Facebook, Tech Reporter, Reporter discussed on Today in Focus
Julia this started in late twenty nineteen. When as a tech reporter, you're covering the controversy around the launch facebook news, and in particular the decision to include the highly controversial Breitbart News as a trusted source. That lead you onto another story. Didn't it being a tech reporter guests? At in this day and age to include this intersection with. Him and hate in the context of that. I decided to take a look at how facebook was doing. When it came to keeping explicit and openly white nationalist groups off of its platform with facebook the there's always a huge gap between what the stated policy is, and what the actual reality is when it comes to them. Actually! Putting in the resources to police their own platforms, so I decided to just go take a look and see what was out there among the groups that I found was read ice TV which is a a really violently hateful Neo Nazi Organization v Dare which is one of the oldest and kind of more, established, vehemently anti immigrant. Organizations these were just some of the groups that were still existing on the platform in in November, twenty, nineteen. You know which is two and a half years after you know. We had seen killing by white nationalists in Charlottesville more than six months after facebook had said that they had banned white nationalism that this stuff was still on their platform I mean that was pretty shocking. What happened when you alerted facebook tour? What happened when I learned facebook to? It was what normally happens when I have alerted facebook to these in the past, which is that they did nothing a will tend to respond by saying. You know yes, that like we do. Do have a policy against white nationalism, but then they will start to argue around the edges and simply say you know our policies don't apply here. We published our articles a couple of days later. I think maybe five or six days after publication they did come back to me and say that they had decided that red ice TV that they were going to ban that group. They did not take the same action against V dare. Vedra remained on the platform until actually this May when they kicked them off for violating a completely different policy and other groups such as Holocaust denial groups that I had also fled to them. We're using the platform. They just said explicitly actually that they don't have any policy against coastal. I mean you set the? facebook reacted in the way that they've reacted before. What happened before, so this is. This is not the first time that I've that I've gone to to facebook with information about far right extremist hate groups using their platform to organize. It's actually the third time. Know just in three years. That I've done this. It's kind of turned into an annual tradition and one that I wish it didn't have to to do. In twenty seventeen I started working on a story about what I was observing, which was that there are a lot of extremist groups and a lot of extremist organisations were popping up in the real world that had their roots in organizing on facebook. This is not snot. People that are kind of hiding themselves as like a men's club, this was. People that were using the language of Jim Crow. Groups that were existing openly on the platform. And when I took that to facebook, you know they. They had no problem with I. Think anything more than a couple. I you know I think that they took down the ones that actually had kkk in the name, but many of the most dangerous groups that would a couple of weeks later become kind of national and international news because of their involvement in the Charlottesville unite the right protests that resulted in the death of heather higher, many of those organizations facebook looked at them and said yeah. We have no problem with them using our platform. You know they're. They're not using the platform because they WANNA. Share pictures of their kits. Extremist. Groups use facebook because they want to recruit new members. They want to organize line events, and they want to spread their propaganda. Either you know by finding a new audience or by a harassing and going after the people that they hate so there's no kind of. Neutral positive use of facebook as a tool by hate groups. That's not what they're there for. And, that was facebook, but of course the next thing that happened was the white nationalist groups using the platform began to target you. Tell me how they responded. They they they responded with a lot of anger and I guess not surprisingly a lot of hate. When we published an article that points out that you know. These groups are on facebook against facebook's stated rules. The the perception rate is that you know. I'm saying that these groups should come off of facebook, and when it comes to white nationalist hate groups. Yes, I think that those groups should come off facebook with the November story. What was kind surprising was that. Breitbart which I had also discussed in my article, decided to assign a reporter to write about me and started sending emails to me me, emailing my editor, trying to assert that I am the real racist. And at the same time, the white nationalist groups started to attack me on social media and start to spread the word that I was this evil leftists mainstream reporter that was trying to censor them. That was trying to get them kicked off the Internet I. think that they kind of worked in tandem and it just kind of unleashed this massive harassment campaign that was quite ugly and difficult. You know just. Tons and tons and tons of you know just websites blogs kind of pseudo publications that I don't really WanNa name because I don't send people to their websites, but. They've started writing articles about me, Kind of dissecting my particular racial background, which is half, Chinese and half Jewish and that. Of course is something that is just disgusting and appalling to to white nationalists into racists. I think we all try to or I. Try to pretend like this. Stuff doesn't bother me, you know. I'm a reporter, I. You know. I went looking at this stuff, but. At the same time you know, it is deeply kind of. Disturbing to look at an article written on some website that talks about me by my full name. includes a picture of me and then says you know that I I am the result of a of a racial Molotov cocktail that you know it's so frightening because. The. You know that that unite the cunning.