Truth Wins Out upholds the U.S. First Amendment right of private individuals and organizations to express viewpoints that others may find offensive. This freedom does not extend to defamation, nor does it extend to the promotion and commission of illegal and violent activities against other people. Nor does this freedom require private institutions such as Facebook to violate their own principles and host content that violates their policies or that is contrary to their mission.
The following is an opinion written by Christina Engela and Cobus Fourie of South Africa Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, which has played a leading role in resisting the current evangelical campaign to exterminate sexually active LGBT and HIV-positive Ugandans.
There is an immensely troubling trend of tolerance towards violent hate speech and defamation creeping into the ethos of Facebook’s abuse department.
I have sent emails to the email@example.com address about the vile hate speech and defamation and violation of Facebook’ own policies regarding the following two platforms which promote genocide in Uganda. I have received no feedback at all in more than two weeks.
The problematic platforms are:
and there might be many more.
Cobus Fourie, Alice Connacher, and I (all South African human rights advocates) have reported the group and fan page as a whole and reported any post that would have been a violation of Facebook’ principles. The report function on the page and group was used in terms of reporting the page/group and hateful posts. None of them received any feedback at all. Alice Connacher even went as far as to report the laxness and perceived nonchalance to Facebook’ third party who does independent investigations regarding inaction (ISSE). Members who appallingly transgressed were unscathed although rational and clean counter-arguments were deleted by the admins making the platform a monologue of festering hate.
Another group of festering hate that was removed for about half a day after I sent numerous complaints to the abuse department is:
Yet the group is still there and the most morally reprehensible hate is being spread on that group.
We find it morally reprehensible and appalling that Facebook “allows” such content and does nothing about complaints. This gave rise to the notion that there must be tacit support from the apparatchiks.
The following email was sent to our organisation’ mailing list:
Uganda is on the verge of a state-sponsored genocide on GLBTI people – and Facebook allows such a group to exist?
Just read it to see all the hate and blatant stupidity in the statements they make. Reading these hateful comments, I have to wonder if these are really people? Are they? Do they have hearts and minds to think and feel with? And they thank God for this law? The same God that made us as equals?
Do they deserve any better treatment than they suggest for us? Decide for yourselves…
“going against God’s laws is sinful, against man’s is criminal. Against nature i dnt even have a term for that.
“Gays shouldnt be treated as normal coz they aint. & no one is born gay its a learnt mannerism.”
“Homosexuality should not be allowed publicly in our society. I saw the Norwegian Ambassador trying to justify it using the human rights line but sorry, it won’t work here. Lets fight it and all evil guys!”
“Lets not give them a chance cos if we do so homosexuality will spread like wildfire.”
“where have u heard of pple counselling pervets and lunatics in this world. They are just gross and dnt deserve to be counselled but isolated and hanged, end of the story.”
“AM all for this cause, guys we cant keep letting This vice dehumanize the sanctity of God almighty’s Original Plan!!! ……………AND FOR THE 100000000000000th time, …….God created ADAM & EVE, NOT Adam AND STEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(No Offense to all real Steves out there, you guys are straight)”
“The law is law is long over dew”
“last night a watched a program with a transsexual selling ”her” property and donating money …… he was all changed and dressed like a woman; all made up and i just imagine lots of stuff!!! I imagine whether those guys have the word ‘God’ in their vocabulary!!!! They shouldn’t be arrested either becoz i think that would promote the practice.”
“thoz chaps are idiots i mean even a goat can tell wats female or male…but such humans cant…freaks…they should burnt alive”
“Chaps should be castrated, we don’t want / need them.”
“its long over due. Let them be hanged for sure”
“I have no nice words for them(homos)……….i just hate them with a passion. i wish they could be rounded up and thrown in luzira for life, the better i think.”
“Those dirty perverts deserve no second chance, i completely want them totally banned,. How do those skanks think they came into being human, do they understand the virtues of pro and co-creation…burn dem ciciman…”
“am going to help capturing people! the homos…….”
“I think that is agood idea….it should be considered.”
“the minimum for such idiots cud be life in prison and the most be hanged to death!Thats why Obama disgraces me siding with gays.”
“These are the best words ever spoken about gays. I even fear to say the word. It should be totally abolished in Uganda because God wont even forgive us for one minute if we dare go for its legalisation.
Why were gays born and how they think? Do they ever think of their childhood? Jesus for Christ sake are they people with a think ability?”
“its abt time they kem out wit laws against this practice coz its takin us behind! we cant hav these guys runnin round jus like dat!”
“Those suckers need death penalty”
“tis abt tym”
“Actually we need our own “Guatanamo Bay” once we arrest any of such….perverts!!!”
I also joined this disgusting group to voice my opposition to it and all it stands for. I ask that you do the same.
Below are my comments which I made a few minutes ago:
“Reading these hateful comments, I have to wonder if these are really people? Are they? Do you have hearts and minds to think and feel with? And you have the arrogance to thank God for this law? The same God that made us as equals? Do you deserve any better treatment than you suggest for us? And you call yourselves “Christians”? Death, death, death… isn’t there enough death already? Must blood always run free to satisfy the cravings of the wicked? It is hate that must stop. The obvious ignorance and stupidity evident in the things you say about gay people is sickening.
You trying to imply that such a hateful un-Christian law is “walking in the victory CHRIST gives you”? You think these acts of blatant evil are justified by your flagrant use of the name of Christ? Homosexuality is not a power, it is people. It is not a sin, it is nature. Looking at the state of your country, Uganda – sin has claimed your country and has full dominion over you – and you are so blinded by your hatred you do not even see it. And you insult Christ and God by draping their names all over it.
You sicken me.
Since you nice folks are so keen on quoting the bible (another “useless western disease”) perhaps you should learn what it is you are quoting – read this and get an education.
Please speak out and show these people that the rest of the world does not think like they do. Please show them that we will not be silent or let them have their way.
Action required and expected from Facebook:
- All reports of abuse should be tended to
- All emails to the abuse department should be acknowledged and responded to
- All hate groups and defamatory comments should be immediate deleted
- The abuse department should be cognisant of its own abuse policies
- Independent intervention should lead to actual restitution and redress
- Repeat offenders must be banned for life (par examples Admins)
The following is a sample response received from an apparent Facebook contractor in response to abuse complaints:
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 2009 13:14:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: ISSE Comment Cataloged
Thank you for submitting your comment.
This email serves as your receipt.
Below is the information we have cataloged of your comment to the ISSE:
Control ID: FBISSE-5452 Date: 2009-11-09 Time: 13:14:55
ISSE Message Digest: f166a6fb7db681939acdbce0a24cca1c
Recorded From: Alice Connacher
Message: I and many others reported the hate group We are ugandans and we do not support gays. This is a site that advocates the support of the death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda. There also individual forms of hate speech which have been reported. This was over the span of 4-5 days, if not longer. There has been no response or communication from facebook.
Comment Received From:
IP: 126.96.36.199 HOST: nc7-rba-vif0-1.cache.isnet.net Port: 3368
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Christina Engela is the president of Eastern Cape Gay and Lesbian Association. She and Cobus Fourie are executive founding board members of South Africa Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.