Lose Free Speech or "F" Israel?
Free Speech, the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas, is about to be lost in America. Facebook, although admittedly is not a government actor, is in the same position as the government on the Internet.
It usurps the government's position with regards to a world population in excess of one billion users, at least in respect to Free Speech. Thus, how Facebook governs its services is how your Free Speech rights are governed in America.
Currently, there is a petition for removal of an anti-Israel page on Facebook. It has 75,000 likes as of Monday morning. The petition's reason for removal is due to the content of the anti-Israel page.
First the Anti-Iarael page uses an expletive, “F*ck” in its name, as in “F*ck Israel.” Albeit the taste of the word to many ears is unpleasant, it still represents Free Speech, especially in regards to politics.
A Miami, Florida group has rallied a petition to silence the Free Speech of another group of people, who presumably exist somewhere in the United States, also. Michael Mendelson says the removal petition has been on Facebook for less than one week. He claims that he started the page to counter the other Facebook page.
However, Mendelson is not countering the Facebook page. He is attempting to silence the page.
Even the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, says on its website that “the best way to counter obnoxious speech is with more speech. Persuasion, not coercion, is the solution.”
The top “Fuck Israel” page currently has around 36,000 likes as of Monday. It features such obnoxious speech as “God bless Adolf Hitler for what he did;” “Jews are children of apes and pigs … they are baby killers;” and “I hate Israel.” By the way, there are over 250 various copycat Facebook pages already made with the same or similar name as this particular page.
Mendelson's group believes that if it achieves nine times as many likes as the other page that Facebook will silence the “Fuck Israel” page. This is a bad precedent for Free Speech this Mendelson presents to the world, for one day the world may choose to silence his speech or his ethnicity’s speech on the basis of likes to dislikes.