When is a death threat not a death threat? When it's on Facebook

Facebook has issued a new policy update saying it’s acceptable to post death threats and incite violence, despite this being a crime in the United Kingdom.

A Community Standards Update published by Facebook states 'Do not post: Threats that could lead to death (and other forms of high-severity violence) of any target(s) where threat is defined as any of the following:

Statements of intent to commit high-severity violence; or

Calls for high-severity violence (unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy)….'

The relevant policy details may be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/credible_violence/

Facebook state early on in these policy details that their view is that it is alright to kill terrorists (for example).

However, over the last few months, Facebook (along with other social media platforms) has banned numerous right-wing commentators under the justification that they were 'dangerous individuals'.

They provided no evidence whatsoever at the time that these commentators had behaved in a 'dangerous' manner or violated any of their policies.

Facebook (the largest social media company in the world with over 2 billion users) now says it's acceptable for its users to issue death threats against such individuals, purely on Facebook's assessment of who is 'dangerous' and who is not.

Among other things, this constitutes incitement to a crime in the United Kingdom under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act which states, 'Any person who sends to another person a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys... a threat... is guilty of an offence.'

There have been expressions of concern from various right-wing commentators affected by this policy update, most notably Paul Joseph Watson:

Author's comment: The problem with organisations like Facebook setting themselves up as moral guardians via social media is not a new problem.

The Roman satirist Juvenal in the 2nd century AD coined the phrase 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' or 'Who will guard the guardians?'.

Originally coined to emphasise the difficulties of imposing moral values on women, the phrase has universal, timeless applications to concepts such as tyrannical governments, uncontrollably oppressive dictatorships, and police or judicial corruption and overreach.

Who would have thought that Facebook's moral guardians would descend to fascist authoritarianism so quickly?

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