Censor The Haters, Not Those Who Fight Hate!

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Article written by Resisting Hate member The Wanderer

Censorship is not limited to keeping something from being spoken. The definition also stretches to include writing and exposing the truth. The whole concept of censorship is becoming a big problem on Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook where those who seek to expose haters are censored more than the actual haters themselves.

Twitter, in particular, is becoming notorious for censorship. Lately Twitter has been found suspending accounts who are exposing Racism, Xenophobia and Islamophobia. But the accounts carrying out these sickening hateful tweets – Twitter refuses to suspend. Racism, direct threats of violence and Islamophobic tweets inciting hatred cause no harm as far as Twitter is concerned.

I myself have been a victim of this so called censorship. I had the misfortune to encounter Twitter user @SergeantFrisky (aka Jonaya) – a far right supporter, who supports Far Right hate preacher, Anne Waters (leader of far right ‘For Britain’ Party.) This user abused me, used foul and threatening language toward me and encouraged her Facebook followers to mass report me. Yet Twitter said no harm done!

Jonaya, is posting tweets that are clearly inciting hatred against Muslims. But it was my account that Twitter chose to suspend.

It was the fighter of hate not the hater who Twitter censored from their platform.

Jonaya has openly bragged about having my account suspended on her profile and I quote:

@SergeantFrisky: “I’m back. And last night, I got the person who claimed to have got me banned permanently suspended.”

Now, this is not true – not once have I claimed to have had her account banned permanently. I have reported other accounts, one being hater @BasedBritish which I reported and then shared when it was finally suspended. (Incidentally he has created several more accounts since which Twitter have neglected to take action against.)

I will not let an account suspension deter me from exposing the truth. I search the net and find these far right accounts on other social media platforms and I expose the people behind them. I have a good long list that I am currently working through and I am committed to bringing haters to justice.

The Far Right claim people like myself, are censoring them, but that is hypocritical. The censorship is happening to those of us brave enough to stand up against hate and to take action to fight it. No matter how often Twitter makes claims in the press about wanting to remove hate from its platform it is ironic that the accounts it does choose to suspend are those working their hardest toward this very aim.

US President Donald J. Trump, has made false claims on Twitter which incite racial hatred. Twitter has OPENLY said that they will not be deleting his tweets. This is a man who claims fake news is destroying America. Yet, he is openly spreading fake news himself. When groups like ours expose the truth we are told: “You have violated our rules. Your account is locked/ Your account is suspended.”

When I complain of censorship, this is the crap I’m talking about. One rule for one, another rule for the other.

Interestingly Jonaya wants a career in the law profession. It is surprising she should be so open with her Islamophobic and racist views, when she wants to pursue a career in the Law.

This paints a very dark picture of the kind Solicitor she’d be, a corrupt and dangerous one. One who will twist facts, create tissues of lies and censor others to get the results that she wants. She is a calculating liar, she knew exactly what she got banned for but she played the victim of censorship.

Yet while publicly moaning about being censored the hypocritical Jonaya was working to censor others by trying to get my account and the accounts of other Resisting Hate members banned. She has been trying to censor me ever since I first exposed the truth about her. I exposed her support for a Party Leader, who has links to far right violent movements across Europe, her links to a known hate preacher and her links to political hate group Britain First (led by a leader who is currently the subject of a criminal investigation and awaiting a three day trial.)

This is just one example of the far right are launching an attack on the right to oppose their hatred. They want us censored because we speak the truth. They want to spread their bile and prejudice unhindered by the likes of us who stand up for and defend persecuted individuals and communities.
Their version of truth is in poor taste, and only fools are dumb enough to believe it.

Censorship is a weapon of the far right. They hate truth even more than they hate Muslims and Jews. Yet when they post their hate Twitter continue to say no harm done. And when we report them and flag up their anti-Islam tweets – it is us who receive the punishment.

Years ago, Censorship was never a problem. We could express our views – within reason of course, – without fear of being hounded by a pack of rabid wild dogs. But now censorship has become a very dangerous weapon which needs to be addressed and fast. The Far Right are censoring the truth, which will lead to dangerous repercussions for minority groups and for those seeking to defend them.

If we do not act soon to ensure those fighting have an open platform to speak on, censorship will have done so much damage it will be too late to repair the damage the Far Right and their hate have caused.

 

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Anonymous Haters and Trolls on Social Media

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In a heated exchange with the leader of an online hate group several years ago I scorned his comment that “The wars of the future would be fought on social media.” But these days I am not so certain he wasn’t being uncharacteristically prophetic. Social media is proving to be a fertile ground for anonymous haters, trolls and abusers to spread their vitriol without fear of censure. Facebook and Twitter in particular attract a highly undesirable element who conduct themselves on the internet in a manner they would very likely not dare to in a face to face environment.

Broadly speaking, the people spreading hate on the internet fall into five distinct categories:

The Ignorant

The first group of problem social media accounts genuinely believe what they are saying. They are willing to involve themselves in discussion and make some attempt to offer evidence to back up their assertions. The trouble is that they are ignorant in the sense that they cannot discern genuine facts from fake news and bias.  They quote from secondary sources, blog sites and tabloid newspapers and frequently mistake opinion for fact.

The Easily Led

In this category I would place the people who have no particular convictions but who are responsible for sharing and liking a lot of the hate that becomes popular on social media. A prime example of the Easily Led would be the people who share click bait pictures and memes from Britain First and, thus unwittingly, give more oxygen to organised hate groups.

The Fame Hungry

For some individuals online hate is a method to propel them to notoriety. We have seen this with extremist characters like Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson who put out more and more extreme posts in an attempt to build a platform for their hate. Their overriding objective is personal fame. This can also be seen with a lot of accounts who use hate speech to gain followers and, therefore, popularity on social media platforms.

Prejudice Promotors

In the modern world of the internet – racists, homophobes, Islamophobes and Anti Semites no longer need to lurk in the dark shadows of their local pub sharing views with a handful of people. Social media is the perfect tool for this category to spread their genuine hate and prejudicial views.

This category absolutely believe in what they are saying and actively attempt to convert others to their way of thinking. Unlike the Ignorant these people are not being swayed by propaganda – this lot are the ones creating the propaganda.

Trolls

Trolls basically just like causing trouble. They will take the most contentious side of any online debate but have little interest in anything other than the reaction they will cause. They will throw insults, harass and target people in the hope of causing distress. They are usually pretty thick.

In order to combat the rising tide of hate on social media it is important that all these different categories of people are tackled. Each category needs to be approached with different tactics.

In the case of the Ignorant it is important to educate them. Link to quality news articles, statistics, and fact based media to encourage them to challenge their views.  It is also important to humanise the victims they are dehumanising. Share personal accounts from individuals in minority groups who have experienced hate and discrimination so the Ignorant can understand the very real impact their hate has on others.

Don’t get downhearted if they openly reject the information you provide. It is more important to get them thinking than it is to emerge the victor in a Twitter row.

Education is also the best tool against the Easily Led. Don’t be afraid to tell friends and family why you found that meme or picture that they shared offensive. In some cases they may genuinely not know that “Like and share if you think this puppy is cute” is actually a cynical marketing ploy for hate pages to acquire more likes and followers.

The best way to react to the Fame Hungry is not to respond at all. Any reaction will give them the result they want which is increased exposure for their views. Sharing their posts or retweeting them – even with a view to shaming them – will just enable their hate to be seen by more people. There are exceptions to this, Resisting Hate and other anti hate groups will sometimes share hate posts in the full knowledge that our followers will report the accounts where they breach social media Terms of Service. (Be careful however not to openly ask people to report as this can get your own account suspended. We usually just highlight the offensive post and then trust our followers to make their own judgement about reporting.)

Prejudice Promoters clearly need stopping. There are a great many places where the perpetrators of online hate can be reported. Reporting these accounts can help to limit the spread of their influence and will also deter them from making new accounts to spread their bile.  Not only can hate be reported to the social media platforms themselves but in cases where a post on social media is breaching the laws of the country it is often worth bringing it to the attention of law enforcement too.

Resisting Hate often contact the employers of radical haters with screenshots of the views they are promoting and this has tactic been very successful in establishing clear consequences for the publication of discrimination and prejudice using social media accounts.

Most social media platforms also have the function where problem accounts can be muted or blocked. Take full advantage of these tools. You have every right to engage online without being subject to abuse.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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