It wasn’t long after the attack on Charlie Hebdo that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to his personal page to decry what the “extremists” did to “silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world.”
“I won’t let that happen on Facebook,” he pledged. “I’m committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence.”
Facebook’s record of censorship be damned, “#JeSuisCharlie” he signed off.
Fast-forward two weeks, and we have Facebook agreeing to censor images of Mohammed in Turkey, including the very Charlie Hebdo cartoons that precipitated the attack to begin with!
The BBC has learned that Facebook has complied with a Turkish court order demanding the blocking of a page it said offended the Prophet Muhammad.
If the social media platform had refused, the court had threatened to block access to the entire site.
The site is believed to have around 40 million members in Turkey.
Facebook declined to comment but it does have a policy of blocking access to content within a country if it breaks local law.
Surely, running a social networking site in countries around the world that have vastly different laws governing online speech is complicated, or a “tricky calculus,” as Zuckerberg has acknowledged. But if the company refuses to buck oppressive laws in favor of defending free speech, then please, spare us all the hypocritical grandstanding.