Rob Yardley, a member of the board of The Berean Call (a ministry often quoted on this website), alleges that Facebook removed an article posted on June 9 on a page belonging to TBC author Dave Hunt. Yardley alleges in the same post that the removal was accompanied by a warning from the social networking site.
The posted text came from Hunt’s May 1993 TBC article, “Weep for Your Children!” The article discusses the growing acceptance of homosexuality, abortion, paganism, and anti-Christian psychology in both secular society and Christian churches. Acceptance of these things was growing two decades ago, and is growing even faster today! Unfortunately, an embrace of biblical teaching on such subjects makes for a controversial stand today, but there was nothing in the article that violated the Facebook Community Standards.
The article contained no violence or threats; no self harm; no graphic content; no nudity or pornography; no identity theft or violation of privacy; no intellectual property violations; and no phishing or spam. No “private individuals” were attacked (although public figures, then-President Clinton and then-Vice President Gore, were confronted for public attitudes and views expressed on some of these issues). The site’s standard on hate speech states:
“While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, it is a serious violation to attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition” (Facebook Community Standards).
Hunt did “challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices,” but I did not see him single anyone out for a personal attack—disagreeing with someone is not a personal attack.
When the objection was raised on Hunt’s page that perhaps there was a glitch with the site and that TBC leaders were rushing into conspiracy theories, Yardley responded as follows:
“I didn’t jump to a conclusion. They made me re-login, then had a text that said something like, ‘The following post was removed for violating Facebook’s policies’ (with a copy of my post and a link to their policies). It also noted that I should check my page for other violations, and that I would be removed from Facebook for further violations” (Yardley).
I would love to think there had been some kind of mistake, but I have no reason to doubt Yardley’s account. I cannot say with certainty that the site is deliberately censoring Christian speech, but if so, it certainly would not be the first time that our message was unwelcome in this world.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
And it won’t be the last time, either.