I received the news yesterday that the Facebook page for my book A Queer Thing Happened to America was deleted for allegedly violating Facebook’s “Community Standards.” But Facebook pages like “Hitler Fetus is our Jesus,” “Zombie Jesus,” and a host of other grossly offensive pages apparently do not violate these standards.
The Facebook page for my book had been online for about one year, containing reader comments, links to reviews, and relevant news links that some members would post. All in all, the page was quite benign and, being older, fairly inactive. As for the book itself, it is carefully and compassionately written, meticulously documented, and, in reality, an exposé of hate speech rather than an example of hate speech. Yet the page, which featured the cover of the book, allegedly violated Facebook’s Community Standards.
I found out that the page had been removed when the creator of the page posted on his personal Facebook page: “Facebook locked my account and showed me this, saying this page I created last year violated their community standards. Wow...” The note from Facebook contained a copy of the front cover of my book and stated, “We removed the following content you posted or were the admin of because it violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”
What are some of these “Rights and Responsibilities”? Under the “Safety” heading, Facebook lists: “6. You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user. 7. You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” Did my page (or book) violate any of these standards or any others listed? Absolutely, categorically not, and yet it was removed.
At the same time, Facebook allows pages like these (some of which have to be edited here because of profanity):
• “I Hate Israel” (in Arabic, with 112,666 likes)
• “F—k Israel” (54,827 likes); the emblem features a fully clothed man wiping his backside with an Israeli flag
• “Anti Israel” (1,434 likes), which contains a large banner proclaiming, “Israel Murderers” and, for its emblem, features a Star of David in a red circle with the “no” slash, all bathed in blood
These pages, which could easily be multiplied, are not in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards but the page for A Queer Thing Happened to America allegedly was?
How about pages like these? (I apologize for even having to mention some of the extremely offensive content.)
• “I Hate Jesus” (622 likes), with this blurb: “Burning churches, stapling nuns, eating your [expletive], whilst [expletive] your muda”
• “I Hate Christianity” (514 likes), described as “A group for those who hate all the prejudice bull--- and ridiculous ideas that come with Christianity... and really any other religions.”
• “Zombie Jesus” (56,635 likes), with the caption “Zombie Jesus only wants you for your brains”
There is even a page called “Hitler Fetus is our Jesus,” stating, “In our cult -ahem, religion- Hitler Fetus is our master. I mean Jesus. OUR SAVIOR.” How has this page survived even one day on Facebook?
And what about this tiny group with 13 members called, “Why are Christians Such Chicken---- Cowards?” It states, “Every time some religious retard group that claims to have facts, truth or to be able to defeat all atheists, they block any atheist who questions them .. so this group is for all you big bad xtians who think you can talk [expletive].. bring it chicken [expletives].” This is not in violation of Facebook standards?
When I learned that my book page had been deleted, I posted a comment about it on my Facebook Fan page (AskDrBrown, which at the time of this writing is still active), drawing some nasty responses in the midst of many positive ones. Some of the best were:
• Evance: Dr. Brown.....a scam artist, snake-oil selling GRIFTER. . . . Bigotry wrapped in prayer is STILL bigotry “Dr. Brown.” [Apparently, my Ph.D. does not merit the “Dr.” moniker since I oppose gay activism.]
• Scott: Poor “Dr.” Brown. He’s such a white conservative victim of the world (with a horrible porn stache). [Yes, loving and tolerant members of the LGBT community frequently attack me for my mustache.]
• Karen: What has the world come to when hateful bigots are no longer allowed to spread their hatred and bigotry whereever they want? What are you going to do with all that hate?
• Paul: You are all on the side of the dinosaurs, and you will all be as extinct soon enough. Stop spending so much time caring how other people live their lives. In the meantime, get lots of soap - because you have the blood of every bullied or dead gay kid on your hands. Those bullies learned their hatred from adults like you!
• Jason: Brown is a dime-a-dozen con artist peddling fear, and the easy blame that takes away that fear, to the gullible.
Putting the ridiculous hyperbole aside, this is really typical of the mentality of Facebook: Bashing Christianity (and Israel) is acceptable and permitted; taking respectful issue with gay activism is unacceptable and forbidden. Where have we heard this before?
Perhaps it’s time we send a message to Facebook confronting them on their bigotry and hypocrisy? You can start by recommending this article to your Facebook friends and then protesting to Facebook directly.
Update: At 1:03 PM, June 14, 2012, my contact at Facebook sent me this message. "The page has been reinstated. It was an error on our part and taken down accidentally. Our team has reached out to the quality team and double checked our internal systems to help ensure this doesn't happen again."
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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