‘Tommy’ & Facebook: Kicking the Habit
Mike Stuchbery challenges Mark Zuckerberg to stop enabling Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s hate and asks you to help him
Let’s Talk about Being an Enabler.
An enabler is someone who permits and encourages certain habits and behaviours. It’s usually used in the context of an addiction – the mate who continuously urges you to have a drink, even though you know you won’t be able to stop if you do.
“Tommy Robinson has a problem. He’s an arrogant thug who needs the spotlight.”
‘Tommy Robinson’ has a problem. He’s an arrogant thug who needs the spotlight. He needs the adulation and encouragement of his followers. He craves the attention that gets him headlines, that keeps the donation flowing in. It is an addiction that he has shown no desire to shake.
Facebook Enables Him.
‘Tommy’, with very little forethought, regularly draws the attention of his followers to someone, or something that he feels has aggrieved him, using his Facebook or Instagram. Those followers end up causing significant harassment and disruption.
“Posting ‘I guess it’s okay to rape white women then ??!?!?!’, his followers proceeded to call the line and tie it up for hours, in addition to leaving abusive messages on their answering service.
Yesterday, it was a photo of a flyer for a rape crisis helpline in Buckinghamshire – one catering for BAME women.
Posting ‘I guess it’s okay to rape white women then ??!?!?!’, his followers proceeded to call the line and tie it up for hours, in addition to leaving abusive messages on their answering service.
Those who may have needed help were out of luck. Those on the phones were harangued, harassed.
Never mind that the helpline is but one part of a service with lines catering to both women and men of all backgrounds. Never mind that it was set up as women of minority backgrounds often require a specific approach to encourage them to report sexual crimes. Never mind thinking.
Tommy just did his thing, and those on Facebook responded.
He later removed the post, but the damage was done.
A Pattern of Intimidation
It’s hardly a rare occurrence. In just the last few months, Tommy allegedly disrupted an MPs constituency surgery, caused two schools to put in place security measures, and drove across the country to doorstep the parents of a young man who criticised him.
In fact, barely a month goes by without ‘Tommy’ sparking a controversy through his social media postings.
With all the disruption caused by the former EDL leader, you might be mistaken in thinking that his page should have been shut down long ago, or at least limited to the content he can post. Any number of his actions could have triggered it.
This is especially true of his livestreams last year, during which time he attempted to report from a grooming trial in Leeds – despite the reporting ban put in place to ensure a fair trial.
“‘Tommy’ continues to post freely on both Facebook and Instagram. In fact, he is protected from having content, or his page taken down, even if they violate Facebook’s standards.”
Yet this is not the case. ‘Tommy’ continues to post freely on both Facebook and Instagram. In fact, he is protected from having content, or his page taken down, even if they violate Facebook’s standards.
Facebook claims that this is simply a measure put in place for significant or notable individuals, to stop them from being taken down unfairly by political or ideological opponents.
‘Tommy’, however, is clearly abusing the privilege – again and again.
In calls to action to his followers, he is engaging in what is known as ‘stochastic terrorism’, casting the kinds of aspersions on individuals and institutions that may cause unstable individuals to act, often violently.
“Without Facebook, ‘Tommy’ is just a loud, drunken, coked-up voice in the pub. He’s a nothing, another angry bloke will several chips on his shoulder.”
Indeed, Darren Osborne, the man who drove his van into a crowd outside Finsbury Mosque, killing one, was an avid follower of ‘Tommy and repeatedly watched his videos.
At a time when Facebook is embroiled in several scandals involving turning a blind eye to misinformation and propaganda, as well as election-tampering, it seems strange, even for reckless for the company not to act on this.
Again, they seem to be enabling him.
They want the views, the advertising dollars, the engagements. They too, are addicted.
Without Facebook, ‘Tommy’ is just a loud, drunken, coked-up voice in the pub. He’s a nothing, another angry bloke will several chips on his shoulder.
Without Facebook, he’d quickly be forced to find other means of employment, other than haranguing Muslims and other minorities in between requests for donations.
Facebook have made ‘Tommy’. Yet they do nothing to prevent the damage he causes.
Start Demanding Accountability from Facebook.
Want to stop ‘Tommy’?
Want to stop hundreds each year being forced to close their businesses for days at a time, change their phone numbers, call police?
Start demanding accountability from Facebook.
Start rejecting their services, rejecting those who advertise with it.
Most of all, get in touch with them – you can call them on 020 3386 6000 – and tell them that you won’t support a company that enables intimidation and harassment by Robinson and his fans.
That’s how you break the sick addiction the pair have.