Facebook’s Tough-on-Terror Talk Overlooks White Extremists

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Facebook’s Tough-on-Terror Talk Overlooks White Extremists

Quote:Publicly traded companies don’t typically need to issue statements saying that they do not support terrorism. But Facebook is no ordinary company; its sheer scale means it is credited as a force capable of swaying elections, commerce, and, yes, violent radicalization. In June, the social network published an article outlining its counterterrorism policy, stating unequivocally that “There’s no place on Facebook for terrorism.” Bad news for foreign plotters and jihadis, maybe, but what about Americans who want violence in America?

In its post, Facebook said it will use a combination of artificial intelligence-enabled scanning and “human expertise” to “keep terrorist content off Facebook, something we have not talked about publicly before.” The detailed article takes what seems to be a zero-tolerance stance on terrorism-related content:
Quote:We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them. When we receive reports of potential terrorism posts, we review those reports urgently and with scrutiny. And in the rare cases when we uncover evidence of imminent harm, we promptly inform authorities. Although academic research finds that the radicalization of members of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda primarily occurs offline, we know that the internet does play a role — and we don’t want Facebook to be used for any terrorist activity whatsoever.
Keeping the (to put it mildly) highly motivated membership of ISIS and Al Qaeda off any site is no small feat; replacing a banned account or deleted post with a new one is a cinch. But if Facebook is serious about refusing violent radicals a seat at the table, it’s only doing half its job, as the site remains a cozy home for domestic — let’s be frank: white — extremists in the United States, whose views and hopes are often no less heinous and gory than those of the Islamic State.

In Facebook’s post, ISIS and Al Qaeda are mentioned by name 11 times, while the word “domestic” doesn’t appear once, nor are U.S.-based terror networks referenced in any other way. That gap in the company’s counterextremism policy is curious.

In January 2016, a band of armed militants led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy entered and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. Members of the group, with ties to armed, extremist “patriot” groups like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, said they wanted to shift federal land to local control, and at one point Ryan Bundy told a reporter the group was willing to kill or die if necessary. It would take little work to draw a clear through line from the movement that spawned Timothy McVeigh to the loose confederation around the Bundy family. One of the radicals posted a “goodbye” video to YouTube, taking as a given that he would be slain by the government during the occupation. Between their assault rifles and their implicitly violent rhetoric, opinion pieces at Newsweek, the Washington Post, and CNN all argued that the occupiers were domestic terrorists.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy had earned extremist cachet prior to the Oregon takeover, when, in 2014, they joined with supporters (many of them armed) and their father, Cliven Bundy, to chase off agents of the Bureau of Land Management who were trying to confiscate Cliven Bundy’s cattle in connection with delinquent grazing fees. Sen. Harry Reid at the time denounced the ideologues as “nothing more than domestic terrorists” who do “not recognize the United States.”

And indeed, many in the “Patriot Movement” also consider themselves “sovereign citizens,” a logically bankrupt (and sometimes violent) strain of anti-government anger in which you simply declare yourself exempt from American laws and, in particular, the payment of taxes. At MSNBC, a former ATF agent described his work with homegrown extremists like those at Malheur:
Quote:We worked them under the classification of domestic terrorism. There is the umbrella federal crime of terrorism, and domestic terrorism is a classification we used against any homegrown group which intends to coerce or intimidate through threats or acts of violence.
It’s worth noting that Ammon Bundy and five of his followers were, surprisingly, acquitted of federal charges stemming from their occupation of the reserve, while federal charges in connection with the Nevada case remain tied up in court following a mistrial. Still, had the group’s members been born in Pakistan or Syria, Harney County would probably resemble the surface of the moon right now. American radicals like the Bundy clan are cuter about their fantasies of destroying the federal government than, say, ISIS, who of course won’t hesitate to explicitly call for violent attacks using every medium at their disposal. Domestic extremists are sometimes more careful about their words and rely on insinuations and dog whistles rather than overt threats, and American gun culture makes it easy to camouflage violent speech within political speech. But what is an online call for armed reinforcements and a willingness to shed blood (or die) if confronted by police if not a threat?

More at The Intercept

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07-09-2017, 03:53 PM
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RE: Facebook’s Tough-on-Terror Talk Overlooks White Extremists

White extremists are always overlooked. The Klan and the Nazi Party should be designated terrorist groups. The IRA shouldn't be considered one, but it is, and the Klan and Neo-Nazi organizations are perfectly legal. I just don't get it.
07-09-2017, 03:57 PM
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RE: Facebook’s Tough-on-Terror Talk Overlooks White Extremists

(07-09-2017, 03:57 PM)agentmulder Wrote: White extremists are always overlooked. The Klan and the Nazi Party should be designated terrorist groups. The IRA shouldn't be considered one, but it is, and the Klan and Neo-Nazi organizations are perfectly legal. I just don't get it.

I think the IRA is seen as a terrorist group because they rely on guerilla warfare. That's really the only way a nation like Britain can be fought.
07-21-2017, 04:42 PM
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