Refusing to drop defamatory posts against HK police shows Facebook bias, double standards: analysts

By Chen Qingqing and Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/30 21:28:40

Photo: VCG

Facebook has turned a blind eye to the Hong Kong Police Force's reasonable requests to remove defamatory posts against them, Chinese analysts said Wednesday, asserting the social media giant's practice shows its double standards and bias on Hong Kong-related issues and aims to meet its own interests and political ends.   


The Hong Kong police have requested that the US firm remove posts containing defamatory or unfounded allegations about their handling of rioters. 

In response to the Global Times' inquiry for comments, the social media platform confirmed it has received the police requests, without elaborating on its plan for handling the police's request.    

"We can confirm that we have received two letters from the Hong Kong Police Force regarding Hong Kong protest content on Facebook," a Facebook spokesperson wrote in a reply sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.

The company did not clarify whether or not it would remove posts which are spreading defamatory or unfounded allegations concerning the Hong Kong police and so-called police brutality.

According to public statements posted on its website, the Hong Kong Police Force sent two letters to Facebook earlier this month with the first one, dated October 9, requesting Facebook remove posts that they assert are fake and prone to incite hatred toward them. 

The posts alleged Hong Kong police officers harassed a female protester during a car search in Tung Chung and the police were "killing Hong Kong people" in a campaign. 

"Those posts are suspected of violating Facebook's community rules and the Hong Kong police have requested Facebook to remove such posts immediately and hand in related material to the police for further investigation," said the letter.

However, Facebook did not reply to the Hong Kong police's request, according to the second letter dated on October 24. "We feel extremely disappointed about the company's refusal to respond," it read.

Facebook's official website states that "if you post something that goes against our standards, which cover things like hate speech that attacks or dehumanizes others, we will remove it from Facebook."

Facebook's ignorance of Hong Kong police's requests showed the company's biased stance on Hong Kong issues and its rules only serve its own stance, analysts said. 

"For a long time, our understanding of rules and standards has been based on the Western value system," Shen Yi, a director at the Research Center for Cyberspace Governance in Fudan University, Shanghai, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"This system includes content that has been deliberately set out by the West, and is not always objective."

By balancing the interests, the social media platform could ease political suspicions aroused from its role in alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election campaign while reaping the moral glory of defending Western standards, analysts said. 

In contrast to its ignorance to Hong Kong police's request, Facebook in August started to take down accounts in relation to the Hong Kong protests. 

Liu Liehong, deputy head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said at a press conference in August that while those accounts were taken down, tons of rumors that slander Hong Kong police and distort the fact are going widely on such social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter.

It also faced outrage in China for suspending a Hong Kong media account on its site and the Hong Kong police's anti-violence WhatsApp hotlines in September. 

The Chinese public slammed Facebook for falling victim to Western political correctness and double standards on Hong Kong issues, and some accused the company of becoming an accomplice of the Hong Kong rioters.


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