Social networks, the new tyrant publishers

Social networks, the new tyrant publishers

"Facebook has deleted today's Herschel/Kanye cartoon for "violating" their community standards. My account has been blocked for three days for being a bad boy and not following the rules"

The cartoon in question, syndicated in dozens of newspapers, was posted without any problems or complaints.

The image is even still circulating on Truth Social, Donald Trump's social network, and no one has tried to take it down.

American cartoonist Clay Jonesreported that he had been banned for 72 hours from Instagram and Facebook as well as Tik Tok.

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About the cartoon

The joke shows Herschell Walker, a Republican Senate candidate from Georgia, showing a sheriff's badge during a debate with Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, a badge that is "honorary" and to which he is "honorary" says which is "honorary" and next to him rapper Kanye West, "Ye", wearing a "White Live Matters" T-shirt(a T-shirt he wore), a Ku Kux Klan hoodie and in his hand a"Parler" sign, another ultra-right-wing Twitter clone that the rapper announced he is buying or has bought.

Herschell: "This is my honorary badge"

Kanye: "And this is my honorary hood."

Kanye West has been on a rampage for a few weeks now. Among other things, he was blocked on Twitter on 7 October for an anti-Semitic comment that was removed for violating the platform's rules. West said he was the victim of an attack by the US Jewish community. "You guys have been playing games with me and trying to exclude anyone who opposes your agenda" and threatened to move to "Death with 3 on Jewish people", a pun mixing the word "death" with the military's DEFCON defence alert level

West also saw his Instagram account restricted in early October for violating the app's policies after posting a screenshot of a chat conversation he had with Sean "Diddy" Combs in which he said he had received threats from Jewish people to silence him, which the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) say invokes "tropes like greed and control" over Jewish people."

The punishment: three days, a client and a reader

Clay Jones says he may have lost a long-time customer among these newspapers after receiving this cartoon and also a reader who made monthly payments to him. This could be a normal occurrence. Each company and/or individual is free and sovereign to pay or stop paying for content at any time if they are no longer interested, feel offended or feel that it might annoy a good number of their readers.

What is not so normal is that Facebook, and the other social networks, have set themselves up as the editors of political cartoons, arrogating to themselves the power to remove them and decide which are acceptable and which should be prevented from being published in their spaces.

This, which we have accepted as "natural", is an anomaly because they are not editors or media outlets, they are simply channels. Moreover, these same networks host all kinds of hate speech and explicit apologies for a lot of shit and worse. And they are not exactly jokes. Nor would cleaning up all that filth justify removing jokes or flagging and banning people for voicing their opinions.

Social media excuses for silencing opinions are often as lazy as they are generic, like violating "the rules" in the abstract. Although the internet is wider than Castile and preventing something from being published elsewhere is impossible, and the removal of content tends to push the popular Streisand effect, it is still a problem that increasingly affects the health of freedom of expression because it feeds the discouragement effect.

Facebook, the judge of moralising

Many have already become accustomed to the editorial "surveillance" practised on this social network and it has become so normalised that the most widespread opinion is the popular one: "it's their rules and they can fuck them however they want". In short, it has become somatised that if you don't like what's there, don't use Facebook.

Some blame the elimination of images on errors in the algorithms, a malicious use of the reporting system by users and the automatisms that are applied when they accumulate, but it is more than well known that Facebook makes an ambiguous and twisted interpretation of its rules when it comes to eliminating images, in many cases contradicting its own rules.

This is not the first time Jones has been banned from different platforms for one of his cartoons, as in January he was banned from Linkedin and Youtube.

"I start this week by violating the "community guidelines" and having my work removed from social media. First LinkedIn removed my "Boris & Andrew" vignette and now YouTube has removed the video of my vignette pointing out racists. I have also been suspended for two weeks".

On that occasion, it was for this cartoon, which, coincidentally, was also about racism:

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Clay usually records short videos of the process of making his cartoons and sometimes comments on them. In his blog you can find his opinion on the removal of this cartoon and the context on which he based his joke.

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Humour in trouble, a collection of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.

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