Facebook recently apologized for closing down Evangelist Franklin Graham’s Facebook page for 24 hours.
According to a Foxnews report, a moderator (one of 15,000) working for the giant social media company pulled Graham’s page based on a post the evangelist wrote in 2016 defending North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB20 law.
The state introduced the law after the city of Charlotte introduced a regulation allowing people to use public washrooms based on the sex that they identified with. This meant, that a person born a biological male, but who now identified as female, would be allowed to use a female washroom and shower. HB2 was intended to modify the Charlotte regulation.
After this legislation was introduced, there was an immediate backlash from activists. In an April 9, 2016, post Graham responded to Bruce Springsteen’s decision to cancel a concert in the state because of HB2:
Bruce Springsteen, a long-time gay rights activist, has cancelled his North Carolina concert. He says the NC law #HB2 to prevent men from being able to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms is going “backwards instead of forwards.” Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands. Back to common sense. Mr. Springsteen, a nation embracing sin and bowing at the feet of godless secularism and political correctness is not progress. I’m thankful North Carolina has a governor, Pat McCrory, and a lieutenant governor, Dan Forest, and legislators who put the safety of our women and children first! HB2 protects the safety and privacy of women and children and preserves the human rights of millions of faith-based citizens of this state.”
The moderator decided Graham’s post broke Facebook’s “dehumanizing language” rule and called for its review which resulted in Graham’s Facebook page being pulled.
Since all Graham was doing was defending HB2, could it be argued that this moderator was also censoring the views of duly elected politicians in North Carolina?
Several massive corporations such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Apple and even the declining legacy media are wanting to be the arbiters of free speech in the world instead of elected governments. There is universal agreement that we should ban violent, hate speech, but many are now wanting to classify disagreement as hate speech.
The critical issue is can a person disagree without hating? The US Constitution says you can.
But despite this many powerful corporations are going beyond the law and by doing this are imposing a form of censorship. They want to be the enforcers of what is acceptable speech and what isn’t, not governments. They want to curtail free speech and liberties.
In fact, the North Carolina government rewrote HB2 after protests from LGBT activists and several corporations that threatened to stop doing business in the state.
Fortunately, Facebook recognized the error of its moderator and apologized.
In an interview with Foxnews, Graham identified the real issue when he said:
“Let [Facebook] be a platform for all ideas. I’m against hate speech, I’m against people using Facebook to incite violence against someone, that’s terrible….
“The problem with Facebook, if you disagree with their position on sexual orientation then you could be classified as hate speech, or that you are racists. This is a problem…
Actually, Facebook is censoring free speech. The free exchange of ideas is part of our country’s DNA.”
The US Constitution’s First Amendment protects five basic freedoms that are “essential components of a healthy society”:
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of the press
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of petition