Back in September 2015 Angela Merkel was accidentally overheard asking Mark Zuckerberg what he was going to do about ‘hateful’ anti-immigration Facebook posts. He told her that he’s working on it. Just think about that for a moment. A leader whose policy is characterised by mass migration and who is trying desperately to cling to public support is asking a social media giant to stop people criticising her policy, and he agrees. Sound scary? Well things have just become a lot worse.
On March 31 Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft all signed up to an EU Commission ‘Code of Conduct’ on illegal online hate speech. They have all agreed to remove any speech that falls foul of a particular state’s laws within 24 hours. If all they’re trying to do is remove posts that are already illegal, then that’s not hugely controversial. But the EU Commission has a more sinister agenda here. The code of conduct continues; ‘[we] aim to continue… identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives.’ Perhaps this sounds benign, even encouraging. But why should the EU or social media companies be promoting any views at all – and which ‘counter-narratives’ will be lucky enough to receive their special attention?
These policies need to be looked at in conjunction with plans for all EU member states to enact legislation for the ‘promotion of tolerance’. It seems that the Commission also intends to make the promotion of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ compulsory for media companies – both public and private – and at all levels of education. Given that ‘anti-feminism’ is specifically mentioned in a list of forms of intolerance that must be combatted, I’m guessing the voices of non-feminists like me will not be on that list of counter-narratives. Side note – this draft framework is a seriously scary thing and you really should read it – or watch this video by YouTuber Vee who will take you on a guided tour of its Orwellian madness.
This, of course, begs the question: who gets to decide what does and does not constitute hate speech? Well, unfortunately this is where things start to get really scary. When online platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter start consulting with ‘partners in civil society’, who is it that they choose? There is a pattern, and it involves the social justice left whose stranglehold on the narrative is a sacred cow of the mainstream media:
Back in 2013 Facebook agreed to work with ‘members of the women’s coalition’ to remove misogynistic content after they realised that women’s’ groups were kicking up a stink that was interfering with their ad revenue. Since that time it’s been common knowledge that many comments criticising feminist ideology have also been removed. Twitter’s ‘Trust and Safety Council’ (see this withering analysis) includes several self-appointed feminist block-button-happy advocacy groups and not one single organisation dedicated to the protection of free speech. When the UN in partnership with Google Ideas invited a group of women to talk about how to combat cyber ‘violence’ against women they came up with this lot:
These self-proclaimed experts include some of the most ideological feminist activists on the internet. These are women who have built careers out of professional victimhood. The one with blue hair is Randi Harper, famous for being an appalling hypocrite and bully. These women claim that there is an epidemic of online harassment against women, and yet the UN’s own report into the issue was based on such appalling junk research it had to be rewritten (see Christina Hoff Sommers’ video below).
The EU Code of Conduct focuses, unsurprisingly, mostly on terrorism, but if past performance is anything to go by, it will open the door for people like Yvette Cooper and campaigns like #ReclaimTheInternet – yet another call for ‘training’ for the police and online platforms. The video clip below demonstrates the conflation of disagreement and violent threats which is so essential to these campaigns.
The issue of where the genuinely abusive rape and death threats are coming from and exactly how serious they are is a complex one, but keep in mind the following: I am not aware of any actual rape or murder attempts that have resulted from typical online ‘troll’ messages, and very few of these messages are ever traced to a direct source. These threats don’t just happen to women – some research suggests that men are more likely to receive threats of violence, and when Milo Yiannopoulos had a hypodermic syringe and a dead animal sent to his home nobody from the social justice brigade seemed particularly bothered.
In truth, nobody knows where this stuff is coming from, and it seems that there’s a group of the very women who have made careers out of receiving it who don’t ever want us to find out. Of course some of these messages are being sent by losers of both genders, and it’s possible that they are being sent by nasty white skinheads who genuinely don’t want a single woman to be on the internet, but it’s also possible that a very small number of people are sending these messages because they fuel a narrative which stands to benefit certain parties. Chances of a nuanced discussion about this when the likes of Merkel and the EU can use it to take control of what people say online? Zero.
So what all this actually means is that under the cry of ‘won’t somebody think of the women’, both states who want the power to curtail speech, and internet platforms who want to sanitise their content in order to make their advertisers feel safe will get to take our rights away, and the social justice lobbyists will convince the public that they’ve actually done something good for us. We need to fight this: labelling disagreement and dissent as hate speech is dictatorial. There’s a petition against it you can sign, and you can complain to the social media companies – or better still you can do what’s probably the only thing that will get a reaction; tell their advertisers that you won’t be buying their products any more.