Facebook Execs: Brave Fighters for Freedom!

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If you aren't a regular reader of The Daily Mail, you're likely unaware of the wonderfully named Raoul Moat, an English sociopath who, upon release from prison in early July, shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend, killed her partner, and blinded a police officer with a shotgun blast to the face. After a more efficacious team of armed British police surrounded Moat in the village of Rothbury, the former nightclub bouncer graciously shot himself in the head, despite the best efforts of his friend Paul Gascoigne, the alcoholic former soccer star, who brought the gunman "a can of lager, some chicken, a mobile phone and something to keep warm."

Then something odd(er) happened. Despite never having been a member of a faddish lefty protest group (a la Mumia Abu-Jamal), a small movement memorializing Moat blossomed online. A Facebook page was created; flowers were piled in front of his house and at the site in Rothbury where he killed himself; the Birmingham-based hip-hop outfit TripleR released a repulsive track called "A Tribute to Raoul Moat" on YouTube.

It would have been advisable to ignore this small explosion of chav outrage, but Prime Minister David Cameron took the bait, calling on Facebook to remove the tribute to Moat and denouncing his sympathizers from the floor of the Commons. The Facebook page is the project of Siobhan O'Dowd, a semi-literate woman from Burnley, a town with the dubious distinction of electing the first BNP county council representative in Britain. O'Dowd, whose life has not been previously marked by success, managed to attract over 35,000 members. Between bottles of Buckfast Tonic Wine, declaring that Moat was a "legend," and being denounced by the PM, O'Dowd spoke with TalkSport radio during which she defended, in the cadence of Vicky Pollard, the murderer because "'He kept from eyes of police for a week–that were funny." (The full interview below.)

When pressured by members of Cameron's government to remove the group, Facebook did the right thing, arguing that while some might find the group and many of the comments left on the page offensive, the website "is a place where people can express their views and discuss things in an open way as they can and do in many other places, and as such we sometimes find people discussing topics others may find distasteful, however that is not a reason in itself to stop a debate from happening."

It is good to see a company like Facebook stand up for free and robust…errr…wait a minute. Perhaps the defenders of freedom at Facebook, the corporate Voltaires who bravely provide an online forum for opinions "others may find distasteful," think we forgot about this:

LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistan lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, a top information technology official said.

The move came almost two weeks after Pakistan imposed the ban amid anger over a page that encouraged users to post images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.
"In response to our protest, Facebook has tendered their apology and informed us that all the sacrilegious material has been removed from the URL," said Najibullah Malik, secretary of Pakistan's information technology ministry, referring to the technical term for a Web page.

Facebook assured the Pakistani government that "nothing of this sort will happen in the future," Malik said.

Bonus audio of Siobhan O'Dowd on TalkSport. If any non-chav readers can transcribe the whole conversation, I'll send you a copy of New Threats to Freedom, featuring myself, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Anne Applebaum, Christopher Hitchens, and many other clever folks, for free! Because I haven't a clue what she is on about.

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  1. Allah did not create man so that he could appreciate irony.

  2. “an English sociopath who, upon release from prison in early July, shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend, killed her partner, and blinded a police officer with a shotgun blast to the face…”

    What?

    How could this happen.

    Britian is a gun control paradise.

    And we all know that gun control is extremely effective in stopping gun crimes.

    1. Quite so. And at least one of his weapons was unlicensed and probably bought in a pub. Britain is proof of the old adage: ‘if you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns’

  3. Perfect soundtrack to this story: the Arctic Monkeys’ first album.

    And yes, until Facebook takes their privacy policy seriously, they can sack a cawk.

    1. Wicked awesome!

  4. Hey now, it’s the “Religion of Peace”, and we certainly don’t want to offend the huge number of moderate muslims who refuse to police their own religion’s ranks.

    1. How exactly does one police one’s own religion’s ranks?

      1. As easily as one polices the behavior of people outside one’s religion. The Muslims at Reform Islam are dedicated to purging Islam of its oppressive side. That is commendable. Go on any Facebook page that criticizes Sharia law or Muslim terrorists and you will find plenty of comments by Muslims criticizing the page or announcing that the terrorists are not “real Muslims”. It is easy to announce to non-Muslims that the terrorists are not “real Muslims”. I wish the same people who make these announcements would say them directly to Hamas, Hezbullah, et al.

        1. Sounds like the new Pakistani-a-week who starts a couple days of nice chat. They need a new script that doesn’t end with “Israel was behind 9/11.”

      2. I’ve noticed the Catholics have finally gotten the Pope’s attention over this whole “buggering little boys” situation. Maybe the massive majority of moderate muslims could, y’know, tell the crazy-ass homicidal muslims to cut that shit out. Don’t let them talk to your children. Don’t let them marry your daughter. Don’t fund them. Little things like that.

    2. And Mike wonders why the BNP has found so many sympathizers in parts of the country where young Muslims thugs have become local law enforcers.

      To American readers: the BNP is a borderline racist and traditional socialist party that has gained in popularity recently by saying maybe we wouldn’t let the UK become a Shariah police state filled with pious Allah-fearers, walking coffins (who are mostly only allowed to walk inside their own homes) and obedient Dhimmis. They have mostly won seats and approval in parts of the country were people are seeing this happen before their own eyes. Apperntly the political mainstream of France are non too pleased with seeing their country slowly turning into an Islamist police state. I never thought I’d say this but maybe we could lean a lesson from them.

  5. We’re the weirdest species in the entire Orion Arm.

    1. What about green Orion slave girls?

      1. They’re not weird; they’re hot. I thought you of all people would know the difference.

        1. You can be both weird and hot; look at Fairuza Balk.

          1. Surely we’re not weirder than the quad-sexual Slime Spores of Siruis 12?

            1. You are, freak, with your 13 toes and your missing frontal cortex and your suppurating penis.

              1. I can’t tell if you’re jealous or aroused.

                1. (Zoidberg)

                  Are you coming on to me?

                  1. I’m not hearing “no” . . .

      2. I have a question about that. Where do “Orions” come from? I don’t think there’s a star system called Orion. Constellations aren’t typically “places”, so I doubt that’s it. Are they supposed to come from the nebula?

        We’re all Orions if you want to label us by the arm of the galaxy we’re located in. Which is pretty cool.

        1. China, I think. Maybe Planet Philippines.

  6. What is this Facebook you speak of?

  7. Moat is no Mohammed.

    This story reminds me of Mikey Carroll, king of chavs.

  8. ‘ello, what’s all this then? Those chavs certainly have a bloody cheek, haven’t they? But Facebook isn’t doing the Queen any sodding favours by allowing these tossers to start a row on the World Wide Web whilst stopping perfectly serviceable debates elsewhere, are they?

    1. That woman was barely speaking English from my perception. I’m amazed at the diversity of accents in the UK (for some reason I’m less surprised about the accents in the US due to its geographical area). But, yeah…I’m not sure that education could save that woman from being a moron.

      1. Go Gator! I actually think she would make a fine replacement for ole Jesco’s Senate seat in West Virgyee.

        1. Damn it – Virginyee.

          1. Isn’t there supposed to be a “by God” in there somewhere?

      2. Most people in yorkshire probably couldn’t understand her either…

      3. “That woman was barely speaking English from my perception. I’m amazed at the diversity of accents in the UK”

        One of teh reasons I emigrated (along with the truly feckin shitty weather, 17 degrees today in the height of summer),
        If you don’t speak like a chav you get your head kicked in in the pub,
        If you do you can’t get on in a professional career

        Since emigrating I speak an equally incomprehensible mix of toff vocabulary and chav grammer, which noone can understand,

        learnt to speak portuguese and now im learning zulu as foreigners clearly can’t understand proper english

  9. Humans are motivated mostly by self-interest. Therefore, it does not surprise me that Facebook stands by free speech in the UK where doing so is safe but then caves in to Pakistan which has laws against blastphamy.

  10. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s boys in bands, and kids who like to scrap with pool cues in their hands. And just cause he’s had a couple o’ cans, he thinks it’s alright to act like a dickhead.

  11. The TalkSport youtube video says the Facebook page is gone. The Guardian says it was Siobhan that removed it.

    1. Her 15 minutes are up.

      Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

      1. I hate you. Because you’re Assyrian.

        1. Help the bombardier!

      1. You SugarFree’d it twice. Impressive.

        1. Indeed. Like a rare Pokemon.

          1. You had a holographic Charizard, didn’t you, Art.

            1. But how did you know what a Charizard was, unless…?

              1. My favorite was always Jynx.

                “Ah, that’s good old-fashioned family racism”

  12. Facebook did not remove the material. They blocked Pakistan-based IP addresses from accessing that specific group – something the Pakistani government could have done in the first place.

    The end result is an almost complete lifting of the ban without the offending material being removed. And an IP-address ban doesn’t do much harm – it’s trivial to get around for those Pakistanis who still wanted access to the material.

    1. What was more ridiculous was a couple years back when the Pakistani government ordered Pakistani Telecom to block Youtube, so some bright guy there got the idea to issue Router Advertisement messages announcing that Pakistani Telecom’s black hole was the correct router for Youtube. These messages escaped Pakistan and caused a brief global outage.

  13. Jeebus H Krimeny is that fucking English? In the words of my grandmother, “They invented the language you would think they could speak it.”

    Towlie:I got no idea what’s goin’ on

  14. Facebook is da bomb but I still like Myspace better.

    Lou
    http://www.real-anonymity.net.tc

  15. http://www.nowzad.com/

    Now that’s pretty awesome.

  16. Look, Facebook as a private organization isn’t supposed to live to any “higher virtues” than earning profit. You have to understand thy Pakistani ad views are just as valuable as any other Ad view. As such, facebook must take a utilitarian approach to manage its censorship. If facebook has to piss off or lose 1000 users for 100,000 users, the decision is clear.

    Had the British government banned Facebook like Pakistan, this story would be completely different. Don’t fault a firm for acting like a firm; that’s just silly.

  17. Freedom has a sister_ she’s called Courage

    https://reason.com/blog/2010/05…..ne-draw-mo
    “we’ve decided to shut down comments to this post.”

    1. Your butthole still hurts over that?

      1. you need to update your Myspace profile if you like it in the ass. 😉

  18. Started trying to transcribe but it’s too damn painful to listen to. First couple of minutes have her saying that Moat is a legend b/c he got noticed and then goes on to say that she has no sympathy for the ex that he shot b/c if she were that scared of him she should have moved away while he was in jail.

    After that point I got hypnotized by her mustache every time her picture popped up on screen.

  19. That O’Dowd woman is about nine miles of rocky road.

    1. Great googly moogly! I actually gasped at the appearence of her photo.

      1. That’s not actually her, they just used that photographic depiction for…entertainment/stand-in purposes.

  20. Allow me to translate the first few minutes (Interviewer is paraphrased) :

    INT : we got you in the end?

    Yes, you did, I must had had a bad signal because my phones been on all day

    INT : Not hiding then

    No, nothing to hide for.

    INT : well, you did create that facebook page.

    Yeah, but that’s my opinion, everyone’s entitled to their opinion

    INT: Raoul Moat you’re a legend,

    Yep,

    INT : Why’s he a legend?

    well, I just think he’s a legend, legends get talked about and he’s getting talked about, so in my eyes he’s a legend

    INT : so what’s he done? Most legends have done something commendable?

    no, you lot all think he’s a bad person because of what you read in the papers yeah,

    INT : NO, I think he’s a person because he’s killed one, nearly killed another…

    I don’t agree with that, I don’t agree with the shootings that he did, that were harsh like. I can’t understand his gf me, if someone was so scared of someone. Personally, if it was me or my boyfriend who was in jail, and I were that scared of him, I would pack up my stuff and leave, I would not write a letter and say, Oh and by the way, I’m shagging a copper (police officer). You just don’t do it, not when you know full well what he is like about the police.

  21. It is good to see a company like Facebook stand up for free and robust…errr…wait a minute. Perhaps the defenders of freedom at Facebook, the corporate Voltaires who bravely provide an online forum for opinions “others may find distasteful,” think we forgot about this:

    LAHORE, Pakistan ? Pakistan lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, a top information technology official said.

    The difference being, O’Dowd won’t put out a Fatwa and have you killed.

    My only complaint about Facebook, Mrs. “Draw Muhammed” day and everyone else that backs down from Muslim threats isn’t that they back down from Muslim threats, it’s that they back down while spewing platitudes about “cultural understanding, bridging divides, and seeking to restore balance”.

    If you back down from the Muslim Threat(tm), you should do so and simply say “Fuck yeah, we’re scared shitless of these crackpots. I’m not going to end up with a knife and a note jammed through my chest, and I can’t afford the body guards for my children.”

    1. Just like Penn & Teller do it. Reason had an article about them not pissing off Muslims, but no problem with saying stuff about Christians.

  22. If David Cameron’s going to make it his personal mission to stomp out everything gobsmackingly stupid, insensitive, and tasteless on the Internet (including most of the stuff I’ve typed on it, I’d guess), perhaps he could do the people of the UK a favor, and stop taking their money to do this?

  23. Yeah, I got about 10 percent of that. But I bet she’d eat the butthole out of a possum. I made my annual trip to The Walmart the other day (organics, and shit) and saw at least four Siobhans riding around on scooters.

  24. I am a regular reader of the Daily Mail (okay, fine – I’m addicted) and I followed the whole thing from day one. Is it my imagination, or are British cops just useless? There was more than one occasion where they could’ve caught up if they’d managed to show up in under 15 minutes. He walked through the middle of town.

    1. Are british cops allowed to carry guns yet?

      1. Who needs guns, they have WHISTLES!

        1. And those cute furry hats!

          1. The guys wearing the furry hats aren’t cops. They’re Buckingham Palace’s ceremonial guards. They are real soldiers, though, I believe most of them have done rotations in Iraq or Afghanistan. But every so often they get to back to their home barracks to entertain the tourists. They have no law enforcement functions what ever, Mrs Windsor has a security detail similar to the Secret Service to actually protect her.

            But considering what an ignorant twit you are, I’m not at all surprised that you don’t know the difference.

              1. You stupid.

  25. Put your shoulder into it, Ring.

    Transcript:

    Ian Collins: We’re talking about the Facebook page that’s been created, RIP Roaul Moat You Legend Facebook page. We had hoped to talk to Siobhan, who’s one of the people who started the page, but we have found Siobhan. Siobahn, good evening.

    Siobhan O’Dowd: Aye oh.

    IC: Ah, we got you in the end.

    SO: Yeah, you did. [Unintelligible].

    IC: Ah, okay. Well you weren’t hiding from us, then.

    SO: No. [Unintelligible].

    IC: Well, you did start a pretty unsavoury Facebook page, didn’t you?

    SO: Yeah, but that’s my opinion. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

    IC: Raoul Moat, you’re a legend?

    SO: Yep.

    IC: Why is he a legend?

    SO: Well, I just think he is legend. Legends’ll get talked about, and all that, and he’s getting talked about, so in my eyes he’s a legend.

    IC: Yes, but what’s he done to make him a legend? Usually people who are a legend have done something that would make people think, oh, this guy, he’s, he’s so good for this reason or that reason, that he’s a legend. You know, Robin Hood was a legend, robbed from the rich, gave to the poor-

    SO: No. You all think he’s a bad person because of what you’ve read in the papers there-

    IC: No, I think he’s a bad person because he’s killed one, nearly killed another and blinded a policeman.

    SO: Yeah, I don’t agree with that, I don’t agree with the shootings that he did.

    IC: Okay.

    SO: [Unintelligible]. But I can’t, I can’t understand his girlfriend, Meg. If someone was so scared of someone, personally, if it were me, if my boyfriend was in jail, or ex-boyfriend, and I were that scared of him, I would pack up my stuff and I would leave, I would not [Unintelligible] and say, “Oh, by the way, I’m shagging a copper.” You just don’t do it, when you know full well what he’s like about the police anyway.

    IC: Well, a couple of points on that, Siobhan. Firstly, we don’t know any of that happened. We’re just hearing that as speculation, so… Ah, secondly, even if she did, maybe, should this woman have to uproot her life? Because maybe she thought, if I tell him that I’m now going out with a policeman, that he’ll leave me alone, that I’ll be protected. Maybe that was the reason.

    SO: [Pause]. Well maybe it was but obviously it didn’t work, did it?

    IC: Well [scoffs] you’re very casual about the fact that a woman’s had her stomach blown out, one man is dead and another fellow is blinded. I mean, you’re interpretation of that is, well, you know, she wrote a letter to the prison winding him up. I mean, that’s an incredible reaction and… for, for the severity of what’s happened, Siobhan.

    SO: Well, fair enough, but I’m just saying, if someone were that scared they would not write a letter to a boyfriend, even if he, even if he were just like a normal person and he didn’t have nothing going wrong with him-

    [Crosstalk]

    IC: You, you’re kind of, you know you’re following this like you’re following East Enders, like you’re filling in the blanks you don’t know. You don’t know anything about which letters were written.

    SO: You don’t know! You only know what you’ve read in [unintelligible].

    IC: No, what I know, what I know is that the guy has shot three people, one dead, two very seriously injured, one certainly with life-changing injuries and blinded for life. I mean, it doesn’t get much worse than that. And then you start a Facebook page by calling him a legend. Now a legend has to have done something to call him a legend. What specifically has this guy done that makes you think he’s worthy of hero status?

    SO: He kept, uh, from police for a week. That, that was funny. He was right under their nose! He was right underneath them and they still couldn’t find him.

    IC: You think, well, if they, if you can’t find someone you can’t find someone.

    SO: Oh, please, they bumbled about. Tiny little [unintelligible]. They’re quick enough to go out and-

    [Crosstalk]

    IC: Hold on, they mobilized, they mobilized a police force to try and look for him. If you’re hiding, you can’t find someone. That’s not a fault of the police, Siobhan.

    Fist of Etiquette: What the fuck. Why am I bothering with this?

    Voice in Fist’s Head: Don’t ask me; I tuned out as soon as I realized she was moron.

    FOE: Fuck it. Maybe I’ll finish the rest later.

    1. Dude, whatever. You’ve earned the book, for god’s sake. No man can ask more.

    2. Sorry, but they’d have to offer a whole library to listen to that old trollop.

      Excellent work old chap,

    3. Fist of Etiquette: What the fuck. Why am I bothering with this?

      Dude!!!!

      You will get a book signed by Moynihan.

      I would eat glass for that trinket.

  26. Uhh, facebook doesn’t do this all the time you know. Recently, they took down the Kill a Jew Day event because it was offensive. They will take down certain pages,\ and protect others purely on arbitrary whims.

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  29. the website “is a place where people can express their views and discuss things in an open way as they can and do in many other places.

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