(GREED) – Death threats and censorship are part of the game as an independent journalist. It’s a routine day for many to open their messages to find someone saying “I’ll slit your throat”, especially if the journalist is somewhat abrasive.
Justin King, an independent journalist who has developed somewhat of a cult following received that message yesterday. Of course, in King’s case, his cult following wants to kill him. For King, it’s become so routine that he makes fun of those who threaten him on his personal Facebook account. The ex-military contractor often posts screenshots and mocks those who hide behind the internet.
Facebook’s response to his life being threatened? Ban him.
Facebook froze the account of an independent journalist whose work can be found on almost every indie news site and who has been interviewed by mainstream outlets the world over. From Moscow to Tehran, King’s expertise in international affairs has led outlets to seek his advice. In one instance, the state news outlet in Iran asked for his insight into the internal politics of their own country. King has assisted dozens of independent news outlets over the years, including this one.
King takes the ban in stride, making jokes about it on his professional page, and pointing out that while it doesn’t matter to him if he’s banned, the results of being banned for disclosing a death threat for a victim of domestic violence could be catastrophic.
It really shines a light on Facebook’s insistence on censoring reality. Death threats aren’t typically shrugged off. Unlike King, most people posting death threats are seeking help. Facebook’s tendency to ban those who disclose that their life is in danger is similar to the bygone days of men looking the other way if a man beats his wife in her home. Out of sight, out of mind.
I guess it doesn’t matter to Facebook if women are killed, so long as it doesn’t reach the newsfeed.