Facebook To Start Handing User Info To French Government So It Can Start Punishing People For Being Stupid

from the terrorism-equations-DRINK! dept

In a move that's indicative of the tech companies' newfound willingness to roll over for overseas governments, Facebook will be handing user data to the French government to help it chase down people who've posted illegal words.

In a world first, Facebook has agreed to hand over the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform to judges, France’s minister for digital affairs Cedric O said on Tuesday.

France has criminalized hate speech, building on legislation that worked out oh so well in Germany. Facebook has already allowed French government censors to embed with the company's moderation teams. Facebook.gov is no one's idea of a better world, but there was always a chance French regulators might actually learn something from the experience: namely, that moderating content at scale isn't easy and tends to cause collateral damage if performed the way multiple governments would prefer.

It appears little has been learned. Mark Zuckerberg's recent meeting with France's president may have little to with this, but Facebook has been historically cooperative with other demands from the French government. However, previous cooperation generally concerned terrorism investigations, not people engaging in criminalized ignorance.

The French government naturally seems pleased with Facebook's decision to deliver hateful users into the hands of authorities.

“This is huge news, it means that the judicial process will be able to run normally,” O told Reuters in an interview. “It’s really very important, they’re only doing it for France.”

By "normally," O means "efficiently." Government efficiency is the enemy of rights and civil liberties. US companies are doing no favor for users around the world by speeding up dubious prosecutions of questionable laws. While it's natural to curry favor with the only entities powerful enough to make Facebook pay attention. It's not just about user bases. It's about locking smaller competitors into restrictive compliance regimes that they may not be able to handle.

But this isn't the only stupid thing going on here. Supporters of Facebook's generous kowtowing are letting dumb fall right out of their mouths and onto the pages of Reuters.

“It is a strong signal in terms of regulation,” said Sonia Cisse, a counsel at law firm Linklaters, adding that it was a world first. “Hate speech is no longer considered part of freedom of speech, it’s now on the same level as terrorism.”

What the actual fuck. Ignorant people saying ignorant things is not even close to equivalent of violent acts that kill and maim people just because they don't agree with the terrorists or, worse, just because they're there. While I understand that France's protections for speech are not on par with the First Amendment, equating hate speech with terrorism is stupid and will end up costing stupid people their freedom, even if they've done nothing more than let everyone else know how stupid they are.

Filed Under: france, free speech, hate speech, privacy, surveillance
Companies: facebook


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  • identicon
    Glen, 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:05am

    There's going down a slippery slope and there's going over a waterfall. This may be the later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:16pm

      Re:

      It should not be illegal to hate. If you act on your hate and commit violence, then that should be where the line is drawn. I hate it that they are going down that road.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 1:04pm

      Re:

      This will be good for the construction industry in France.. And/or the gillotine manufacturing industry.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 1:08pm

        Re: Re:

        And they owe it all to facebook. Being its the internet, maybe French government will start going after anyone with French ancestry.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:15am

    They should be very afraid, if they start punishing being stupid the government will collapse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:20am

    Yeah, Because it worked so well in Germany (Sarcasm).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:21am

    What's the problem?

    As long as they're following the law, they're a private company and can do what they want, right?

    Besides, I'm sure this will only affect Bad People™️ (the ones you don't mind being deplatformed)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:47am

      Re: What's the problem?

      I dont think anyone working for TD ever implied that people shouldn't mock or criticis companies for terrible decisions.

      I know it may be hard to understand, but saying someone should have a right, and then criticising them for using that right in a terrible fashion, its not contradictory.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:22pm

      Re: What's the problem?

      There really isn't anything wrong with a company complying with the law of a nation it does business in provided they don't also violate the laws of others. For example, giving the French asshats data on French citizens in accordance with their laws seems perfectly reasonable. But if the French asshats start demanding data on, for example, US citizens then we have a problem.

      The danger is that this is exactly where this kind of policy change will head, i.e. the "slippery slope".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:46pm

      Re: It’s like a chicken/egg thing but with morons and idiots

      If you weren’t so astoundingly stupid you might have realised the the difference between the two and not made an utter fool of yourself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:36am

      Re: What's the problem?

      "As long as they're following the law, they're a private company and can do what they want, right?"

      Yes, just as we can say they're making the wrong decision, and use competitors if we disagree with their choices.

      Did you think that was clever, or are you just too dumb to realise this isn't a change in stance for anybody?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:21am

    Once again we see that terms like "hate speech" and "hate crime" are best understood by prepending "I" or "we." France is trying to reduce speech that France hates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      Not sure I understand your comment. What's wrong with hating crime?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re:

        The part you're missing it that the more people talk about how horrible "hate" is, the more strongly they tend to demonstrate that their own actions towards their intended targets are motivated by hatred.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ... As opposed to what? What crimes do you think people get thrown into prison for, under the hopes that they'll receive hugs and puppies there?

          Except for a very few places where rehabilitation has been adopted as a primary purpose of the criminal justice system, hatred of people who commit crimes is baked right in to every law.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So hate is a crime, but hate speech against things precieved to be hate is not?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Is it "hate speech" to say that neo-nazis are assholes?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Eh, I'm under the impression that much of what neo-nazis say is "I'm an asshole, I'm an asshole". So

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So hate is a crime

              Where are you getting that from?

              but hate speech against things precieved to be hate is not?

              Using the French definition, in order to be hate speech, it needs to be directed at someone because of: "an ethnicity, a nation, a race, a religion, a sex, a sexual orientation, or a gender identity or because they have a handicap."

              So, if we're using the French definition (since this article is about hate speech in France), then what "things perceived to be hate" would fall under any category that can have hate speech directed at it?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:08pm

        Re: Re:

        What he means is they are turning things they hate into a crime simply because they hate them. It's not "I hate crime," it's an "I hate (whatever)" crime.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 12:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But that makes no sense, in the context of "hate crime," which is generally an enhancement of a different crime, based on the motive for that crime. Administering a beating to someone is assault and battery, regardless of why you do it. If it's prosecuted as a hate crime, that's just the prosecutor saying, "Hey, we're punishing this action, which would have been a crime anyway, more harshly because of the underlying mental state required." And punishing a crime more harshly because of the underlying mental state required is nothing new; that's why first-degree murder is punished more harshly than second-degree murder.

          So, in terms of "hate crime," nothing new is being turned into a crime.

          Now, "hate speech" would be an entirely different argument, and if "hate crime" weren't in there, the meaning of the comment in question would be pretty clear. But, again, I don't get what's wrong with hating that a guy gets beaten up, or even especially hating that a person gets beaten up for no other reason than wearing a turban.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:27am

    France, despite its claims for "liberty equality fraternity", has a poor reputation at times when it comes to individual privacy from intrusive government. They were the ones who coerced TomTom to remove the photo radar locations from the map in the GPS units. They're the ones who weakened the GSM mobile telephone specification to use deliberately poor encryption. I trust them about as far as I can throw them et ça, ce n'est pas loin de tout!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 11:31am

    wait a second...

    According to the trolls here just yesterday you guys never ever ever criticize Facebook.

    Funny that they're suddenly missing today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 2:17pm

    This is going to be huge. When the world's dictators and wanna-bees realize Facebook is willing to rat out its users to their respective governments .... things might get a bit weird.

    Wow, I just realized that I am short on popcorn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    freedomfan (profile), 27 Jun 2019 @ 3:29pm

    Sad that anyone would be so naive

    they’re only doing it for France

    This for all the eye-rolling lolz.

    I wonder if Facebook ever even said they would only do this for France? That seems unlikely and, if true, seems likely to be true for a very short period of time. Why wouldn't every government want to go after dissidents who posted something critical on Facebook†? And, when other governments do, on what basis will Facebook deny them?

    † Aside from not acting like authoritarian scum, which doesn't seem to be something most governments try very hard to avoid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 3:43pm

    Stupidity as a right

    I stand firmly by my claim that I have the right to do whatever stupid thing that I want to do assuming I'll suffer the consequences!
    I believe that others should also have the right to be both dumb and stupid when they see fit.
    Stand up for your stupid!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2019 @ 3:49pm

    The more charitable interpretation..

    That final quote can be read another way.

    Any online content "belonging to the category of" -ism can now be treated as if the same as the local, specific and "legally defined definition of" words you aren't allowed to say.

    Mu concern with that is how it will treat the entire bathtub as not the baby.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Egad, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:23pm

    Is this satire written by Cory Doctorow?

    This article is easily mistaken for dystopian science fiction.

    I think I'll never vacation in France again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 2:51am

    Solution to all Facebook problems. Dont use Facebook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    alioglucatering (profile), 1 Jul 2019 @ 7:24am

    Catering

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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