from the pots,-kettles,-and-more-pots dept
Like so many of his international mega-nation contemporaries, free speech is kind of Putin's thing.
So without the slightest whiff of hypocrisy it should be unsurprising for many people to learn that Putin and friends think Facebook's a little heavy handed on the free speech front. Putin aide Igor Shchegolev is urging Russians to abandon Facebook after the social media website deleted a number of posts containing the word "khokhol" -- which in certain context can be used insultingly to suggest Ukranians are backward peasants. This is, says an administration that thinks assassination an acceptable conversation and debate tactic, wholly unacceptable:
"Senior officials are urging their countrymen to abandon Facebook in favor of domestic social media, saying that the latter offer greater freedom of speech, after Mark Zuckerberg’s firm deleted a string of posts containing a slang Russian term for Ukrainians...The news agency ITAR-TASS reported Igor Shchegolev, an aide to President Vladimir Putin as saying that switching to rivals like Vkontakte would help users avoid having their content blocked."Russia's relationship with Facebook was already strained after the website temporarily suspended the accounts of Kremlin media watchdog Maxim Ksenzov, and pro-Putin writer Eduard Bagirov. Of course that's not to say Facebook isn't equally awful when it comes to free speech. While Facebook says it deletes the word because it can be used as an ethnic slang, "Khokhol" can also be used to describe a specific haircut and isn't always used as an insult. According to the Russian Times, Russians have been having a very good time highlighting the stupidity of Facebook's inconsistent policies:
"Intrigued by the phenomenon, Russian journalists and bloggers began to experiment with testing Facebook's limits, deliberately using the word khokhly in their posts. Last week Facebook issued a one-week block of journalist Maxim Kononenko's page for posting a poem by Alexander Pushkin, a man widely considered to be Russia's greatest poet, containing the word khokhly."Meanwhile, Russian Facebook equivalent Vkontakte was quick to welcome annoyed users into the fold:
"We're ready to accept all the blocked Facebook users. Welcome! Again :)"
Готовы принять всех заблокированных на Фейсбуке пользователей — добро пожаловать! Снова :)— George Lobushkin (@lobushkin) July 7, 2015
Perhaps Putin's government and Facebook can somehow make up and join forces to create a global super-storm of censorship and incompetence? Imagine the possibilities of somehow combining Facebook's love of overly-curated and blandly-unoffensive walled gardens, with Putin's utterly brutal love of censorship and murder. Surely there's an amazing new business model buried somewhere therein.