Are Facebook And Penthouse Strange Bedfellows?


I had the honor and privilege to discuss the Facebook Holocaust Denial  subject and the 1st Amendment in general with Mr. Bob Guccione, the founder of Penthouse Magazine.

While Facebook and Penthouse may seem like strange bedfellows, Mr. Guccione is no stranger to criticism and controversy for the publishing of controversial content. Penthouse Magazine is predominately known as a publisher of soft  core pornography, satire as well as controversial interviews.  One of those interviews happens to be one done in 2001 with my brother Mark Cuban. ( I was unable to find it online)

We discussed the fact that while not a publisher and probably protected by the Communications Decency Act,  Facebook does make “publishing like” decisions on what types of content is acceptable.

Bob and I  discussed 1st Amendment principals in the private realm.   Here is what he had to say:

“The propagation of 1st Amendment ideals in the private realm including social networking is also a two way street.   While people certainly have the right to express their opinions, Facebook as a private entity has the right to choose not to allow themselves to be used as a forum. These types of decisions are made in newspapers and other media all over country even within the realm of 1st amendment ideals.”  There is no conflict.

“As a private publisher, I often rejected content I deemed inappropriate”

We also discussed  public perception that the “pseudo 1st Amendment”  Facebook obligation to publish certain types of content is a “fiction” created by Facebook.

Finally, I know many are tired of hear me “speak” on the subject of Holocaust Denial groups on Facebook.  Some of my “Tweet Peeps, Facebo0k Friends, and blog readers feel I am beating this subject to death.  I understand.  I also understand if I lose audience because of it.  I don’t blame you for leaving.  I have never written on the same subject four times in a row for that very reason. I try to be as diverse as possible in my writing.

There however is a fundamental difference between a talking point and a cause.  To many who come  here to be entertained and educated on diverse subjects, its time to move on to a different talking point.  From my viewpoint, my stance on Holocaust Denial groups on Facebook is a cause.  There is never an end to a cause until the cause is won.

There however, is a tipping point where even people who believe in the cause become numb to the message.  As I think I have reached this point, this will be the last I have to say on this blog unless something new comes up to discuss.  This does not mean I have stopped fighting for the cause.  It simply means that until there is a new “talking point”  on this subject, I won’t beat it to death any further on The Cuban Revolution.

It has never been my intention to minimize the “idea” of free speech in the Facebook realm regardless of the actual application of the 1st Amendment.  I value the concept of the free and open exchange with every bone in my body.  I also understand that Facebook is attempting to shape its policies to mirror 1st Amendment ideals to encourage “Free Speech”.  This is commendable and something I am on board with.

There however is a fundamental difference in how Mr. Zuckerberg and I view this ideal.  To overuse a cliche, “while we have free speech in this country, not all speech is in fact free.” Certainly not hate speech.  Hate speech has consequence in this country.  I think Mr. Zuckerberg would agree with this.  Facebook has often removed groups whose discussions and rhetoric propagate hate and violence against various types of groups.

This is where the break occurs. Mr. Zuckerberg and many others look at Holocaust Denial and see a historical revisionist theory that while  vile does not in itself constitute  hate speech.

I and many others look at Holocaust Denial  and see two words that were created solely to propagate hate and violence against Jews. The words themselves represent the “idea of hate”  The two words are hate speech.  It is irrelevant to us that the name of the groups do not specifically reference hatred towards Jews.

Even Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelley stated: “Holocaust Denial is motivated by hate” I have yet seen to see a statement from either him or Mr. Zuckerberg on this matter. Where is the transparency here?

If they agree that Holocaust Denial is motivated by hate,who do they think the deniers hate? The logical answer is Jews. I doubt Mr. Kelly was referring to their hate of Dairy Queen Ice Cream.

The two words themselves stand for nothing more than pure unadulterated antisemitism. This is okay simply because the title speaks of Holocaust Denial instead of “We Hate Jews” or no one puts in a discussion comment “We Hate Jews”? This is form over substance at its worst. That type of speech is not free. It has consequences. It should not be tolerated in any forum

Finally, the “idea” of free speech is not the abrogation of social conscience and corporate sensitivity to the victims of unspeakable human tragedy.


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