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Facebook: Denials, deceit and discrimination Part 2

facebook

Facebook, the social media giant that crosses borders, nations and governments.
Is FACEBOOK really that powerful?

The Rite-ON! Facebook experience

The Rite-ON! Facebook page, along with many other conservative political pages, has been de-boosted, de-platformed and effectively silenced by Facebook – apparently because Facebook disagrees with our political beliefs and activities.  One of our supporters attended a public Facebook training day recently and among other inquiries, asked about shadow-banning. The response was amazing!  The Facebook staffer refused to answer the question and simply walked away.

Part 1 exposed the truth behind the scenes. Facebook algorithms and their ‘ActionDeboostLiveDistribution’ code that is applied to specific pages whose political beliefs (and activities) appear to differ to that of the social media giant.

These targeted pages are coded to effectively destroy page credibility and to silence the opinions of their editors and administrators.  Mark Zuckerberg has denied the social media giant fights against free speech; the evidence, however, would strongly suggest otherwise!

The regular attacks on the Rite-ON! Facebook page started around 18 months ago, when supporter numbers, comments, and weekly engagements grew exponentially.  It was from a weekly engagement of 300K prior to the federal election in May (2019) to under 2K in early December, and individual post readership falling from 2,000 to under 10, that we suspected we were being ‘singled out for special attention’. These dramatic changes ‘red flagged’ to us that our page was under attack from Facebook.

Along with unexpected logouts, an inability to post articles, shadow-banning and de-boosting, our page has suffered a huge loss of viewers, comments and reach, damaging our ability to communicate and debate political issues online in a respectful manner.

We are now in a circular ‘lock-out’ by Facebook with no avenue of appeal.

Commencing on the 21st November 2019, page feeds became severely restricted on a weekly basis. When each weekly ban was lifted, another was applied within five (5) minutes, despite NO ACTIVITY on the page. Our three appeals to Facebook have received no response and the restrictions continue.

There appears to be no recourse or remedy for ‘perceived infringements’ and, therefore, no chance to remedy nor access to natural justice.   We greatly suspect appeals are dealt with by algorithms, and, therefore, no human will reply.   Our situation suggests Facebook has flagged Rite-ON! for ‘special attention’- perhaps even ‘ActionDeboostLiveDistribution’ or the page has fallen into a perpetual ‘twilight zone’ with no hope of escape.  Despite this Facebook still encourages us to spend more money boosting historical posts! (see Ban #3)

RiteON’s Facebook bans commenced 14th November and have been renewed every week        

 

 

The last post or update from admin on the page was on the 27th November. The rolling weekly bans, however, continue. 

  • Has Facebook deliberately targeted Rite-ON! because we are conservatives, or have their algorithms failed?
  • Should Facebook determine what is ‘hate speech’ or ‘fake news’
  • What body or government controls the closing down by Facebook of free speech and political opinion? 

Discrimination against conservatives – or pure co-incidence?

 In contrast to our treatment of silencing and shadow-banning, other pages that appear to breach Facebook policies, are given a free ride.  Pages such as Mad Fucking Witches (MFW), Sleeping Giants and the Anticolonial Asian Alliance (AAA) are examples of being given ‘special treatment’ by Facebook. We provide several examples below. These posts are racist and defamatory in our opinion.

 

  

        

Mad F**King Witches and Sleeping Giants were topics of a recent Rite-ON! campaign (1) which uncovered their modus-operandi and online attacks on Alan Jones of Radio 2GB and Sky News and included Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman. Numerous defamatory and discriminatory articles have been posted by MFW, and only recently has Facebook put MFW ‘in temporary jail’ for the very first time!  The Anticolonial Asian Alliance, however, enjoys freedom to racially vilify Australian women and Anglo- men. Please see examples of the material posted by MFW on Facebook.

 

 

 NO ‘safe space’ from hate speech, racism, abuse and scams

Not only is Facebook becoming an enemy of free speech for conservatives, but the social media giant has permitted the proliferation of hate-speech, racism and abuse of others, on its platform. (2)

In addition, an alarming report on child-sex abuse on Facebook was published on Thursday 12th December. It found that ‘Facebook was responsible for nearly two-thirds of the 18.4 million worldwide reports of child sexual abuse material last year, as a new international threat assessment warns of a looming ­“tsunami” of online child abuse and exploitation in 2020. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced a plan to have the online industry operating in Australia adhere to a new Online Safety Charter, and to strengthen the e-Safety Commissioner’s powers to ensure tech companies reported on how they were protecting customers and the community from online dangers. (3)  

Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, said “Facebook is morally bankrupt in protecting kids” (4) in response to Facebook’s plans to create end-to-end-encryption on Messenger. This would allow more child sex abuse and exploitation through Facebook’s messenger service and prevent authorities from protecting potential victims.

Mr. Dutton blasted Facebook’s response to a letter he sent in ­October with British Home Secretary Priti Patel and US ­Attorney-General William Barr appealing to the company not to introduce end-to-end encryption, saying Mr. Zuckerberg “did not even have the decency to ­respond”.

Facebook has allowed sophisticated scams by such organizations and individuals as Hong Kong-based iLikeAd Media International, China-based software developer Chen Xiao Cong and marketer Huang Tao on their social media platform. Images of prominent Australians including Andrew Forrest, James Packer, Eddie Maguire, Harry Triguboff, Karl Stefanovic and Waleed Aly, were used without their consent. Twiggy Forrest has taken aim at Facebook.

 

twiggy forrestAustralian mining billionaire Twiggy (Andrew) Forrest has added pressure on Facebook, urging it to crack down on false or misleading advertising. Forrest, whose image has been used on Facebook without permission in cryptocurrency scams, has written a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding more action to stop the scams. “This is abhorrent, and you can stop it,” he says in the letter. 

“You have the power and the technology to prevent these scam advertisements from running on your platform. Is revenue more important to you than the life savings of elderly people, Mr.  Zuckerberg?”

Forrest went on to accuse Zuckerberg of “facilitating scams” by allowing the ads to run on the platform and called for lawmakers to intervene. (5)

 

Is discrimination allowed in Australia?

‘There are federal, state and territory laws in Australia to protect people from discrimination and harassment.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has statutory responsibilities under the Age Discrimination Act 2004, Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.  In addition to the federal legislation, each state and territory in Australia has equal opportunity and anti-discrimination agencies, with statutory responsibilities.  (6)

State anti-discrimination laws are not all the same. 

  • NSW and South Australia have no legislation to protect against religious and political discrimination. (8,9)
  • West Australia has anti-discrimination legislation that recognizes and covers religious and political discrimination (10)
  • Victoria has anti-discrimination legislation that recognizes and covers religious and political discrimination (11)
  • Queensland has anti-discrimination legislation that recognizes and covers religious and political discrimination (12)
  • The Northern Territory has anti-discrimination legislation that recognizes and covers religious and political discrimination (13)
  • The Australian Capital Territory has anti-discrimination legislation that recognizes and covers religious and political discrimination (14)
  • Tasmania has anti-discrimination legislation that recognizes and covers religious and political discrimination (15)

For this exercise we take a closer look at the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, (referred to as ‘ The Act’ ) prohibits discrimination on the basis of;   sex, relationship status, pregnancy, parental status, breastfeeding, age, race, impairment, religious belief or religious activity, political belief or activity, trade union activity, lawful sexual activity, gender identity, sexuality, family responsibilities, association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes. (7)

Queensland Parliament House

Part 4 of ‘The Act’ details areas of activity in which discrimination is prohibited.

Within the area of Supply of Goods and Services “a person must not discriminate in the goods and services area by failing to supply the goods or services, the terms on which the goods or services are supplied, the way in which goods or services are supplied, or by treating a person unfavorably in any way in connection with the supply of goods and services”

Exempted from the above are “associations established for social, literary, cultural, political, sporting, athletic, recreational, community service or any other similar lawful purposes, or one that does not carry out its purposes for the purpose of making a profit”

It is suggested that Facebook is NOT exempt under “The Act’ , supplies a service, and yet discriminates by withholding the delivery of that service through stealth banning, shadow-banning, ghost banning, blocking and removing pages of people and organizations whose political beliefs or activity   do not align with Facebook. 

Given there is strong evidence of Facebook acting against conservatives by activating specific codes to restrict feeds, punish and humiliate people and remove pages under their assertion that hate speech only comes from the right, under Australian State Anti-Discrimination Legislation, Facebook may be breaking the law.

Should everyone be subject to, and equal under, the law?

We believe that everyone should be equal under the law of the country in which they live, work, make profit or receive benefit.  The ACCC apparently agrees, however the Federal Government will need to adopt ALL of their 23 recommendations!

gavelACCC Chairman Rod Simms said: “Australia will act independently of the rest of the world if need be, reminding the tech giants they are subject to Australian laws and that, if they don’t like it, they can leave.”  

The message Rod Sims, the chair of consumer watchdog the ACCC, is sending to the market is that Australia will make sure Google and Facebook obey by its laws or wave goodbye to the tech giants. (16)

Meanwhile DIGI – the well-paid lobbyist representing Facebook and Google’s Australian operations, has warned the ACCC’s final report could stifle innovation.   Australia, however, will not be ‘going it alone’ if it introduces regulation to curb the tech giants’ power and tax avoidance! France has already imposed a 3% REVENUE tech-tax and the UK is talking of a 2% REVENUE tech-tax. Changes to Privacy Laws are also among the 23 recommendations made by the ACCC.

If international businesses operate and create revenue in Australia, Rite-ON! believes they must be subject to Australian Law. We believe, however, in our case that Facebook has contravened state anti-discrimination laws based on political belief and activity, on multiple occasions. 

What can you do?

Those who have experienced what they genuinely believe to be shadow-banning, ghost-banning, restricted feeds, and de-boosting because of their political beliefs and activities (and not for breaching Facebook policies or ‘community standards’) could file a complaint.

  1. Complaints about perceived political discrimination can be filed online in the following states:

Australian Capital Territory:
https://hrc.act.gov.au/complaints/
Northern Territory:
https://adc.nt.gov.au/complaints/complaint_form.html
Queensland :
https://www.qhrc.qld.gov.au/complaints/make-a-complaint**
Victoria:
https://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/discrimination/making-a-complaint
West Australia :
http://www.eoc.wa.gov.au/complaints-inquiries/making-a-complaint
Tasmania:
https://equalopportunity.tas.gov.au/discrimination

Please note:

a) South Australia and NSW do not include discrimination based on political belief or activity in their legislation.
b) Rite-ON! does not take legal responsibility for your complaint. If in doubt – seek legal guidance
c) **Queensland’s laws change on 1st January 2020, so filing a complaint under current legislation is only possible up to the 31st December 2019

  1. Please share this campaign and meme with all your contacts and encourage them to ‘face up to Facebook’ 
  1. Please send your local federal politician a hard copy of this campaign.

 

References:

  1. https://www.riteon.org.au/sleeping-giants-mad-fking-witches/
  2. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/facebook-censorship-fast-becoming-an-enemy-of-free-expression-for-conservatives
  3. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/child-sex-abuse-rife-on-facebook/news-story/5b8d40edd15541ed955fd9f2ec86cd2b?utm_source=TheAustralian&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_content=TATodaysHeadlinesSubAM
  4. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/facebook-morally-bankrupt-on-protecting-kids-peter-dutton/news-story/12ab3382d5a800e0c3588d20b3a5d208
  5. https://www.adnews.com.au/news/twiggy-forrest-piles-on-facebook-over-fake-ads
  6. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/employers/quick-guide-australian-discrimination-laws
  7. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/2017-06-05/act-1991-085
  8. https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/inforce/f38c7dc7-ba45-ee6e-d61f-9c8e3cbd52cf/1977-48.pdf:
  9. https://eoc.sa.gov.au/resources/discrimination-laws/south-australian-laws/equal-opportunity-act
  10. http://www.eoc.wa.gov.au/
  11. https://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/discrimination/discrimination/types-of-discrimination
  12. https://www.qhrc.qld.gov.au/your-rights/discrimination-law
  13. https://legislation.nt.gov.au/Legislation/ANTIDISCRIMINATION-ACT-1992
  14. https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1991-81
  15. https://equalopportunity.tas.gov.au/discrimination
  16. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/australia-will-act-alone-on-regulating-google-and-facebook-if-needed-telling-the-tech-giants-they-can-obey-the-law-or-leave-2019-8

 

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