Facebook under fire

September 25, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW Jewish and Aboriginal communities have mounted an attack against racism on social media giant Facebook.

Facebook has come under simultaneous criticism from both the Aboriginal and Jewish communities in Australia for allowing its facility to be used to promote racist stereotypes.

In the last two months, Facebook pages promoting ‘Aboriginal memes’ and ‘Jewish memes’ have been established, with content that includes derogatory generalisations about Aboriginal and Jewish people respectively, supposedly in the form of “humour”.

Peter Wertheim

Following a torrent of complaints from members of the public and criticism from the Race Relations Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke, Facebook has made the ‘memes’ pages inaccessible from within Australia. However, the pages remain accessible from other parts of the world and the urls containing the words “Aboriginalmemes” and “Jewishmemes” remain on the internet and are produced by searches of those words on the internet via most search engines.

Sol Bellear

Formal complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission have been lodged against Facebook by both the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), Redfern, and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

Executive Director of the ECAJ, Peter Wertheim, said “In social media platforms, the more viewers and discussion, the more advertising revenue can be created, and this advertising revenue usually goes directly to the platform provider. Platform providers have a clear commercial interest against any form of regulation, and in being as permissive as possible. And they don’t have the knowledge to judge what does or does not cross the line into racial hatred. The final decision about whether to allow an allegedly racist publication to remain on the net should not rest with them.”

The Chair of the AMS, Redfern, Sol Bellear, agreed adding, “Facebook, like any other large corporation, has a duty to act with social responsibility. The images on Facebook are amongst the most obscene examples of racism that I have encountered in my life. Facebook should take a strong moral stand, expunge any racist material from its web platforms and indeed, it should actively promote anti racist policies. There is nothing moral about making money out of racism”.

Comments

2 Responses to “Facebook under fire”
  1. Sabra says:

    So please .. what is Facebook doing about it?

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