Is Facebook’s ban of Far-Right extremists and Google’s new Youtube policy different from state-led censorship such as in China?

Yes… and no.

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

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Facebook is a private company; therefore, it can enforce its rules without having to ask anyone. When they do is merely a way to pretend they are listening to users — and a way not to step in too many toes. Very often changes in policies do enrage a few users, but overall Facebook has managed to keep growing and increase its value.

Nevertheless, being a private company doesn’t mean not having to deal with the public or listen to the public (in a more meaningful way than just sporadically ask if everything is ok and asking people to click “accept” after a policy change pretending they do have a saying). Facebook provides a public service and has billions of users (more than the population of any individual country or several combined), yet, it is fairly unaccountable to its actions.

Normally Facebook answers only to investors and companies who flood the network (and its parent social media, Instagram) with ads. And that needs to change. Even though Facebook is indeed a private company, it provides a vital public service and as such, must be accountable to governments and to its users.

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Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Journalist, PhD in Human Rights (University of Deusto). MA in Communication Sciences, BA in International Relations. www.tsavkko.com.br