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Court case challenges Facebook bans

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14.05.2019

BERLIN - Facebook is often criticized for not doing enough to police its platform for hate speech. But the opposite has also been a problem: Mark Zuckerberg’s company uses rather vague “community standards” as the basis for decision to remove users and posts. It doesn’t feel compelled to explain exactly how it applies them, either. Now, a Polish court may decide it should.

When Facebook banned Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Louis Farrakhan, Laura Loomer and others recently, all it said was that “the process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision.” The prominent right-wingers with huge audiences on the Facebook-owned platforms didn’t, in other words, get much in the way of explanation.

Those banned from Facebook and Instagram earlier this month might want to take a look at Poland, where a local NGO is suing Facebook for removing its page. The Polish nonprofit, called the Civil Society Drug Policy Initiative and known by the Polish abbreviation SIN for short, filed suit against Facebook’s European arm in the Warsaw District Court last week. At least in Europe, the case may help set up more transparent procedures for banning content and its creators from social networks.

The group specializes in “harm reduction,” an approach to fixing drug-related social problems in part by removing the stigma from drug use and respecting users’ rights. It may be controversially soft on drug users, but the approach has been backed by the United Nations and influential private donors and is by no means illegal.

SIN says Facebook shut down its page last year without explaining........

© The Japan Times