses deep learning to recognize when tweets are likely to be sarcastic. Researchers had the algorithm read some 1.2 billion tweets containing a combination of 64 emojis. After first having the system predict which emoji would be associated with a given tweet based on its emotional tone, they then taught the program to identify sarcasm by using a prepared data set. The algorithm that had been ready-schooled in emotion via emojis was better at detecting sarcasm than an untrained equivalent.

DeepMoji has an 82-percent accuracy rate at identifying sarcasm, which puts it just above human volunteers recruited via the crowdsourcing site Mechanical Turk, who had a 76-percent success rate.

Because we cant use intonation in our voice or body language to contextualize what we are saying, emoji are the way we do it online, said Iyad Rahwan, an associate professor the MIT Media lab who co-developed the algorithm with Bjarke Felbo. The neural network learned the connection between a certain kind of language and an emoji.

It might be that its learning all the different slang, Felbo said. People have very interesting uses of language [on Twitter]lets put it that way.

On the algorithms website you can test its emoji-linking function; it will automatically add emojis to any text you submit.

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Emoji-Filled Mean Tweets Help Scientists Create Sarcasm-Detecting Bot That Could Uncover Hate Speech – Newsweek

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Artist Vandalizes Twitter HQ in the Name of Killing Hate Speech – Inverse

From the man who brought you #Yolocaust, the online art project shaming teens who take happy selfies while visiting Nazi death camps on educational trips, comes #HiTwitter, a public art stunt aimed at furthering the conversation around hate speech.

When artist and activist Shahak Shapira realized the 300 tweets he had reported for being outright hateful threats werent deleted, he gathered up some spray paint and made huge stencils of the tweets he had tried to get Twitter to remove, and walked on down to the companys Hamburg office. The art that resulted is pretty hard to ignore.

After the police showed up and left, Shapira told his camera operators that Twitter and law enforcement simply cleaned the hate speech from the sidewalk closest to the building and left the rest of it. That means Twitters Hamburg headquarters was perfectly okay with their staircase reading Jew scum, which was one of the many anti-Semitic tweets Shapira tried to report and have removed from the platform.

Facebook and Twitter landed in hot water recently when inside information regarding their approach to hate speech was leaked. In May, the European Union officially failed Twitter, on the grounds of not effectively banning hate speech from its platform. Earlier this summer, slides from an internal Facebook training session were released online, proving to the sites millions of users that many people simply arent protected from hate speech at all.

Shapira told Vice Germany he chose not to publicize the authors of the tweets, adding, It should actually be in the interest of Twitter to watch such things happen on the platform – regardless of whether it is a criminal offense or not.

See also: These Trump Policies Violate Twitters Terms of Use

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Artist Vandalizes Twitter HQ in the Name of Killing Hate Speech – Inverse

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Nazi Salutes End In Arrests For Chinese Tourists In Berlin – NPR

Two Chinese tourists were arrested outside Berlin’s Reichstag building after making Nazi salutes. Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61 hide caption

Two Chinese tourists were arrested outside Berlin’s Reichstag building after making Nazi salutes.

Two Chinese tourists posing for cell phone pictures in front of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, wound up under arrest Saturday for making the Heil Hitler gesture, according to multiple media reports citing German police.

The two men, ages 36 and 49, have been released after each posting close to $600 bail.

Hate speech and symbols are largely verboten today in Germany. The Nazis, who ruled between 1933 and 1945, used such methods to help whip up support, allowing millions of Jews and other minorities to be systemically slaughtered.

After World War II, the Nazi party was banned and strict rules against hate speech and symbols were designed to protect vulnerable people.

On Saturday, the Chinese men were charged under Germany’s criminal code prohibiting the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations,” including “flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting.”

Breaking the law is punishable by fine or up to three years in prison.

The Reichstag holds powerful significance to Germans. It burned down in 1933; the Nazis blamed communists and exploited the blaze to increase the police state and restrict freedoms of speech, press and assembly throughout the country. The Reichstag was rebuilt after the war.

The New York Times reports Germany has seen a surge of Chinese tourists in recent years, after the European Union was approved as a travel destination. Approximately 2 million Chinese visitors come to Germany each year. And while Germans are familiar with the legacy of World War II and the laws forbidding Nazi gestures, it is less certain that foreign tourists are aware of the rules.

A police spokeswoman told The Times, she didn’t know whether the tourists were still in Germany.

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Nazi Salutes End In Arrests For Chinese Tourists In Berlin – NPR

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Hate speeches made, crosses desecrated: Goa on alert to keep fanaticism at bay – Hindustan Times

It was a Saturday morning in July. Agnelo Fernandes, a retired seaman and resident of Goas Curchorem village was dressed to go out, but decided to call a staff member of the local church before doing so, to check with him the schedule for a Mass to celebrate the local MLAs birthday. The committee member told him about desecrations at the church cemetery. Fernandes rushed to the cemetery one of his daughters is buried there. When I reached, I found bones lying near the entrance. Some crosses had been broken and niches damaged. I made my way to my daughters grave and the niche we had made in her memory. The granite stone covering the niche was broken. Still it didnt strike me. Then I saw the satin bag on which I had written her name, her date of birth and the date of her death, before putting her bones in it to preserve her memory, lying on the ground. It was then that I realised that the bones lying near the entrance were my daughters, he says, with barely concealed pain.

Last month Goa was jolted by a spate of desecration of crosses, causing grief and alarm to Catholics inthe state. There were also reports of a temple being vandalised. The method of destruction was the same everywhere the base of the cross was broken by hitting it with some heavy implement. More than 40 structures were damaged, says Father Savio Fernandes, executive secretary of the Council for Social Justice and Peace, which has been engaged in fact-finding studies into the desecrations. In some places the headstones on the graves and niches where families preserve the mortal remains of a departed member were broken. Goa Police has arrested Francis Pereira, a resident of Curchorem for the desecrations and claimed that he has confessed to the crime. But more desecrations were reported after Pereiras arrest.

The cemetry in Curchorem village, where crosses were desecrated and niches and graves broken. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)

The mood in Goa is one of apprehension. The breaking of the crosses is being viewed as only a manifestation of the actual danger, the danger of an attempt being made to divide Goan society on the basis of religion, the danger of the shrill communal rhetoric being projected across the nation disturbing the peace also in Goa. . With or without the incidents of desecrations, even if this incident had not taken place, there is a threat to the social harmony of Goa. Fanatical elements are getting emboldened and empowered, says Prabhakar Timble, former president of the Goa Forward party. Timble resigned from the party when party MLAs decided to align with the BJP after the 2017 elections.

Goa, says writer Brian Mendonca, means a certain acceptance, a certain kind of flexibility to be able to look at life holistically and to be able to accommodate various cultures and views. But now I think the Hindutva people are desperately trying to find a toehold in Goa, he says.

In June, Goans say, inflammatory speeches were made against minorities at the All India Hindu Convention organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, allied to the Goa-based Sanatan Sanstha. Sadhvi Saraswati had reportedly made a statement that she would request the central government to publicly hang people who eat beef as a mark of social status.

In Ponda, where the Sanstha has its ashram, locals say that they know little about the workings of the organisation. Most of their members are from outside, not Goans, says a shopkeeper near the ashram. Another asks, Are you a cop? The police come often to the ashram. These people are involved in many anti-social activities. Members of the organisation have been accused in the murders of rationalists outside the state. Sanatan members had also been accused in a 2009 bombing in Goa, but were acquitted.

The state government should have taken note of the Sadhvis speech, it should have filed a police complaint against someone who makes such inflammatory comments to disturb the peace of Goa. But it did nothing, rues Jovito Lopes, vice president of the Catholic Association of Goa. The national mood of terror and mob-lynchings fuelled by anti-cow slaughter and anti-minority sentiments adds to the mood of apprehension in the state. Goa has had a BJP government since 2012. Most Goans admit that the government has not made any anti-minority comments: Due to the substantial numbers ( translated as votes) of minorities, it looks like the BJP has played its political cards well in Goa and successfully steered clear of national controversies created by its national leaders, says A Freddie Fernandes, a political scientist. But he adds, Since the BJP has been in power in the state in 2000 and now since 2012, attempts to divide the people and break the communal harmony have been visible.

BJP MLA and deputy speaker of the Goa legislative assembly Michael Lobo admits that even he is hurt by the states inaction against the Sadhvis comments. This type of thing should not be tolerated. FIRs should be filed automatically from the police side because this can create communal tension, he says.

A resident of Goas Marcaim village holds up one of the crosses in hte local cemetry that was broken. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)

The governments silence has added to the commonly-held perception that the BJP is a majoritarian party.In Curchorem, a young Catholic woman who doesnt want to be named says that when she first heard of the desecrations she felt that the BJP or a fanatic Hindu group would be behind the damage. When the party was in power between 2000 to 2005, they had made attempts to sanitise school textbooks, says Freddie Fernandes. Favita Dias remembers how the BJP government had in the past attempted to cancel the holiday on the Feast of St Francis Xavier. Communalisation takes place in many ways, says writer Amita Kanekar, both direct like the new beef bans outside Goa (which resulted in a severe shortfall in beef supply in Goan markets), and indirect, like the false portrayal of Goan culture and history as Hindu and Brahminical. Catholic culture is portrayed as foreign, while Muslim culture (including Goas own Islamic past and culture) is ignored. According to the 2011 Census, Christians constitute 25.1 per cent of the population in Goa. Muslims account for eight per cent and Hindus comprise 66.08 per cent of the population.

Goa has a history of religion-based politics. After Goas liberation from Portuguese rule in 1961 we had the United Goans Party (UGP) which mostly enjoyed support of the Catholics and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) which was a Hindu-majority party. While the UGP wanted Goa to be a separate state, MGP wanted it to be merged with Maharashtra. But ones political views never influenced social relations between the communities, says writer Damodar Mauzo. The writer remembers how he was once breast-fed by the late Goan musician Anthony Gonsalves mother because his own was too ill to feed him. That was the kind of relationship the communities shared. Anthonys sisters used to call me doodh bhau (milk brother) because I had shared their mothers milk, he says.

Goans, Hindus and Catholics, repeatedly talk of this bond, of a shared living and role in each others lives. But now, says Timble, the situation is not as comfortable as before. There is a feeling among a few in the majority community that they are tolerating the minorities. If earlier only five per cent of Goans were fanatics, now the number has gone up to 15 per cent. The emergence of competition over religious display means both crosses and gumtis are increasingly being erected along the roads, says Freddie Fernandes. There are many crosses across Goa where even Hindus pray. Now tulsi manches have come up alongside some of them, says Timble. And an effort has begun to institutionalise Hindu practices. The Sanstha people tell us to worship together, rather than do our individual pujas at home. At any village fair now, you will find their stalls, says a Goan. Dadu Mandrekar, a Dalit writer and activist, rues the RSSs growing influence in the Bahujan community. The underlying tensions sometimes spill out in social media, where a local says, Goan Catholics are sometimes being portrayed as anti-national and pro-Portuguese.

On July 29, the Catholic Association of Goa and the All India Catholic Union held a meeting to discuss the Sadhvis speech. All-religion peace meets have been organised to dispel tensions, if any. Father Savio and Shaikh Basheer Ahmed, president of the Association of All Goa Muslim Jamaats also issued a joint statement last month against the targeting of minorities. It is important to have these meeting now, before anything happens, rather than after. Afterwards it becomes just a post mortem of events, says businessman Ralph De Sousa.

All this is new for Goa. I dont think the community feels threatened but a certain element of trust, that prevailed has been lost, says writer Maria Aurora Couto.

Most Goans feel that the Goan tradition of peace and communal harmony will win the day, that there is little divide between people in the state. Goans of all communities are peaceful by nature and even those who have come and settled here get moulded in its culture. Its the outside forces who are trying to disrupt the peace. Not just the minorities, even the majority is disturbed by this. But these forces wont be able to disrupt the harmony here, says Lobo. His conviction does not seem misplaced as one watches a group of young Goans play football under a grim monsoon sky at the beach in Siridao. Two of the players sport saffron jerseys. Its the team colour of Netherlands, my favourite football-playing nation, says one with a grin. It is the same disregard for communal politics that one finds at Da Silvas Panjims favourite cutlet joint. A woman in a salwar kameez and mangalsutra comes for a snack with a young girl in jeans. She orders a chicken cutlet for herself, but nods encouragingly at her young companion who orders a beef cutlet. Da Silva does brisk business in both.

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Hate speeches made, crosses desecrated: Goa on alert to keep fanaticism at bay – Hindustan Times

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EDITORIAL: President Trump not guilty of hate speech – Colorado Springs Gazette

White House adviser Stephen Miller said “cosmopolitan,” which led media to charge him with anti-Semitism. Miller is Jewish.

President Donald Trump has given detractors much to complain about. It doesn’t make him a racist anti-Semite.

A few notable mainstream media players spent several days in July trying to convince us President Donald Trump speaks in coded hate-speech. Inspired by the Washington Post, they said Trump used “dog whistle” racism when he spoke of the western world producing great symphonies.

We were to believe Trump said “symphonies” as part of an underground language understood only by cleverly disguised racists. We would never know of this language, if not blessed with journalists specially trained to decipher coded racism.

Wednesday, a major publication exposed another underground term it deems hateful. Only anti-Semites, and journalists who hate them, can possibly hear and interpret the “signaling device” that is the word “cosmopolitan.”

Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” The phenomenon is infecting the mainstream press.

It all began Wednesday, when White House aide Stephen Miller spoke about President Donald Trump’s new immigration proposal, which would give preference to immigrants who speak English.

CNN’s Jim Acosta asked if Trump was trying to favor countries on a basis of race.

Acosta: “This whole notion of they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?”

Miller: “I have to say, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree.”

Acosta: “It sounds like you’re trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.”

Within hours, Esquire magazine published a nearly 500-word article under the headline “The Historical Significance of ‘Cosmopolitan’ as an Insult.’ ”

“The way Miller leaned into the word ‘cosmopolitan’ while answering Acosta has a long and ignoble history in 20th century authoritarianism, especially the anti-Semitic variety… the Soviet government under Stalin used to rail regularly at ‘rootless cosmopolitanism’… The Nazis were fond of tossing it around, too.”

The ostensibly anti-Semitic Miller is Jewish. He grew up in a liberal northern California home. We find it hard to believe he speaks in a coded hate language to anti-Semites who hate his family, him and other Jews in the White House.

Esquire insists “there is no context in which Miller’s use of the word against Acosta that makes sense except as a historical signaling device.”

Dictionaries define “cosmopolitan” as familiarity and ease with other countries and cultures. Miller may have meant Acosta’s cosmopolitan status has been limited by a biased belief that English is a language of whites.

There is also this possible context: Media liberals covering the White House seldom stray from their upscale, liberal neighborhoods in the cosmopolitan beltway. If Acosta had a less myopic view, he would know much of the world speaks English. Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada, Belize, The Bahamas, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago are among a long list of non-white, English-speaking countries.

English is a language, Mr. Acosta, not a race.

A mindless effort to cast the administration as anti-Semitic boldly ignores the fact Trump moved his Jewish family into the White House and made them top advisers. Trump was declared the greatest friend of Israel and the Jewish people by the leader of the Jewish state. Trump’s maiden speech to Congress focused on a need to counter hate crimes against Jews. We could go on, but facts suggest Trump may be the greatest White House ally Jews and Israel have seen in decades. Yet, his detractors characterize him and his staff as the modern Third Reich.

The media and other Trump opponents have plenty of legitimate gripes, so they should stop making light of the Holocaust by comparing this administration to a regime that killed more than 6 million Jews. It is disgusting.

Journalists should challenge the president on substance, and keep him in check. They should not exacerbate their profession’s self-destructive implosion by exploiting history’s worst genocide for cheap political gain.

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EDITORIAL: President Trump not guilty of hate speech – Colorado Springs Gazette

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A white man called her kids the n-word. Facebook stopped her from … – Chicago Tribune

Francie Latour was picking out produce in a suburban Boston grocery store when a white man leaned toward her two young sons and, just loudly enough for the boys to hear, unleashed a profanity-laced racist epithet.

Reeling, Latour, who is black, turned to Facebook to vent, in a post that was explicit about the hateful words hurled at her 8- and 12-year-olds on a Sunday evening in July.

“I couldn’t tolerate just sitting with it and being silent,” Latour said in an interview. “I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin, like my kids’ innocence was stolen in the blink of an eye.”

But within 20 minutes, Facebook deleted her post, sending Latour a cursory message that her content had violated company standards. Only two friends had gotten the chance to voice their disbelief and outrage.

Experiences like Latour’s exemplify the challenges Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg confronts as he tries to rebrand his company as a safe space for community, expanding on its earlier goal of connecting friends and family.

But in making decisions about the limits of free speech, Facebook often fails the racial, religious and sexual minorities Zuckerberg says he wants to protect.

The 13-year-old social network is wrestling with the hardest questions it has ever faced as the de facto arbiter of speech for the third of the world’s population that now logs on each month.

In February, amid mounting concerns over Facebook’s role in the spread of violent live videos and fake news, Zuckerberg said the platform had a responsibility to “mitigate the bad” effects of the service in a more dangerous and divisive political era. In June, he officially changed Facebook’s mission from connecting the world to community-building.

The company says it now deletes about 288,000 hate-speech posts a month.

But activists say that Facebook’s censorship standards are so unclear and biased that it is impossible to know what one can or cannot say.

The result: Minority groups say they are disproportionately censored when they use the social-media platform to call out racism or start dialogues. In the case of Latour and her family, she was simply repeating what the man who verbally assaulted her children said: “What the f— is up with those f—ing n—-r heads?”

Compounding their pain, Facebook will often go from censoring posts to locking users out of their accounts for 24 hours or more, without explanation a punishment known among activists as “Facebook jail.”

“In the era of mass incarceration, you come into this digital space this one space that seems safe and then you get attacked by the trolls and put in Facebook jail,” said Stacey Patton, a journalism professor at Morgan State University, a historically black university in Baltimore. “It totally contradicts Mr. Zuckerberg’s mission to create a public square.”

In June, the company said that nearly 2 billion people now log onto Facebook each month. With the company’s dramatic growth comes the challenge of maintaining internally consistent standards as its content moderators are faced with a growing number of judgment calls.

“Facebook is regulating more human speech than any government does now or ever has,” said Susan Benesch, director of the Dangerous Speech Project, a nonprofit group that researches the intersection of harmful online content and free speech. “They are like a de facto body of law, yet that law is a secret.”

The company recently admitted, in a blog post, that “too often we get it wrong,” particularly in cases when people are using certain terms to describe hateful experiences that happened to them. The company has promised to hire 3,000 more content moderators before the year’s end, bringing the total to 7,500, and is looking to improve the software it uses to flag hate speech, a spokeswoman said.

“We know this is a problem,” said Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja, adding that the company has been meeting with community activists for several years. “We’re working on evolving not just our policies but our tools. We are listening.”

Two weeks after Donald Trump won the presidency, Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ office for the San Francisco Bay area, posted to Facebook an image of ahandwritten letter mailed to a San Jose mosque and quoted from it: “He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.”

The post made to four Facebook accounts contained a notation clarifying that the statement came from hate mail sent to the mosque, as Facebook guidelines advise.

Facebook removed the post from two of the accounts Billoo’s personal page and the council’s local chapter page but allowed identical posts to remain on two others the organization’s national page and Billoo’s public one. The civil rights attorney was baffled. After she re-posted the message on her personal page, it was again removed, and Billoo received a notice saying she would be locked out of Facebook for 24 hours.

“How am I supposed to do my work of challenging hate if I can’t even share information showing that hate?” she said.

Billoo eventually received an automated apology from Facebook, and the post was restored to the local chapter page but not her personal one.

Being put in “Facebook jail” has become a regular occurrence for Shannon Hall-Bulzone, a San Diego photographer. In June 2016, Hall-Bulzone was shut out for three days after posting an angry screed when she and her toddler were called lazy “brown people” as they walked to day care and her sister was called a “lazy n—-r” as she walked to work. Within hours, Facebook removed the post.

Many activists who write about race say they break Facebook rules and keep multiple accounts in order to play a cat-and-mouse game with the company’s invisible censors, some of whom are third-party contractors working on teams based in the United States or in Germany or the Philippines.

Others have started using alternate spellings for “white people,” such as “wypipo,” “Y.P. Pull,” or “yt folkx” to evade being flagged by the platform activists have nicknamed “Racebook.”

In January, a coalition of more than 70 civil rights groups wrote aletter urging Facebook to fix its “racially-biased” content moderation system. The groups asked Facebook to enable an appeals process, offer explanations for why posts are taken down, and publish data on the types of posts that get taken down and restored. Facebook has not done these things.

The coalition has gathered 570,000 signatures urging Facebook to acknowledge discriminatory censorship exists on its platform, that it harbors white supremacist pages even though it says it forbids hate speech in all forms, and that black and Muslim communities are especially in danger because the hate directed against them translates into violence in the streets, said Malkia Cyril, a Black Lives Matter activist in Oakland, California, who was part of a group that first met with Facebook about their concerns in 2014.

Cyril, executive director for the Center for Media Justice, said the company has a double standard when it comes to deleting posts. She has flagged numerous white supremacist pages to Facebook for removal and said she was told that none was initially found to have violated the company’s community standards even though they displayed offensive content. One featured a picture of a skeleton with the caption, “Ever since Trayvon became white, he’s been a good boy,” in reference to Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager killed by a volunteer neighborhood watchman in Florida in 2012.

Like most social media companies in Silicon Valley, Facebook has long resisted being a gatekeeper for speech. For years, Zuckerberg insisted that the social network had only minimal responsibilities for policing content.

In its early years, Facebook’s internal guidelines for moderating and censoring content amounted to only a single page. The instructions included prohibitions on nudity and images of Hitler, according to a trove of documents published by the investigative news outlet ProPublica. (Holocaust denial was allowed.)

By 2015, the internal censorship manual had grown to 15,000 words, according to ProPublica.

In Facebook’s guidelines for moderators,obtained by ProPublica in June and affirmed by the social network, the rules protect broad classes of people but not subgroups. Posts criticizing white or black people would be prohibited, while posts attacking white or black children, or radicalized Muslim suspects, may be allowed to stay up because the company sees “children” and “radicalized Muslims” as subgroups.

Facebook says it prohibits direct attacks on protected characteristics, defined in U.S. law as race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, serious disability or disease.

But the guidelines have never been publicly released, and as recently as last summer Zuckerberg continued to insist Facebook was “a tech company, not a media company.”

Unlike media companies, technology platforms that host speech are not legally responsible for the content that appears.

The chief executive has shifted his stance this year. At the company’s “Communities Summit,” a first-ever live gathering for members of Facebook groups held in Chicago in June, Zuckerberg changed the mission statement.

Earlier, he said the company would become, over the next decade, a “social infrastructure” for “keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.”

The company acknowledged that minorities feel disproportionately targeted but said it could not verify those claims because it does not categorize the types of hate speech that appear or tally which groups are targeted.

In June, for example, Facebook removed a video posted by Ybia Anderson, a black woman in Toronto who was outraged by the prominent display of a car decorated with the Confederate flag at a community festival. The social network did not remove dozens of other posts in which Anderson was attacked with racial slurs.

Benesch, who herself has tried to build a software tool to flag hate speech, said she sympathizes with Facebook’s predicament. “It is authentically difficult to make consistent decisions because of the huge variety of content out there,” she said. “That doesn’t, however, excuse the fact they sometimes make some very stupid decisions.”

As for Latour, the Boston mother was surprised when Facebook restored her post about the hateful words spewed at her sons, less than 24 hours after it disappeared. The company sent her an automated notice that a member of its team had removed her post in error. There was no further explanation.

The initial censoring of Latour’s experience “felt almost exactly like what happened to my sons writ large,” she said. The man had unleashed the racial slur so quietly that for everyone else in the store, the verbal attack never happened. But it had terrified her boys, who froze, unable to immediately respond or tell their mother.

“They were left with all that ugliness and hate,” she said, “and when I tried to share it so that people could see it for what it is, I was shut down.”

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A white man called her kids the n-word. Facebook stopped her from … – Chicago Tribune

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Spanish court throws out ‘hate crime’ complaint against archbishop – Catholic News Agency

Granada, Spain, Aug 10, 2017 / 12:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Spanish state prosecutor has dismissed a hate crime complaint against the Archbishop of Granada after an LGBT activist group claimed he had preached hate against transgender people in a homily. According to EFE news agency, the case was thrown out because the Granada prosecutors office could not find sufficient cause to bring legal action against Archbishop Francisco Javier Martnez of Granada. In February, the activist group Observatory against LGBT-phobia filed a complaint against the archbishop, claiming that he promoted hate speech against LGBT persons in a homily in which he lamented the introduction of gender ideology to young children in school. There is a short-sightedness and lack of intelligence in introducing this ideology to children, the archbishop said in his homily at the time. We are equal in dignity…but we are not interchangeable, he said of biological differences between men and women. In their complaint, the activist group asked the judge to prosecute the archbishop in an express and exemplary way, in order to put an end to this unjust scourge of hate speech. The prosecution said the case was dismissed in part because of freedom of speech found in the Spanish constitution, according to EFE. A similar complaint was filed against another archbishop in 2016, when feminist and LGBT activist groups accused Cardinal Antonio Caizares, Archbishop of Valencia, of hate speech following a homily in which he warned of attacks against the family that came from movements and actions of the gay lobby, ideologies such as radical feminism or the most insidious of all, gender ideology. A court in Valencia dismissed the case in September 2016, citing the cardinals freedom of speech. Tags: Religious freedom, Catholic News, Free Speech, LGBT

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‘Hate speech’ tweets painted at Twitter HQ in protest – BBC News

BBC News ' Hate speech ' tweets painted at Twitter HQ in protest BBC News A German satirist who claims Twitter is failing to delete hate speech has captured the firm's attention offline – by stencilling the offending messages outside its Hamburg office. Shahak Shapira, who is Jewish, said he had reported 300 incidents of … German-Israeli Artist Targets Twitter Over Hate Speech Fortune Artist Vandalizes Twitter HQ in the Name of Killing Hate Speech Inverse A Man Spraypainted Hate Tweets in Front of Twitter's Office After It Failed to Delete Them Adweek Irish Times  – Deutsche Welle all 22 news articles »

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Hate and speech – The Indian Express

By: Editorial | Updated: August 9, 2017 6:30 am The state police had booked T.P. Senkumar under Section 153(A) of the IPC, a legal provision against hate speech, for remarks he made in an interview to a Malayalam magazine in July. The arrest of a former DG of Kerala police last week on charges of promoting communal enmity is a case of gross misuse of the law. The state police had booked T.P. Senkumar under Section 153(A) of the IPC, a legal provision against hate speech, for remarks he made in an interview to a Malayalam magazine in July, soon after he retired from service. In the interview, Senkumar presented what appeared to be a prejudiced view of the states Muslim community. He claimed that population growth in the state was skewed in favour of Muslims and that a section in the community promoted religious conversion through love jihad. Coming from an individual who had led the police force in the state, his views, predictably, stoked a controversy. Senkumars views are undoubtedly controversial, even bigoted. That a person who lacks a nuanced understanding of religion, sensitivity to communal concerns and the complexity of social relations headed the state police is indeed a cause for concern. However, to book him under hate speech provisions is uncalled for. It could be said that Senkumars narrow-minded notions of Muslims and Islamist politics in Kerala have a wider resonance in a climate that emboldens majoritarian assertions and encourages intolerance. Yet, such views cannot be banished by wielding hate speech laws. They call for greater political engagement and debate. Skewed ideas about communities will have be confronted with arguments and facts. It is undemocratic to demand the curtailment of the right to freedom of expression by raising the spectre of communal disharmony. In Senkumars case, the police action appears doubly dubious since the former DGP has a fraught relationship with the ruling regime. The Left government had removed him from the DGPs post after it won the election last year. Senkumar moved the court and was reinstated as DGP on the orders of the Supreme Court ahead of his retirement. Now the criminal case against him rests on slippery ground also because he was booked a month after his remarks appeared in the public domain. Senkumars remarks need to be challenged in the public sphere, not through criminal action. For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App

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Emoji-Filled Mean Tweets Help Scientists Create Sarcasm-Detecting Bot That Could Uncover Hate Speech – Newsweek

Emojis help millions of humans inject emotional nuance into their online conversation every day. They let your friends, family and lovers know that a critical remark was meant in jestor that what might be taken as a throwaway comment is actually a sincere expression of deep disapprovalthat can’t be ignored. Now, MITs Technology Review magazine reports, researchers have used the popular icons to train an algorithm to spot sarcasm. And its better at doing sothan humans. An algorithm MIT researchers developed to analyze tweets can now detect sarcasm, and emotional subtext in general, better than most people, the magazines report says. Tech & Science Emails and Alerts – Get the best of Newsweek Tech & Science delivered to your inbox The tool, called DeepMoji, uses deep learning to recognize when tweets are likely to be sarcastic. Researchers had the algorithm read some 1.2 billion tweets containing a combination of 64 emojis. After first having the system predict which emoji would be associated with a given tweet based on its emotional tone, they then taught the program to identify sarcasm by using a prepared data set. The algorithm that had been ready-schooled in emotion via emojis was better at detecting sarcasm than an untrained equivalent. DeepMoji has an 82-percent accuracy rate at identifying sarcasm, which puts it just above human volunteers recruited via the crowdsourcing site Mechanical Turk, who had a 76-percent success rate. Because we cant use intonation in our voice or body language to contextualize what we are saying, emoji are the way we do it online, said Iyad Rahwan, an associate professor the MIT Media lab who co-developed the algorithm with Bjarke Felbo. The neural network learned the connection between a certain kind of language and an emoji. It might be that its learning all the different slang, Felbo said. People have very interesting uses of language [on Twitter]lets put it that way. On the algorithms website you can test its emoji-linking function; it will automatically add emojis to any text you submit.

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Artist Vandalizes Twitter HQ in the Name of Killing Hate Speech – Inverse

From the man who brought you #Yolocaust, the online art project shaming teens who take happy selfies while visiting Nazi death camps on educational trips, comes #HiTwitter, a public art stunt aimed at furthering the conversation around hate speech. When artist and activist Shahak Shapira realized the 300 tweets he had reported for being outright hateful threats werent deleted, he gathered up some spray paint and made huge stencils of the tweets he had tried to get Twitter to remove, and walked on down to the companys Hamburg office. The art that resulted is pretty hard to ignore. After the police showed up and left, Shapira told his camera operators that Twitter and law enforcement simply cleaned the hate speech from the sidewalk closest to the building and left the rest of it. That means Twitters Hamburg headquarters was perfectly okay with their staircase reading Jew scum, which was one of the many anti-Semitic tweets Shapira tried to report and have removed from the platform. Facebook and Twitter landed in hot water recently when inside information regarding their approach to hate speech was leaked. In May, the European Union officially failed Twitter, on the grounds of not effectively banning hate speech from its platform. Earlier this summer, slides from an internal Facebook training session were released online, proving to the sites millions of users that many people simply arent protected from hate speech at all. Shapira told Vice Germany he chose not to publicize the authors of the tweets, adding, It should actually be in the interest of Twitter to watch such things happen on the platform – regardless of whether it is a criminal offense or not. See also: These Trump Policies Violate Twitters Terms of Use

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Nazi Salutes End In Arrests For Chinese Tourists In Berlin – NPR

Two Chinese tourists were arrested outside Berlin’s Reichstag building after making Nazi salutes. Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61 hide caption Two Chinese tourists were arrested outside Berlin’s Reichstag building after making Nazi salutes. Two Chinese tourists posing for cell phone pictures in front of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, wound up under arrest Saturday for making the Heil Hitler gesture, according to multiple media reports citing German police. The two men, ages 36 and 49, have been released after each posting close to $600 bail. Hate speech and symbols are largely verboten today in Germany. The Nazis, who ruled between 1933 and 1945, used such methods to help whip up support, allowing millions of Jews and other minorities to be systemically slaughtered. After World War II, the Nazi party was banned and strict rules against hate speech and symbols were designed to protect vulnerable people. On Saturday, the Chinese men were charged under Germany’s criminal code prohibiting the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations,” including “flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting.” Breaking the law is punishable by fine or up to three years in prison. The Reichstag holds powerful significance to Germans. It burned down in 1933; the Nazis blamed communists and exploited the blaze to increase the police state and restrict freedoms of speech, press and assembly throughout the country. The Reichstag was rebuilt after the war. The New York Times reports Germany has seen a surge of Chinese tourists in recent years, after the European Union was approved as a travel destination. Approximately 2 million Chinese visitors come to Germany each year. And while Germans are familiar with the legacy of World War II and the laws forbidding Nazi gestures, it is less certain that foreign tourists are aware of the rules. A police spokeswoman told The Times, she didn’t know whether the tourists were still in Germany.

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Hate speeches made, crosses desecrated: Goa on alert to keep fanaticism at bay – Hindustan Times

It was a Saturday morning in July. Agnelo Fernandes, a retired seaman and resident of Goas Curchorem village was dressed to go out, but decided to call a staff member of the local church before doing so, to check with him the schedule for a Mass to celebrate the local MLAs birthday. The committee member told him about desecrations at the church cemetery. Fernandes rushed to the cemetery one of his daughters is buried there. When I reached, I found bones lying near the entrance. Some crosses had been broken and niches damaged. I made my way to my daughters grave and the niche we had made in her memory. The granite stone covering the niche was broken. Still it didnt strike me. Then I saw the satin bag on which I had written her name, her date of birth and the date of her death, before putting her bones in it to preserve her memory, lying on the ground. It was then that I realised that the bones lying near the entrance were my daughters, he says, with barely concealed pain. Last month Goa was jolted by a spate of desecration of crosses, causing grief and alarm to Catholics inthe state. There were also reports of a temple being vandalised. The method of destruction was the same everywhere the base of the cross was broken by hitting it with some heavy implement. More than 40 structures were damaged, says Father Savio Fernandes, executive secretary of the Council for Social Justice and Peace, which has been engaged in fact-finding studies into the desecrations. In some places the headstones on the graves and niches where families preserve the mortal remains of a departed member were broken. Goa Police has arrested Francis Pereira, a resident of Curchorem for the desecrations and claimed that he has confessed to the crime. But more desecrations were reported after Pereiras arrest. The cemetry in Curchorem village, where crosses were desecrated and niches and graves broken. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO) The mood in Goa is one of apprehension. The breaking of the crosses is being viewed as only a manifestation of the actual danger, the danger of an attempt being made to divide Goan society on the basis of religion, the danger of the shrill communal rhetoric being projected across the nation disturbing the peace also in Goa. . With or without the incidents of desecrations, even if this incident had not taken place, there is a threat to the social harmony of Goa. Fanatical elements are getting emboldened and empowered, says Prabhakar Timble, former president of the Goa Forward party. Timble resigned from the party when party MLAs decided to align with the BJP after the 2017 elections. Goa, says writer Brian Mendonca, means a certain acceptance, a certain kind of flexibility to be able to look at life holistically and to be able to accommodate various cultures and views. But now I think the Hindutva people are desperately trying to find a toehold in Goa, he says. In June, Goans say, inflammatory speeches were made against minorities at the All India Hindu Convention organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, allied to the Goa-based Sanatan Sanstha. Sadhvi Saraswati had reportedly made a statement that she would request the central government to publicly hang people who eat beef as a mark of social status. In Ponda, where the Sanstha has its ashram, locals say that they know little about the workings of the organisation. Most of their members are from outside, not Goans, says a shopkeeper near the ashram. Another asks, Are you a cop? The police come often to the ashram. These people are involved in many anti-social activities. Members of the organisation have been accused in the murders of rationalists outside the state. Sanatan members had also been accused in a 2009 bombing in Goa, but were acquitted. The state government should have taken note of the Sadhvis speech, it should have filed a police complaint against someone who makes such inflammatory comments to disturb the peace of Goa. But it did nothing, rues Jovito Lopes, vice president of the Catholic Association of Goa. The national mood of terror and mob-lynchings fuelled by anti-cow slaughter and anti-minority sentiments adds to the mood of apprehension in the state. Goa has had a BJP government since 2012. Most Goans admit that the government has not made any anti-minority comments: Due to the substantial numbers ( translated as votes) of minorities, it looks like the BJP has played its political cards well in Goa and successfully steered clear of national controversies created by its national leaders, says A Freddie Fernandes, a political scientist. But he adds, Since the BJP has been in power in the state in 2000 and now since 2012, attempts to divide the people and break the communal harmony have been visible. BJP MLA and deputy speaker of the Goa legislative assembly Michael Lobo admits that even he is hurt by the states inaction against the Sadhvis comments. This type of thing should not be tolerated. FIRs should be filed automatically from the police side because this can create communal tension, he says. A resident of Goas Marcaim village holds up one of the crosses in hte local cemetry that was broken. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO) The governments silence has added to the commonly-held perception that the BJP is a majoritarian party.In Curchorem, a young Catholic woman who doesnt want to be named says that when she first heard of the desecrations she felt that the BJP or a fanatic Hindu group would be behind the damage. When the party was in power between 2000 to 2005, they had made attempts to sanitise school textbooks, says Freddie Fernandes. Favita Dias remembers how the BJP government had in the past attempted to cancel the holiday on the Feast of St Francis Xavier. Communalisation takes place in many ways, says writer Amita Kanekar, both direct like the new beef bans outside Goa (which resulted in a severe shortfall in beef supply in Goan markets), and indirect, like the false portrayal of Goan culture and history as Hindu and Brahminical. Catholic culture is portrayed as foreign, while Muslim culture (including Goas own Islamic past and culture) is ignored. According to the 2011 Census, Christians constitute 25.1 per cent of the population in Goa. Muslims account for eight per cent and Hindus comprise 66.08 per cent of the population. Goa has a history of religion-based politics. After Goas liberation from Portuguese rule in 1961 we had the United Goans Party (UGP) which mostly enjoyed support of the Catholics and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) which was a Hindu-majority party. While the UGP wanted Goa to be a separate state, MGP wanted it to be merged with Maharashtra. But ones political views never influenced social relations between the communities, says writer Damodar Mauzo. The writer remembers how he was once breast-fed by the late Goan musician Anthony Gonsalves mother because his own was too ill to feed him. That was the kind of relationship the communities shared. Anthonys sisters used to call me doodh bhau (milk brother) because I had shared their mothers milk, he says. Goans, Hindus and Catholics, repeatedly talk of this bond, of a shared living and role in each others lives. But now, says Timble, the situation is not as comfortable as before. There is a feeling among a few in the majority community that they are tolerating the minorities. If earlier only five per cent of Goans were fanatics, now the number has gone up to 15 per cent. The emergence of competition over religious display means both crosses and gumtis are increasingly being erected along the roads, says Freddie Fernandes. There are many crosses across Goa where even Hindus pray. Now tulsi manches have come up alongside some of them, says Timble. And an effort has begun to institutionalise Hindu practices. The Sanstha people tell us to worship together, rather than do our individual pujas at home. At any village fair now, you will find their stalls, says a Goan. Dadu Mandrekar, a Dalit writer and activist, rues the RSSs growing influence in the Bahujan community. The underlying tensions sometimes spill out in social media, where a local says, Goan Catholics are sometimes being portrayed as anti-national and pro-Portuguese. On July 29, the Catholic Association of Goa and the All India Catholic Union held a meeting to discuss the Sadhvis speech. All-religion peace meets have been organised to dispel tensions, if any. Father Savio and Shaikh Basheer Ahmed, president of the Association of All Goa Muslim Jamaats also issued a joint statement last month against the targeting of minorities. It is important to have these meeting now, before anything happens, rather than after. Afterwards it becomes just a post mortem of events, says businessman Ralph De Sousa. All this is new for Goa. I dont think the community feels threatened but a certain element of trust, that prevailed has been lost, says writer Maria Aurora Couto. Most Goans feel that the Goan tradition of peace and communal harmony will win the day, that there is little divide between people in the state. Goans of all communities are peaceful by nature and even those who have come and settled here get moulded in its culture. Its the outside forces who are trying to disrupt the peace. Not just the minorities, even the majority is disturbed by this. But these forces wont be able to disrupt the harmony here, says Lobo. His conviction does not seem misplaced as one watches a group of young Goans play football under a grim monsoon sky at the beach in Siridao. Two of the players sport saffron jerseys. Its the team colour of Netherlands, my favourite football-playing nation, says one with a grin. It is the same disregard for communal politics that one finds at Da Silvas Panjims favourite cutlet joint. A woman in a salwar kameez and mangalsutra comes for a snack with a young girl in jeans. She orders a chicken cutlet for herself, but nods encouragingly at her young companion who orders a beef cutlet. Da Silva does brisk business in both.

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EDITORIAL: President Trump not guilty of hate speech – Colorado Springs Gazette

White House adviser Stephen Miller said “cosmopolitan,” which led media to charge him with anti-Semitism. Miller is Jewish. President Donald Trump has given detractors much to complain about. It doesn’t make him a racist anti-Semite. A few notable mainstream media players spent several days in July trying to convince us President Donald Trump speaks in coded hate-speech. Inspired by the Washington Post, they said Trump used “dog whistle” racism when he spoke of the western world producing great symphonies. We were to believe Trump said “symphonies” as part of an underground language understood only by cleverly disguised racists. We would never know of this language, if not blessed with journalists specially trained to decipher coded racism. Wednesday, a major publication exposed another underground term it deems hateful. Only anti-Semites, and journalists who hate them, can possibly hear and interpret the “signaling device” that is the word “cosmopolitan.” Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” The phenomenon is infecting the mainstream press. It all began Wednesday, when White House aide Stephen Miller spoke about President Donald Trump’s new immigration proposal, which would give preference to immigrants who speak English. CNN’s Jim Acosta asked if Trump was trying to favor countries on a basis of race. Acosta: “This whole notion of they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?” Miller: “I have to say, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree.” Acosta: “It sounds like you’re trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.” Within hours, Esquire magazine published a nearly 500-word article under the headline “The Historical Significance of ‘Cosmopolitan’ as an Insult.’ ” “The way Miller leaned into the word ‘cosmopolitan’ while answering Acosta has a long and ignoble history in 20th century authoritarianism, especially the anti-Semitic variety… the Soviet government under Stalin used to rail regularly at ‘rootless cosmopolitanism’… The Nazis were fond of tossing it around, too.” The ostensibly anti-Semitic Miller is Jewish. He grew up in a liberal northern California home. We find it hard to believe he speaks in a coded hate language to anti-Semites who hate his family, him and other Jews in the White House. Esquire insists “there is no context in which Miller’s use of the word against Acosta that makes sense except as a historical signaling device.” Dictionaries define “cosmopolitan” as familiarity and ease with other countries and cultures. Miller may have meant Acosta’s cosmopolitan status has been limited by a biased belief that English is a language of whites. There is also this possible context: Media liberals covering the White House seldom stray from their upscale, liberal neighborhoods in the cosmopolitan beltway. If Acosta had a less myopic view, he would know much of the world speaks English. Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada, Belize, The Bahamas, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago are among a long list of non-white, English-speaking countries. English is a language, Mr. Acosta, not a race. A mindless effort to cast the administration as anti-Semitic boldly ignores the fact Trump moved his Jewish family into the White House and made them top advisers. Trump was declared the greatest friend of Israel and the Jewish people by the leader of the Jewish state. Trump’s maiden speech to Congress focused on a need to counter hate crimes against Jews. We could go on, but facts suggest Trump may be the greatest White House ally Jews and Israel have seen in decades. Yet, his detractors characterize him and his staff as the modern Third Reich. The media and other Trump opponents have plenty of legitimate gripes, so they should stop making light of the Holocaust by comparing this administration to a regime that killed more than 6 million Jews. It is disgusting. Journalists should challenge the president on substance, and keep him in check. They should not exacerbate their profession’s self-destructive implosion by exploiting history’s worst genocide for cheap political gain.

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A white man called her kids the n-word. Facebook stopped her from … – Chicago Tribune

Francie Latour was picking out produce in a suburban Boston grocery store when a white man leaned toward her two young sons and, just loudly enough for the boys to hear, unleashed a profanity-laced racist epithet. Reeling, Latour, who is black, turned to Facebook to vent, in a post that was explicit about the hateful words hurled at her 8- and 12-year-olds on a Sunday evening in July. “I couldn’t tolerate just sitting with it and being silent,” Latour said in an interview. “I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin, like my kids’ innocence was stolen in the blink of an eye.” But within 20 minutes, Facebook deleted her post, sending Latour a cursory message that her content had violated company standards. Only two friends had gotten the chance to voice their disbelief and outrage. Experiences like Latour’s exemplify the challenges Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg confronts as he tries to rebrand his company as a safe space for community, expanding on its earlier goal of connecting friends and family. But in making decisions about the limits of free speech, Facebook often fails the racial, religious and sexual minorities Zuckerberg says he wants to protect. The 13-year-old social network is wrestling with the hardest questions it has ever faced as the de facto arbiter of speech for the third of the world’s population that now logs on each month. In February, amid mounting concerns over Facebook’s role in the spread of violent live videos and fake news, Zuckerberg said the platform had a responsibility to “mitigate the bad” effects of the service in a more dangerous and divisive political era. In June, he officially changed Facebook’s mission from connecting the world to community-building. The company says it now deletes about 288,000 hate-speech posts a month. But activists say that Facebook’s censorship standards are so unclear and biased that it is impossible to know what one can or cannot say. The result: Minority groups say they are disproportionately censored when they use the social-media platform to call out racism or start dialogues. In the case of Latour and her family, she was simply repeating what the man who verbally assaulted her children said: “What the f— is up with those f—ing n—-r heads?” Compounding their pain, Facebook will often go from censoring posts to locking users out of their accounts for 24 hours or more, without explanation a punishment known among activists as “Facebook jail.” “In the era of mass incarceration, you come into this digital space this one space that seems safe and then you get attacked by the trolls and put in Facebook jail,” said Stacey Patton, a journalism professor at Morgan State University, a historically black university in Baltimore. “It totally contradicts Mr. Zuckerberg’s mission to create a public square.” In June, the company said that nearly 2 billion people now log onto Facebook each month. With the company’s dramatic growth comes the challenge of maintaining internally consistent standards as its content moderators are faced with a growing number of judgment calls. “Facebook is regulating more human speech than any government does now or ever has,” said Susan Benesch, director of the Dangerous Speech Project, a nonprofit group that researches the intersection of harmful online content and free speech. “They are like a de facto body of law, yet that law is a secret.” The company recently admitted, in a blog post, that “too often we get it wrong,” particularly in cases when people are using certain terms to describe hateful experiences that happened to them. The company has promised to hire 3,000 more content moderators before the year’s end, bringing the total to 7,500, and is looking to improve the software it uses to flag hate speech, a spokeswoman said. “We know this is a problem,” said Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja, adding that the company has been meeting with community activists for several years. “We’re working on evolving not just our policies but our tools. We are listening.” Two weeks after Donald Trump won the presidency, Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ office for the San Francisco Bay area, posted to Facebook an image of ahandwritten letter mailed to a San Jose mosque and quoted from it: “He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The post made to four Facebook accounts contained a notation clarifying that the statement came from hate mail sent to the mosque, as Facebook guidelines advise. Facebook removed the post from two of the accounts Billoo’s personal page and the council’s local chapter page but allowed identical posts to remain on two others the organization’s national page and Billoo’s public one. The civil rights attorney was baffled. After she re-posted the message on her personal page, it was again removed, and Billoo received a notice saying she would be locked out of Facebook for 24 hours. “How am I supposed to do my work of challenging hate if I can’t even share information showing that hate?” she said. Billoo eventually received an automated apology from Facebook, and the post was restored to the local chapter page but not her personal one. Being put in “Facebook jail” has become a regular occurrence for Shannon Hall-Bulzone, a San Diego photographer. In June 2016, Hall-Bulzone was shut out for three days after posting an angry screed when she and her toddler were called lazy “brown people” as they walked to day care and her sister was called a “lazy n—-r” as she walked to work. Within hours, Facebook removed the post. Many activists who write about race say they break Facebook rules and keep multiple accounts in order to play a cat-and-mouse game with the company’s invisible censors, some of whom are third-party contractors working on teams based in the United States or in Germany or the Philippines. Others have started using alternate spellings for “white people,” such as “wypipo,” “Y.P. Pull,” or “yt folkx” to evade being flagged by the platform activists have nicknamed “Racebook.” In January, a coalition of more than 70 civil rights groups wrote aletter urging Facebook to fix its “racially-biased” content moderation system. The groups asked Facebook to enable an appeals process, offer explanations for why posts are taken down, and publish data on the types of posts that get taken down and restored. Facebook has not done these things. The coalition has gathered 570,000 signatures urging Facebook to acknowledge discriminatory censorship exists on its platform, that it harbors white supremacist pages even though it says it forbids hate speech in all forms, and that black and Muslim communities are especially in danger because the hate directed against them translates into violence in the streets, said Malkia Cyril, a Black Lives Matter activist in Oakland, California, who was part of a group that first met with Facebook about their concerns in 2014. Cyril, executive director for the Center for Media Justice, said the company has a double standard when it comes to deleting posts. She has flagged numerous white supremacist pages to Facebook for removal and said she was told that none was initially found to have violated the company’s community standards even though they displayed offensive content. One featured a picture of a skeleton with the caption, “Ever since Trayvon became white, he’s been a good boy,” in reference to Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager killed by a volunteer neighborhood watchman in Florida in 2012. Like most social media companies in Silicon Valley, Facebook has long resisted being a gatekeeper for speech. For years, Zuckerberg insisted that the social network had only minimal responsibilities for policing content. In its early years, Facebook’s internal guidelines for moderating and censoring content amounted to only a single page. The instructions included prohibitions on nudity and images of Hitler, according to a trove of documents published by the investigative news outlet ProPublica. (Holocaust denial was allowed.) By 2015, the internal censorship manual had grown to 15,000 words, according to ProPublica. In Facebook’s guidelines for moderators,obtained by ProPublica in June and affirmed by the social network, the rules protect broad classes of people but not subgroups. Posts criticizing white or black people would be prohibited, while posts attacking white or black children, or radicalized Muslim suspects, may be allowed to stay up because the company sees “children” and “radicalized Muslims” as subgroups. Facebook says it prohibits direct attacks on protected characteristics, defined in U.S. law as race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, serious disability or disease. But the guidelines have never been publicly released, and as recently as last summer Zuckerberg continued to insist Facebook was “a tech company, not a media company.” Unlike media companies, technology platforms that host speech are not legally responsible for the content that appears. The chief executive has shifted his stance this year. At the company’s “Communities Summit,” a first-ever live gathering for members of Facebook groups held in Chicago in June, Zuckerberg changed the mission statement. Earlier, he said the company would become, over the next decade, a “social infrastructure” for “keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.” The company acknowledged that minorities feel disproportionately targeted but said it could not verify those claims because it does not categorize the types of hate speech that appear or tally which groups are targeted. In June, for example, Facebook removed a video posted by Ybia Anderson, a black woman in Toronto who was outraged by the prominent display of a car decorated with the Confederate flag at a community festival. The social network did not remove dozens of other posts in which Anderson was attacked with racial slurs. Benesch, who herself has tried to build a software tool to flag hate speech, said she sympathizes with Facebook’s predicament. “It is authentically difficult to make consistent decisions because of the huge variety of content out there,” she said. “That doesn’t, however, excuse the fact they sometimes make some very stupid decisions.” As for Latour, the Boston mother was surprised when Facebook restored her post about the hateful words spewed at her sons, less than 24 hours after it disappeared. The company sent her an automated notice that a member of its team had removed her post in error. There was no further explanation. The initial censoring of Latour’s experience “felt almost exactly like what happened to my sons writ large,” she said. The man had unleashed the racial slur so quietly that for everyone else in the store, the verbal attack never happened. But it had terrified her boys, who froze, unable to immediately respond or tell their mother. “They were left with all that ugliness and hate,” she said, “and when I tried to share it so that people could see it for what it is, I was shut down.”

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August 6, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed


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