Some Facebook users are fed up with what they feel is unfair targeting of conservative content and users by the social media site. In protest, they are organizing a 24-hour Facebook blackout this weekend.
The Facebook Blackout group, which has more than 26,000 followers as of Friday morning, more specifically states it is protesting the site’s “arbitrary and capricious policies targeting conservatives with censoring and suspensions.”
“The issue is about First Amendment rights,” one of the group’s administrators Mark Mumma told TheBlaze in a phone interview this week.
TheBlaze has reported on several cases in the past: posts from the conservative site Twitchy were “accidentally removed during Facebook’s review process” last year; Kirk Cameron’s Christian film “Unstoppable” was blocked for a time; and there were three other cases reported earlier this year.
Mumma is one of many conservatives on Facebook who say they have had their posts flagged and have even been banned for some length of time from the site for violating its community guidelines. Mumma explained that while they all understand Facebook is a private company and can choose to prohibit whatever content it wants, those supporting the blackout event take issue with what they think is biased enforcement of its policies.
“The point is to draw attention to the disparity in the way Facebook is enforcing its community standards,” Mumma said.
But Facebook told TheBlaze in a statement that it not only supports freedom of speech but enforces its standards uniformly across the board.
“We review every piece of content that is reported to us or flagged in the system and each one is held to the same exact standard – as is every person who uses our service and we will enforce our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities equally,” a Facebook spokesperson told TheBlaze in an email.
“We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views,” the spokesperson continued. “With over 1 billion people around the world with varying opinions and ideals we find this discussion a necessary part of making the world more open and connected. This means our users can potentially be exposed to view points they adamantly disagree with.”
Controversial content is reported to Facebook authorities by other users, but Facebook told us they have protections in place “against those who may try and game the reporting system.”
If this is the case and if Facebook says it doesn’t remove content or put users in what some call “Facebook jail” unless policies are violated, then why do some users think they’re getting banned specifically for being conservative or for posting what might be considered conservative content?
Facebook emphasized that when it reviews content, it is “for no other reason than to determine whether it is in violation of our terms of service.”
The Facebook Blackout group is asking participants to deactivate their accounts for 24-hours — at least — Sunday. But do they really think what is actually very small percentage of the more than 1 billion Facebook users participating in the protest will result in change? Yes and no.
“No, we don’t think (Mark) Zuckerberg will care, which is kind of the reason we’re protesting this,” Mumma said. But “maybe businesses, advertisers or investors” will take notice — someday — Mumma continued.
“All we’re asking is for them to enforce their policy fairly,” Mumma said.
But, as we’ve reported of Facebook’s statements, the site says it already does.
Mumma said he realizes that people don’t “have to use Facebook,” but “if you are a person that likes liberty, likes the First Amendment …likes everything the U.S. stands for,” then it’s for those people this protest is organized for.
(H/T: Joe N.)