Does Facebook really protect you from cyberbullies, scammers and spreaders of fake news?
If you’re concerned about your data, you can delete your Facebook account. But you can’t remove cyberbullies who ruin your rep with libel, lies and false allegations. If you defend yourself, they can simply block you and smear you behind your back or threaten to kill you. Facebook, a de facto media company earning billions in ad revenue and data sales, profits from the wanton destruction of thousands of reputations, and also hate campaigns targeting innocent individuals or whole nations of people in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Syria and elsewhere.
“If it violates our policies, we take it down,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a congressional hearing on April 10. But he also used “linguistic nuances” as an excuse for allowing Facebook to become a cesspit of hate and violence.
Zuckerberg repeatedly says Facebook has “thousands” of employees taking down fake news and hate speech. But Facebook still actively promotes the pages and posts of people such as Japan-based writer Jake Adelstein, who can call you a “stalker”, “pedophile”, “rapist”, “murderer” or “troll” in clear violation of Facebook’s own “community standards”.
This is what Facebook allows Adelstein, without any proof, to tell people about Japan and his critics, in clear violation of their “community standards”:
–Japan is ruled by a secret cult. They had a secret program to drop atomic bombs on enemies.
–Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a “cruel despot” who will jail journalists and rip up the constitution; he won’t let the Emperor retire.
–A Gang War is turning Japan into a “Sea of Blood” where yakuza will print up 3D guns that kill people then melt away.
–Japanese work 100 hours of overtime per month, and Adelstein used to work 100 hours per week as a police reporter.
–Sex slavery is legal, and almost half of Japanese women have been sexually harassed or groped in public.
–Anybody who questions the veracity of Adelstein’s journalism and ethics is “insane”, “a pedophile”, “a stalker”, “a rapist”, “a murderer” or “a troll”.
None of this is true, and hundreds of people in Japan and overseas have posted comments accusing Adelstein of spreading fake news. Websites such as Medium.com have removed Adelstein’s hateful and libelous posts. Facebook has done nothing.
“We want people to feel safe when using Facebook,” the company says in its community standards. “We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment.”
Adelstein’s false accusations and hate campaigns against his “targets” clearly violate Facebook’s own community standards, and they also violate laws of many countries. Yet Facebook gives Adelstein freedom to destroy the public reputations of anyone. In fact, Facebook promotes his page to anyone with an interest in Japan.
Facebook has ruled against dozens of complaints claiming Adelstein is violating their community standards. Incredibly, Facebook repeatedly reminds me to follow Jake and his bogus fake news hate site “Japan Subculture Research Center”.
The result is significant harm to people such as me. Facebook and Adelstein have ruined my career and business in Japan, which earned more than $125,000 in 2011 before Adelstein’s vicious campaign on Facebook and other social media. Adelstein has done the same to others.
As Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy pointed out at the congressional hearing, the United Nations and many activists have accused Facebook of fomenting “genocide” in Myanmar and attacks on minorities in many other countries.
Imagine if you are a Rohingya refugee logging onto Facebook for the time sign and seeing people in Myanmar calling for your extermination. Imagine the thousands of teenagers traumatized by rampant cyber-bullying on Facebook. Is Facebook really going to stop this?
Every time that Facebook permits Adelstein to get away with criminal libel, bullying, harassment, abuse and threats on his site, they ask me “What went wrong?” This is how I reply to them.
Some have nicknamed Mark Zuckerberg’s company “Fakebook”. Facebook has responded by promising to check facts and weed out liars, crooks and bullshitters. It’s not clear if Facebook have ever fact-checked Jake’s stories or posts, despite widespread criticism.
Some critics accused Adelstein of fabricating a mysterious police source warning of the “Ides of March”, as if Japan police can quote Shakespeare, in a bogus story called “The Coming Yakuza War”. This war, and “the Sea of Blood”, never materialized. It was fake news, Jake style, and it got a lot of attention on Facebook.
Since at least 2013, Adelstein has made a career out of warning about the “Coming Gang War” in articles for the Daily Beast, Vice, Japan Times and others, as well as appearances on CNN, Bloomberg and other networks. Adelstein’s predictions were way off the mark. Critics accused him of crying wolf and being “chicken little” warning the sky is falling. Yet Facebook profited from it, selling ads on Jake’s salacious click-bait.
Critics such as Splice Today writer Chris Beck have accused Adelstein of fabricating the “unnamed police source” in Osaka who allegedly claimed that gangsters were going to use “drone bombs” and “3D guns” to kill each other.
Adelstein then attacked Beck, writing letters to his publisher in the US, and attacking him on Facebook, which did nothing to stop it.
While other reporters and observers criticized Adelstein for sensationalism, Adelstein increased the hype in articles over coming months claiming that the Gang War would turn Japan into “The Sea of Blood”.
Adelstein duped Australia’s ABC, USA Today, the Guardian, Bloomberg, CNN and others into echoing his hype. He said the Japanese police couldn’t stop the yakuza.
Facebook helped Jake propagate this fake news around the world.
Adelstein couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, the war never happened. Reuters, the Telegraph and others reported Japan’s police detained about 1000 alleged gang members, mostly on minor infractions.
At the apex of Jake’s “Gang War”, reporters in Japan such as Julian Ryall noted only one killing in May and another in July — basically fewer murders than a night in Chicago. Ryall, a stringer for London’s Telegraph and others, reported police using “the fine print” of laws to detain hundreds of alleged gang members on minor infractions. Adelstein never reported that. Adelstein’s gang war was a hoax, and he never retracted or corrected his earlier articles. Facebook did nothing.
Here is more Fake News that Facebook promoted. Without proof or court convictions, Adelstein claimed yakuza gangsters are “running Japan’s Hollywood”.
Jake, touting himself as an expert on Japanese culture, also claimed that “Japan is a country where saving face is paramount — even if that means covering it with snake venom, bee toxin, horse oil or snail slime.”
Facebook is a de facto media company that has no problem with hypocrisy. Jake is free to slam “trolls” for doing the exact same things he does on Facebook: shaming, bullying, libeling or worse.
Remember this ridiculous headline? Facebook loved it. They kept telling me to follow JSRC to read fake news like this.
Japan’s Death Cult is Hiding in Europe
—— This is another favorite theme for Jake: spread panic about terrorism and Japan’s nuclear industry. Facebook loves it. They don’t care if this tarnishes the reputation of a nation or race of people.
“Japan’s Nuclear Plants are Vulnerable to Terror Attacks”.
Here, Facebook allows Jake to speak on behalf of the people and government of Japan.
“Japan doesn’t want the US to apologize for bombing Hiroshima.”
“A pretty much worthless article that is based on assumptions and conjecture rather than facts,” commented Arshad Karim, a legal counsellor from Los Angeles.
Adelstein attacked him for “valueless comment”.
Facebook loves when Jake talks about harassment of women (something Jake has been accused of). Without evidence, Adelstein claims “almost half of Japanese woman have been sexually harassed or groped in public.”
The National Police Agency did a survey in the summer of 2010 that found 13 percent of Japanese females had experienced sexual harassment, including groping in the transit system—within just a one year period— but 89 percent of the victims did not complain to the police.
Here is more fake news clickbait that Facebook tried to sell me.
With no evidence, Adelstein claims a secret cult is ruling Japan.
He says that “The Cult That Rules Japan” wants to gut the post-war pacifist constitution, end sexual equality, void pesky “human rights” laws, and worship the Emperor.
When commenters asked Jake to check facts or prove his claims, he told them to read books in Japanese.
Commenter Michiko Shimizu pointed out that Jake “could fool Americans with this narrative”.
Commenter Emily Nugent said article had “blanket statements with no evidence”.
Arshad Karim said Adelstein was “very disrespectful” to commenters.
Facebook did nothing.
—-“The new constitution of Japan will have no basic human rights,” Adelstein writes, “if Prime Minister Abe and the cult that supports him get their wish.”
A commenter calls it an editorial, not a report.
—Facebook sold a lot of ads from Adelstein’s claim that Japan “was trying to build their own atomic bomb during the war. They would have used it.”
There’s no proof to support this claim that Japan planned to atomic bomb anyone.
Sources refuted Adelstein’s claims. Facebook did nothing.
The story focuses more on how Japan couldn’t do what Adelstein said they would have done.
Most experts believe that Japan did not have the capability to build a nuclear weapon before the U.S. bombings in the 1940s.
When Japan surrendered, the occupying U.S. forces discovered just five cyclotrons, devices that speed up atoms in order to separate isotopes that can then be used for a bomb. U.S. atomic facilities in New Mexico, by comparison, contained hundreds of separators operating day and night to produce just four bombs.
“I don’t think Japan’s nuclear program was very advanced or that it played a role in the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University’s Japan Campus, and author of “Contemporary Japan.”
Adelstein neglected to mention a very important detail: Japan didn’t have uranium.
“They knew the physics needed for creating the bomb and the engineering needed to build it,” he said. “It was lack of element resources like uranium that was the real problem for them.”
–Facebook permits Jake to routinely slander anyone, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, an elected leader. Without proof or supporting quotes, Adelstein calls PM Abe a “cruel despot” who refuses to let the Emperor retire.
Jake’s fake news was refuted in NYT, but Facebook did nothing:
Mr. Abe, in a short response, suggested that his government was open to changing the law, though he stopped short of making a specific commitment to do so. “Considering His Majesty’s age, the burden of his official duties and his anxieties, we must think carefully about what can be done,” Mr. Abe said.
— Salacious stories, full of false accusations and unproven allegations, are Adelstein’s stock-in-trade, says US-based writer Chris Beck.
Jake, and Facebook, get a lot of attention accusing people of rape.
Adelstein claimed that In Japan, “4 out of 5 rapes go unreported.”
Without offering proof, Jake accused a 22-year old actor of raping a woman age 49. Police released the actor and didn’t press charges. But Adelstein and Facebook never corrected the error nor took action to restore his reputation.
Facebook doesn’t require alleged “journalists” to actually do fundamental, ethical journalism. Jake’s friend, Kaori Shoji, often claims that something in Japan is true because “everybody knows it”. She doesn’t offer sources or specific data to support her claims. She doesn’t have to. Facebook lets her get away with it.
Here’s what she writes about Japanese work culture. “On the other hand, most Japanese – white collar or not, are well aware that clocking in over 100 hours of overtime a month is quite common, and so is not getting paid for that time.”
Commenter Bill Lise called their bluff:
“This is an anonymous site. Nobody takes responsibility for it. Like other anonymous sites, they can just spew untreated sewage and there will be non-discerning victims to drink it up.”
“Although their numbers are pure crap, they might have a chance of making it out of the realm of anonymity sewage spewers if they just dared to have a name of a person attached to the content. Right now, they position themselves as a URL and a number of easily faked social media accounts.”
“A physical address added to a name would be even better. All of this is brought to you by the anonymous, accountability-immune Internet. Pass the puke bucket.”
Jake responded to Bill Lise by calling him “kind of insane”.
–It’s not that difficult to fact-check Adelstein. Facebook employees could simply read other stories.
In 2016, Adelstein claimed Shinzo Abe was Japan’s first prime minister to visit Hawaii since the Pearl Harbor attack.
Mari Yamaguchi of Associated Press reported this wasn’t true: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/f40c6999b43e4427a6bc24efc1b3c9d7/not-first-abe-predecessor-visited-pearl-harbor-1951)
In the very least, Facebook should remove Adelstein’s posts because they are “systematically anti-Japanese, says Jerome Besson.