My recent interaction with Facebook confirmed what many have already observed: You can mock Jesus and the Christian faith on Facebook in the crudest and ugliest terms without penalty (as you’ll see in a moment, I do mean “crudest and ugliest”), but if you dare post something that is considered offensive to LGBT members, you could very well be punished.
To recap briefly, earlier this month , on two consecutive days, Facebook deleted the page for my book A Queer Thing Happened to America for alleged violation of community standards. The first time it was removed, Facebook told me that it was deleted accidentally; when it happened again (the very next day, with a stern warning sent to my colleague who had created the page), I emailed documentation to Facebook, showing them where at least one gay Facebook group had targeted my page.
Several hours later, with sincere apologies from my contact at Facebook, the page was restored and I was assured that the complaints of a few people should not be able to take a page down. For this I am grateful, but my serious concerns about censorship and double standards remain.
After all, in March, Facebook was the first social media company to be honored by GLAAD (most accurately described as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement), largely because of Facebook’s Network of Support (NOS), through which “Facebook partners with GLAAD; MTV; the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); the Trevor Project; the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN); and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).”
Can anyone tell me with a straight face that Facebook’s partnership with some of the biggest gay activist organizations in the world (and MTV) does not indicate a strong gay bias and, as a corollary, a strong, anti-conservative Christian bias? Can anyone believe they are impartial?
Facebook states that it “does not tolerate hate speech,” explaining, “While we encourage the discussion of ideas, institutions, events, and practices, it is a serious violation of our terms to single out individuals based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or disease.”
Of course, my page (and book) contained no hate speech and no individuals were targeted. And I stand with Facebook in condemning hate speech against any group or individual. Yet the fact remains that my book page was removed twice for alleged violations of community standards after gay groups launched complaints, and since then, other colleagues have told me of similar experiences they have had. (Again, the common denominator is that their pages or posts were targeted by gay groups on Facebook; otherwise, there is no way Facebook would know the material existed, since Facebook is not monitoring every page and comment.)
As bad as this is, Facebook’s response to other pages that are truly offensive has been absolutely deplorable.
Gene C sent me this message:
Unbelievable!!! A friend of mine, who knows I’m a committed Christian and post my beliefs and teachings constantly on Facebook, messaged me with this title of a Facebook page:
“Can you believe Facebook allows this?
‘F— Your F— ing God, You Ignorant Blinded Dumb F—’” (please excuse the language. I’m so sorry.)
So I reported it to Facebook and got this reply:
“Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”
WHAT?!?!! I know what happened to your page recently but WOW! Just WOW!!! I have no words to express my disgust.
The actual page features a revised version of Da Vinci’s Last Supper in which a Satan-like creature stands in the center of the disciples and on the table, in front of him, lays the severed and gory head, shoulders, and chest of Jesus. And Facebook has the audacity to write back, “After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.” As Gene so eloquently said, “WHAT?!?!!”
The page, with 3,538 likes, carries a stern warning too: “If you can’t figure out what this page is about from the title, then get the f— off! Trolls will be dealt with swiftly and without mercy!”
Another friend sent me a link to the Facebook page “Pro-Lifers Are Hypocrites,” telling me that he wrote to Facebook about its offensive content but didn’t have high hopes that it would be removed. (He was correct.) When I clicked on the page, which did not sound that bad, I was totally shocked: A grotesque, large image depicts two men kissing with open mouths, one who is supposed to be Jesus and the other who is supposed to be Satan. Yet this depravity does not violate Facebook’s community standards (“WHAT?!?!!”) while a page opposing homosexual activism allegedly does.
Join me in calling on Facebook to step higher and clean up its act by clicking “Recommend” on this article and sharing it with your Facebook friends. It’s time to take action.
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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