The First Amendment is a tricky one. It protects my right to practice my religion but also protects those speaking badly about it.
But what happens when someone’s “free speech” becomes a personal attack on Facebook of someone’s religion? Well, here is what Facebook’s own guidelines have to say about this:
Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their: race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.
But when my friend reported anti-religious hate speech personally attacking him and his beliefs, what did Facebook do? Nothing.
Actually they did worse than nothing. They wrote back and said this does not violate their policy.
Wait… what? An attack on people based on their religious affiliation?
Seriously? What about that whole declaration that Facebook removes hate speech which includes content that directly attacks people based on their religious affiliation?
They’re cool with letting a bunch of crazy-gross anti-religious freaks denigrate Islam and say things I wouldn’t dream of repeating.
So basically they either don’t care to follow their own policy or they don’t consider that all citizens of this country, of any religion or belief or none, have a guaranteed right to freely express and practice their religion. Or this particular guidelines review was done by a bigot who turns a blind eye to infractions.
So I Googled it and found this is no isolated incident; it’s a systemic problem for Facebook. In this article from HuffPost, it’s said that they’re cool with letting a bunch of crazy-gross anti-religious freaks denigrate Islam and say things I wouldn’t dream of repeating. Oh, and they’ll apparently overlook it when there’s a woman involved (despite their claims otherwise), according to this article in Fortune. She’s a politician and a public figure, so I guess death threats don’t apply in those guidelines. So despite the Facebook site being run by self-proclaimed social warriors, they’re not very good at fighting the battle against discrimination.
Come on, Facebook. It’s time to start following your own guidelines. That, or take them down and stop pretending you’re doing something about it.