It’s okay to threaten people with violence and death on Facebook, so long as your target is a “dangerous individual” such as Paul Joseph Watson or Laura Loomer, according to the social network’s increasingly Orwellian set of rules.
The tech giant’s recently-updated policy on “violence and incitement” states that death threats and incitement to violence are banned across the platform, unless your threat is aimed someone the social network has labeled an acceptable target.
Here’s Facebook’s rule in full (emphasis ours):
Do not post:
Threats that could lead to death (and other forms of high-severity violence) of any target(s), where threat is defined as any of the following:
- Statements of intent to commit high-severity violence
- Calls for high-severity violence (unless the target is an organisation or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organisations Policy)
- Including content where no target is specified but a symbol represents the target and/or includes a visual of an armament to represent violence
- Statements advocating for high-severity violence (unless the target is an organisation or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organisations Policy)
- Aspirational or conditional statements to commit high-severity violence (unless the target is an organisation or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organisations Policy)
Who counts as a “dangerous individual,” according to Facebook? The list includes InfoWars host Alex Jones, populist pundit Paul Joseph Watson, conservative activist Laura Loomer, Louis Farrakhan, and Milo Yiannopoulos.
Facebook also maintains a list of high-profile political figures who it monitors for potential designation as “hate agents.” The list includes black conservative star Candace Owens, author and think tank founder Brigitte Gabriel, and British politicians Carl Benjamin and Anne-Marie Waters. They have not been designated as “dangerous individuals” yet — but everyone has been designated as such was once on the “hate agents” review list.
Threats of violence and death are illegal in most western countries, including the countries where the “dangerous individuals” on Facebook’s list are based. By sanctioning violent threats against certain people based on their political viewpoints and public statements, Facebook has crossed a line that even Twitter and Google has yet to cross.
Breitbart News has reached out to Facebook for comment.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.