Could it soon be illegal to oppose jihad terror on the Internet?
AP reported that “the European Union reached an agreement Tuesday with some of the world’s biggest social media firms, including Facebook and Twitter, on ways to combat the spread of hate speech online.”
Not only Facebook and Twitter, but also YouTube and Microsoft, “have committed to ‘quickly and efficiently’ tackle illegal hate speech directed against anyone over issues of race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. The sites have often been used by terrorist organizations to relay messages and entice hatred against certain individuals or groups.”
Vera Jourova, whom AP identifies as “the EU commissioner responsible for justice, consumers and gender equality,” explained: “The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech.” She added that the new rules would “ensure that public incitement to violence to hatred has ‘no place online.’” But incitement to violence isn’t all that the social media giants are planning to stamp out: Karen White, Twitter’s European head of public policy, declared: “We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”
The problem with both Jourova’s and White’s statements is that they assume that “hate speech” is an entity that can be identified objectively, when actually it is a subjective judgment based on one’s own political preconceptions. And given the years-long insistence from Leftists and Islamic supremacists that any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism constitutes “hate speech,” these new rules could mean the end of opposition to jihad terror on the Internet.
Consider, for example, what Twitter does not consider to be “hate speech.” A Muslim named Obaid Karki, @stsheetrock on Twitter, who runs a website headed “Obaid Karki St.Sheetrock’s Painfulpolitics Offensive Comedy Hepcat” and another called is called “Suicide Bombers Magazine” posted this on one of them last Sunday: “Robert Spencer mustn’t [be] featured but lynched from his scrotum along with Zionists scumbags, Pamela Geller, Pat Condell, Daniel Pipes, Debbie Schlussel and JIHADWATCH Jackass duo Baron Bodissey & Geert Wilders for inspiring Anders Behring Breivik to [kill] innocent students in 2011.”
Neither Bodissey or Wilders actually run Jihad Watch – I do -- and I didn’t inspire Breivik to do anything, but what is interesting about Karki’s loony message is that he posted this call for me and others to be lynched on Twitter.
Twitter supposedly has a policy against death threats. “The Twitter Rules” say: “Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.” I therefore duly reported this one – but as of this writing, it has not been taken down (in fact, Karki posted it along with variants of it several times). I reported Karki’s tweet (which he republished on Twitter several times), and on Monday received this message from Twitter: “Thank you for letting us know about your issue. We've investigated the account and reported Tweets for violent threats and abusive behavior, and have found that it's currently not violating the Twitter Rules (https://twitter.com/rules).”
This has happened before. On May 12, 2014, Karki tweeted this: “Robert Spencer must be arrested and lynched along the Zionists Dumbasses Daniel Pipes, Geert Wilders and JIHADWATCH …” And here’s another Karki tweet from September 18, 2013: “Robert Spencer must be shot head not only for comparing Alnoor 24:35 to Corinthians 11:14-15 satanically but for...”
Calling for me to be lynched and shot in the head – that’s not “hate speech” as far as Twitter is concerned. Meanwhile, the antipathy of both Twitter and Facebook to conservatives is well established. It’s therefore a very real question: will our social media masters use their new censorship initiative to shut down foes of jihad terror, while allowing jihadis and their sympathizers to speak freely?
It could happen. In some ways it is already happening: the free speech news site Epoch Times reported last March that “while Twitter says it is making strong efforts to shut down terrorist accounts, activists say that not only is the microblogging company not taking down the accounts that matter, but it has even been shutting down accounts of users trying to report terrorists.”
The idea that Vera Jourova enunciated, that hate speech is not free speech, is a dangerous one that paves the way for tyranny. One man’s “hate speech” is another man’s lone voice crying out against oppression and injustice. If “hate speech” is removed from the Internet and eventually criminalized, the foremost protection against tyranny will have been removed, and free society effectively ended. If Facebook and Twitter continue kneecapping voices on the Right and allowing death threats to remain online if they’re directed against people the Left hates, Leftists will have gone a long way toward achieving what they’ve been working toward for a long time: the death of dissent, and the beginnings of an authoritarian society.
And if any of the naïve and unthinking among them awaken to what they’ve done, it will be too late. Maybe as early as 24 hours from now.