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14 Jun, 2019 04:42

Facebook labels users as ‘hate agents’ based on ‘signals’ & off-platform interactions – report

Facebook labels users as ‘hate agents’ based on ‘signals’ & off-platform interactions – report

Facebook tracks users’ behavior on- and off-platform, hunting for “signals” that they could be a “hate agent,” and even talking to a “designated hate entity” can get a user banned, according to a policy document seen by Breitbart.

Users who appear at events alongside or even interview “designated hate entities” risk being marked as a “hate agent” themselves, Breitbart reports citing an internal document. Associating with or praising one of these bogeymen – the “Hate Agent Policy Review” cites British anti-migrant activist Tommy Robinson as an example – can also get a user marked with the scarlet letter, as can identifying with or speaking up for a “designated hateful ideology.”

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Other “signals” are more vague, such as possessing “hate paraphernalia” or having “tattoos of hate symbols or hate slogans.” The document doesn’t give examples of what these might be, but with the media falling for increasingly ridiculous 4chan psy-ops to have everything from the “OK” hand sign to milk assigned secret racist meanings, today’s innocuous possession could be tomorrow’s hate paraphernalia.

Hate speech,” of course, figures prominently in the policy, though Facebook’s definition is quite a bit broader than the term is commonly understood. A “tier 2” hate speech comment could include calling a person “stupid,” “ugly,” or even “fraud,” if it was determined that the comment had been made on the basis of a “protected characteristic” like race, religion, or sexual orientation. Meanwhile “tier 3” consists of “calls to exclude or segregate a person” based on their presumed stupidity, ugliness, fraudulence, and so on.

Making three or more “hate speech” remarks in a single statement or appearance constitutes a “signal,” as does making five in the space of a month. Facebook’s hate-hunters are allowed to go back two years in their quest for incriminating material, which can include “public statements, or statements made in private and later made public.

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The company even keeps a list of so-called “hate agents,” because the McCarthyism comparisons weren’t on-the-nose enough already. YouTube political commentator turned real-life UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) found himself on the list earlier this year, prior to the European parliament elections; a leaked Facebook document revealed he had been labeled a “hate actor” for the unthinkable crime of “neutral representation” of a member of the Proud Boys, along with reposting a homophobic comment directed at himself and making fun of a white nationalism supporter. His fellow UK politician Anne-Marie Waters and YouTube commentator Candace Owens are also on the blacklist, according to Breitbart.

Facebook appears to incentivize its employees to hunt down evidence that users are behaving badly both on- and off-platform, and the latter is scarily easy for Facebook to do. The platform tracks users’ online activities across every site that includes its ubiquitous “like” and “share” buttons, and its tracking is not limited to the primary device they use Facebook on. A massive data breach last year proved Facebook has access to all users’ photos - even the ones they don’t post to Facebook - and the app scours users’ address books to look for potential “friends,” meaning there’s no way to hide one’s “hateful” associates from prying eyes.

Also on rt.com UKIP's European election candidate designated as 'hate agent' in secret Facebook list – report

Nor are hate “signals” the only factors that warrant inclusion on Facebook’s blacklist - like YouTube, the company is increasingly obsessed with so-called “borderline” content that does not violate its rules but doesn’t sufficiently conform to its favored narratives. It’s up to Facebook whether the weight of all the evidence warrants deplatforming, of course, meaning the banhammer is wielded selectively – but always waiting in the wings for users who step out of line, ideologically.

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