During a recent United Nations summit in New York, Mark Zuckerburg was put in the hot seat when German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, directly called him out about Facebook’s inaction over anti-immigration comments.
Censorship on Facebook is nothing new, but the social media site’s stance on global issues has been unpredictable and at times confusing. Since the beginning of this year, Europe has faced an unprecedented wave of asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution in Syria and other war-torn Middle-Eastern countries.
While heart warming acts of public welcome have taken place in Austria, Germany, and other central European countries, the flow of immigrants has also led to an ugly backlash of racist and xenophobic anti-refugee sentiments, often being shared publicly via leading social media sites.
Zuckerberg has come under fire in the past due to the preferential support of some groups, but a seemingly “blind eye” policy to situations in other countries. While Facebook advocates the reporting and removal of hate speech from its platform, it also seems to have taken a political stance by censoring anything that goes against its interests, regardless of whether the content is offensive or not.
Another controversial censoring was reported when an article entitled “This New Bill Could Ban GMO Labeling for Good” was blocked from being shared on Facebook for “security measures.” The fact that Facebook would censor content that takes a stance against a potential threat to personal health under the guise of security reasons begs the question, “Are Facebook’s censorship policies politically motivated? And if so, who benefits?”