We’ve all encountered it: the Facebook post that spews hate.
Next time, report it. And tell your friends you have reported it. Some of them will do so, too, and some of their friends, and — despite its initial refusal to act — Facebook just might take action. Some friends and I just succeeded in helping get a photo pulled that was hate speech directed at Muslims.
The photo must violate Facebook community standards. These are the two most applicable to hate speech:
[W]e do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.
Violence and Threats
You may not credibly threaten others, or organize acts of real-world violence…We also prohibit promoting, planning or celebrating any of your actions if they have, or could, result in financial harm to others, including theft and vandalism.
Here’s a step-by-step on how to report a Facebook photo for violating the community standard on hate speech:
1. Find the Report Photo link.
2. Select the third option when asked to Why don’t you want to see this photo?
3. Again select the third option for What’s wrong with this photo?
4. Submit for review.
5. Your confirmation.
Facebook keeps track of your flagged posts in your Support Dashboard: facebook.com/support/
Don’t be surprised if they take no action:
But sometimes they do:
Silence versus action
Granted, reporting a photo or post for hate speech is not as easy as clicking the Like button.
Nevertheless, it is pretty straightforward (if someone has already told you the path to getting Facebook’s attention).
Why should we act, rather that remain silent?
For an answer, I’ll turn to the words of philosophers long dead:
When a person has the ability to protest and remains silent, his silence is similar to verbal consent. When you do not say something to disagree, it is as if you agree with what was said or done.
~ The medieval commentator Sforno
Qui tacet consentire videtur.
Qui ne dit mot consent.
(He who is silent is understood to consent.)
Finally, in this clash between Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) and Henry VIII (Robert Shaw), More says (A Man For All Seasons, 1966, Academy Award for best picture):
The maxim is ‘Qui tacet consentire’; the maxim of the law is ‘Silence gives consent’. If, therefore, you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied.