The Washington Post gleefully pounces on the weasels.
Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded #JeSuisCharlie statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey â€” including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Itâ€™s an illustration, perhaps, of how extremely complicated and nuanced issues of online speech really are. Itâ€™s also conclusive proof of what many tech critics said of Zuckerbergâ€™s free-speech declaration at the time: Sweeping promises are all well and good, but Facebookâ€™s record doesnâ€™t entirely back it up.
Just this December, Facebook agreed to censor the page of Russiaâ€™s leading Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, at the request of Russian Internet regulators. (It is a sign, the Postâ€™s Michael Birnbaum wrote from Moscow, of â€œnew limits on Facebookâ€™s ability to serve as a platform for political opposition movements.â€) Critics have previously accused the site of taking down pages tied to dissidents in Syria and China; the International Campaign for Tibet is currently circulating a petition against alleged Facebook censorship, which has been signed more than 20,000 times.
While Facebook doesnâ€™t technically operate in China, it has made several recent overtures to Chinese politicians and Internet regulators â€” overtures that signal, if tacitly, an interest in bringing a (highly censored) Facebook to Chinaâ€™s 648 million Internet-users.
Hat tip to Jose Guardia.