Jun 12, 2012

The Kurdish Facebook scandal

By Khaled Sulaiman*
March 6, 2012

The Facebook documents that the UK’s Daily Mail published recently bring us out of the tunnel of world change but keeps us in the dark. Because it raises the curtain on the big lie promoted during the early nineties stating that the spread of communication means today will be a strong factor for the spread of the principles of freedom, democracy.
Facebook's content policy on the first hand is related to Kurds, while on the other hand is connected to Turkey’s policies. It is necessary therefore to stand still and think about it before letting it go just like that. Of course there have been wide spread discussions on Facebook that the social network bans the circulation of anything like Kurdish maps, photos of Abdullah Öcalan, but it is more serious than that. There are other things that are being blocked by Facebook. Some of these include:
- The rejection of Holocaust
- Any attack on Ataturk (in photos or text)
- Kurdish maps (Turkey)
- The burning of Turkish flags
- Anything related to Abdullah Öcalan
- Anything that might help the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)

On the last two points, the content policy does not, ironically, ban the circulation of the same stuff if they are against the PKK and Öcalan.
What is astonishing about the content policy is that these points have been listed under the international terms and conditions of Facebook's content policy. But only the first point is about the holocaust, the rest are about Kurds and Turks.
The first question that pops up is who is actually running Facebook and is designing its policies? Is it Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook board, or the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT)? This will be the first question of any ordinary person who reads Facebook’s international content policy, which brings together the Holocaust with the burning of the Turkish flag and attacks on Ataturk! While at the same time it targets Kurdistan's flag and the PKK.
The Daily Mail's quotes from Amine Derkaoui, 21, an ethnic Moroccan who worked for oDesk, a third-party content-moderation firm used by Facebook, point to some other important issue. This is the exploitation of third world people when they work for Facebook and other giant companies working in the field of technology and social media. Derkaoui said he was paid $1 per hour by oDesk, while Facebook earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour from advertisements.
The highlight here is the association of Facebook’s content policy with Kurds and the Kurdish flag. Many people may say it is only about the PKK and its leader Öcalan,www.ekurd.net who has been in prison since 1999 on the island jail of Imirali. OK, fine! But what has Facebook got to do with Ataturk and the Turkish flag? Or where does the Holocaust fit in? Is it possible that the Facebook board have been so told by the Turkish MIT that Kurds in Turkey have ran a holocaust against the Jews in Turkey? I know that this is a very stupid question, but stupidity will lead to stupid questions, too.
I wonder what the position is of the Kurdish political elite in Kurdistan and other Kurdish parts in Iran, Syria and Turkey about this Facebook content policy, while they pour thousands of dollars into Facebook's advertising account?

*Khaled Sulaiman is an independent Kurdish journalist and writer

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