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Censorship Social Networks

Pakistan Lifts Ban After Facebook Deletes Offending Page 677

Posted by StoneLion
from the never-again-until-the-next-time dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Facebook is back in Pakistan today. A day after Bangladesh banned the social networking site, the Pakistani government lifted its ban after officials from Facebook apologized for the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' page and removed it from the site. The page caused outrage and protests among Pakistan's Muslim population, and led to the ban two weeks ago. A spokesman for Pakistan's office of information technology said Facebook assured the government 'nothing of this sort will happen in the future.'"
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Pakistan Lifts Ban After Facebook Deletes Offending Page

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  • Re:Face palm (Score:4, Informative)

    by PilogBue (1416999) on Monday May 31, 2010 @10:46AM (#32406954)
    There were a lot of submissions, and Muhammad had taken an unimaginable amount of forms. Although, quite a few took the oppurtunity to show their hatred towards muslims in general (nukes at the Kaba etc.), which made the impact of the images sort of embarrasing after a while. Another trend also occured, namely death threats. They seemed to flourish, judging by the amount of print screens that were posted. I think they actually ended up making a seperate death threat gallery. In my oppionion that just makes this caving even worse. Yet another victory for the unevolved.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, 2010 @10:48AM (#32406978)

    fuck those over sensitive whiny fuck-ups. Its ok to gang-rape the daughter of another tribe because the tribe owes you a debt, but its not ok to draw a political picture.

    hey pakistan:

    1. Get a fucking education you illiterate fucks

    2. Stop the 200 generation cycle of incest (arranged marriages with your first cousins you sick fucks)

    EVERYONE should protest and put ridiculous drawings of Mohammad taking it in the ass by a camel

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday May 31, 2010 @10:50AM (#32407000) Homepage
    Not even something like this? [facebook.com] and that's just with a 10 second search.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday May 31, 2010 @10:53AM (#32407026) Homepage Journal

    So as soon as the furor has died down, and the controversy is no longer driving as much traffic to Facebook as Pakistan's ban reduced it, Facebook decides to "do the right thing". The right thing, that is, to make the numbers.

    Yes, Facebook sure has done all they can to eliminate the group. [facebook.com]

    I rather enjoyed deluding myself that Facebook was standing up for free expression, denouncing idiotic religious extremism, etc., but I now realize the folly of that thinking.

    That was pretty silly given that Facebook's founder thinks his users are idiots.

    Thank you, Facebook, for restoring my faith in the utterly amoral nature of American business.

    Maybe Zuckerberg thinks it's holy to make money.

  • by chill (34294) on Monday May 31, 2010 @10:55AM (#32407042) Journal

    In the U.S. the laws of Man far outrank the laws of Religion. The U.S. Constitution, Article VI states:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwith-standing.

    In simple terms, this means in the U.S. the Constitution outranks the Bible, Koran, Vedas, Egyptian Book of the Dead and any other religious law or rule. And, in the U.S., Freedom of Speech includes the right to offend and blasphemy. It may be rude, but it is there to prevent the slippery slope of censorship, lesse majesty and, essentially, newspeek. Being occasionally offended is a small price to pay to not having to worry about being thrown in jail for calling the President/King/Mullah an dick, and the government a corrupt bunch of money-grubbing assholes.

  • by siride (974284) on Monday May 31, 2010 @11:08AM (#32407180)
    Facebook is a company, not the government. So whatever the constitution says about free speech is irrelevant.
  • by canajin56 (660655) on Monday May 31, 2010 @11:10AM (#32407204)
    Well, except on May 24th the creators of the "Everybody Draw Mohammad" page deleted it themselves. Note that although the Slashdot summary says Facebook deleted it, the actual article only quotes FB as saying "The page has been removed" without ever declaring that they did so themselves. The stated reason is it became a 24/7 job to delete the endless flood of people calling for genocide against the muslims, and people posting gay porn of Obama and Muhammad (roughly 90% of the image submissions), or posting Muslims being disemboweled by assorted Aryan Americans. (I'm sure they were also tired of doing the converse). Naturally, pulling the page caused those same people to turn their hatred on the creators, calling them secret Muslim terrorists, and expressing murderous outrage that they ever dared to censor in the first place.
  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Monday May 31, 2010 @11:21AM (#32407348) Homepage

    Oops, I didn't get the whole link copied.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Everyone-Draw-Mohammed-day-May-20/112498195453416?ref=search&sid=rZX7KTtpVe7NtecVn9xYWQ.1122781147..1 [facebook.com]

    Now you can click the functional link and see the page (instead of going to Facebook and searching "Everyone Draw" and have it pop up as first result.)

    I'd never been to the group page before today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, 2010 @11:25AM (#32407380)

    FaceBook is making the right call in getting rid of this community. (I say this from the perspective of someone who oversaw LiveJournal's abuse department for several years, btw.)

    It's not something widely known, but LJ had to make similar, albeit less public, decisions as well. Around 2002, we had someone in the Australian government contact us about a journal which was written from the perspective of a member of the Indigenous Australian community, which was, quite frankly, racist and offensive... two things that pretty much made it an open-and-shut violation, by the wording of our TOS.

    The tricky issue in this particular case is that we have content which is, frankly, in many cases little more than crude, offensive, racist stereotypes of Arabs / followers of Islam. But at the same time, there's the free speech aspect as well... the idea that Muhammad should be able to be mocked.

    So what trumps what, really?

    Would it be wrong to accept a "Poke fun at Judaism Day", if it included crude depictions with large, crooked noses, or of Jewish people as rats?

    If you support "Draw Muhammad Day", then you should clearly be willing to support large, organized -- and oftentimes racist -- depictions of the sort... even if it means that the site might cause millions of users in Europe to be blocked from accessing the site, as their governments have strictly enforced policies regarding content that is considered Antisemitic. There's also the potential for costs / legal liabilities for the hosting site at well.

    Hey... did I mention the hosting site? Why yes I did. What about *their* rights to operate their business in a manner that both protects both their users, their policies, and their pocketbook? To what extent are they responsible for protecting other people's free speech / letting people post anything they want?

    Short answer: It's a judgment call. Really, it is.

    One basic fact: Virtually every TOS out there has wording in it that is designed to let companies do whatever they feel is in the best interest of both their customers and of themselves.

    Even in LJ's earliest days, there were several things that we were forced to take down from the site, not because it was that far out of the ordinary, but because the liability issues were pretty extreme, and we were literally running our business hand-to-mouth. We even had a few issues where we were in a kind of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario, and where we consulted with people over at the EFF about our options, because we simply weren't in the position to fight those kind of battles.

    I'm not saying that any site should capitulate on free speech. However, it is wise to at least consider whether this is a free speech battle worth fighting for.

    In my opinion, no... it absolutely was not.

    The facts:

    1> The "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" FB page was actually rejected by the cartoonist who had the original idea for such a day.

    2> The site was meant as a response to a "death threat" that apparently didn't exist, and was incredibly nebulous in the first place. (http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/04/south-park-controversy )

    3> It was removed only after the country of Pakistan -- 166 million people! -- lost their FaceBook privs.

    4> The "freedoms" being fought for here included lots of stereotypical, racist cartoons... not to mention ones which were sometimes sexually graphic or offensive, on what is essentially an "all ages" site.

    Really, the site opened the floodgates. Support it, and it gets kind of hard to argue against hosting many other types of content that would be viewed as universally objectionable and hateful.

    Given all the decisions that sites have to make as far as how to handle certain types of content, I can only say that this particular incident absolutely pales in comparison to, say, hosting video of someone like Neda getting shot down in the streets of Iran, even though death videos clearly are graphic and disturbing.

    Sometimes, you just hav

  • by mccarrot2 (1366095) on Monday May 31, 2010 @11:30AM (#32407428)
    I was a member of the group, and I hadn't looked at it a week or so. Last I saw though, the admins were saying they were going to voluntarily take the site down because they had made their point and that it was too time consuming to keep up with cleaning up the posts/links/porn people were posting to the page. Some folks offered to take over admin so that the page wouldn't be destroyed. I never checked back to see what happened.

    Personally, I'd like to see the apology to Pakistan from facebook, because it sounds a little too good to be true.

    P.S. The first time the page was removed was May 20th, 2010. Here's the wall quotes from a group admin from May 22th, 2010:
    "This page was removed two days ago, after one of our moderators had his email and skype hacked. His personal data was revealed. He then got scared and deleted the page, the blog and the emails. The rest of us, are now back without him after he backed out. This is another scare tactic from the Islamic extremists. We won't fall. Pictures you were unable to post on the 20th? Check the forums for interviews." "A great big thank you to the facebook-gang for restoring the page. A great big thank you to all freedom lovers out there. Now we have new persons to handle the media and we will soon release some info about the past few days. And to all of you: One can never beat freedom of speech, opinion and idividuality, because they are all basic human rights."
  • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday May 31, 2010 @11:47AM (#32407626) Homepage

    Defending the speech you agree with isn't defending free speech. Defending free speech is defending the others' right to say stuff you do disagree with and even find hateful/offensive.

  • Re:pathetic (Score:4, Informative)

    by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Monday May 31, 2010 @11:50AM (#32407662)
    No, he's saying you would be an intelligent, well educated individual if you didn't make broad generalizations like "they" want to take away your freedoms.
  • Re:pathetic (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:04PM (#32407780)

    "If you've got a really good reason to draw a picture of the prophet, other than something along the lines of "I have a misguided idea of what free speech means, and I want to be offensive for a laugh" then I'd love to hear it. "

    Like: "I want to show support for those who receive death threats over trivial matters"? Free speech also means that you have to live with something you don't like. Deal with it.

  • Re:pathetic (Score:5, Informative)

    by gsslay (807818) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:08PM (#32407816)

    I'd be more in favour of the US Government blocking those who do not understand what their right to free speech is, so that we are not bothered with the thoughts of those who haven't a clue.

    Right to free speech in the United States is as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This says that the government cannot limit freedom of expression. Facebook is not the government. Facebook can decide what it will permit people to say on its website and what it will not. The right to free speech does not extend to obliging others to promote your opinions. There is no free speech violation here.

  • by jmichaelg (148257) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:43PM (#32408180) Journal

    Do you have a reference that FB had no role in yanking the page? This article [huffingtonpost.com] says:

    Pakistan lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, a top information technology official said.

    Further in, it continues:

    Facebook assured the Pakistani government that "nothing of this sort will happen in the future," Malik said.
    Officials from the website could not immediately be reached for comment. They said earlier the contents of the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" page did not violate Facebook's terms.

    Maybe Malik got his facts wrong or he's outright lying but given FB's recent mendacity about what is and isn't private, it's hard to know who is telling the truth.

  • Re:I'm a Muslim... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Iftekhar25 (802052) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:45PM (#32408202) Homepage

    I agree with you on that but it's during these times that Muslims least want to be identified as such. Muslims watch the same news you do and we have a pretty good idea what's going through the average person's mind. And it's not your fault either, that's the admission: if I was not a Muslim I'd be pretty mad at Muslims too (in fact even as a Muslim I'm fairly annoyed).

    And so the moderates are kind of, I feel from personal experience, in limbo. Now is the worst possible time I can imagine to have to admit being even remotely associated with people I deeply disagree with and, in fact, have very little in common with.

    It's really a weird spot to be in. They're a half a world away, I disagree with them (and honestly kind of dislike them), but somehow I need to dissociate myself from them.

    It's an unenviable position to be in for any reasonable person, Muslim or not. All reasonable dialogue is drowned out by shouts of exclusion from both sides. The best time to talk is usually after the full-throated yelling has ended, and is best demonstrated by actions rather than words.

    These things really set back that long term, grassroots dialogue back. Depressing.

  • Re:pathetic (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:46PM (#32408218)
    Youre right that its offensive, and youre right that we arent really loosing rights... but NOT for the reason you gave. We havent lost a right because Facebook is a private enterprise and we are free to not use it if this offends us. You seem to be implying that, for example, it would be OK to have a law mandating the death penalty for being offensive; I disagree.

    Im not sure you are aware of this, but burning a US flag is protected speech. If you were lynched in your example, there would be a murder investigation; it is certainly NOT ok to lynch people for what you described.
  • Re:pathetic (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:46PM (#32408226)

    I can't give an intelligent reply to someone who does not know how to properly draw an ascii dick.

  • by Cl1mh4224rd (265427) on Monday May 31, 2010 @01:04PM (#32408360)

    Either you are alluding to the idea that companies are more powerful than the government (which is true in some cases, though I doubt facebook's) - or you are trying to say that somehow this US Based corporation doesn't have to obey US Laws.

    Hey, I wonder if they managed to evade Taxation with that ruling.

    Umm... "Free Speech" is not a law governing the citizens of the United States, or any other entity within. It applies only to the government itself.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday May 31, 2010 @01:52PM (#32408744) Journal

    Asking for some respect doesn't make you radical.

    Saying "Respect us or we'll kill you!" makes you radical. And the "moderate" Muslims so rarely have anything to say about it. Moderate Christians aren't quite as bad.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday May 31, 2010 @02:01PM (#32408836) Journal

    Maybe I'm sheltered, and I'm sure they exist, but the most moderate, reasonable Muslims I've talked to have tried (peacefully) to convince me that Sharia is a good thing, and should take over the world.

  • Re:pathetic (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday May 31, 2010 @05:15PM (#32410950)

    "This Broccoli taste like shit... but not all broccoli is bad..."

    Uh no. You wrote:

    Muslims will NEVER give us an inch, so we we give up our freedom? What a shit deal.

    Clearly you understand that the word 'this' changes the reference from the set of all broccoli to the specific broccoli on your plate.

    Arent we smart enough to know that there are no absolutes?

    You appear to be, but you also made a clear word choice that indicated that an absolute was precisely what you were talking about. Furthermore, you did it twice - first with, "I'm so tired of people bending over for Muslims and their way of life. " and then immediately again with the line quoted above.

    So you claim to be numerate but you make specific word choices indicating innumeracy.
    And then you get hyper-defensive when someone points out your math sucks ass.

    Who else do we know who gets hyper-defensive when their fallacies are challenged?

  • Re:Face palm (Score:4, Informative)

    by Posting=!Working (197779) on Monday May 31, 2010 @07:48PM (#32412426)

    No, the US was demanding an unconditional surrender. The Japanese offered a conditional surrender. The US rejected that, and proceeded to use nuclear weapons against non-military people.

    You do not accept conditional surrenders from someone who has repeatedly attacked you without provocation. Should we have accepted a conditional surrender from Hitler when we got to the German border? Left him or the Nazis in power? Let the holocaust continue? Let him continue to develop the V2? Why should Hirohito and the Big 6 be left in power in Japan?

    The US, Great Britain, and the Soviets all agreed to accept nothing but unconditional surrender. Accepting a conditional surrender was not an option for the US, and at the time very few citizens of the US would have accepted a conditional surrender from Japan. The Japanese were only starting talks with the Soviets about a conditional surrender, which the Soviets rejected and built up forces on the Manchuko border. There was no conditional surrender on the table when the bomb was dropped, they had been warned at Potsdam on July 26th by the 3 powers to unconditionally surrender or face prompt and utter destruction. Even after the second bomb was dropped, it took the emperor another 5 days to formally declare surrender. None of this is consistent with the bullshit theory that the US rejected an offer to surrender when the bomb was dropped.

    Read the actual histories, not revisionist crap with cherry picked quotes, to get the actual information.

  • Re:pathetic (Score:3, Informative)

    by mog007 (677810) <[Mog007] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday May 31, 2010 @10:13PM (#32413572)

    Small quibble, but the Qu'ran isn't where the prohibition against drawings of Muhammad comes from. It's from other, non-Qu'ranic sources called the Hadith, I believe.

  • Re:Damn right! (Score:3, Informative)

    by lgw (121541) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:34PM (#32419978) Journal

    And BTW, calling it "celebratory" is, to say the least, a disingenuous attempt at stirring racial hatred. That's something I expect from right-wing radio entertainers, but no from a community that prides itself on it's capacity for reason. Nice.

    The builders themselves describe the building as a mosque and place for celebration under Sharia law.

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