Facebook has the ability to suspend anyone’s account if they go against terms and conditions. As to what those terms and conditions are, it’s a long list to include using a fake name, posting inappropriate photos, engaging in spam, engaging in hate speech, and much more.
A Christian pastor in Spokane, Washington had his account suspended for three days because of a post that was criticizing Iran and their homophobic policies. Ken Peters says that he is an example of social media bias with his Facebook account being suspended. He also tweeted about his account suspension.
Facebook’s reasoning for suspending his account was because of making the LGBTQ community look “less than human.” His actual post compared LGBTQ supporting Iran to how chickens would support KFC. He said that Facebook didn’t understand the point and that it was leftist censorship.
Although Peters understands why his account was suspended, he doesn’t accept the rationale that’s behind it.
The pastor explains that his post was not hateful in any way. He was identifying that totalitarian Muslims in Iran persecute and execute LGBTQ people. Meanwhile, there are a number of freedom-loving Christians throughout America that disagree with the immorality of the LGBTQ but would never harm them. He finds it to be “strange and ironic” that the LGBTQ community would take the side of Iranians who would actually murder them if they were able to do so.
Facebook has received a significant amount of scrutiny in the recent past because of political bias that it appears their algorithm has, unfairly screening out some social media posts.
Peters, who has made headlines recently because of being the founder of the “Church at Planned Parenthood.” He holds his services outside of one of the offices of the abortion services providers as a way to show those seeking abortions that there’s a more Christian way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy.
Additionally, the Christian pastor isn’t the only one to accuse Facebook of political bias recently.
Republicans and conservatives seem to be the target of Facebook algorithms. Trump has been calling Facebook and Twitter for their discrimination for quite a while, too. Trump has said that they are trying to get to the bottom of it. The president’s comments were made following the Director of Social Media for the White House, Dan Scovino, was blocked by Facebook for making comments. Facebook apologized and said that the Director of Social Media was mistaken for being a bot.
With social media giants being accused of bias more frequently. The term “shadow banning” has become more popular as it involves posting a piece of content on social media. It appears normal to the person created it but it’s not visible to anyone else. So that other users are protected from “harmful” content. This is a practice that encourages people to leave forums due to poor engagement.
Shadow banning is typically identified because a person doesn’t receive any kind of engagement. Facebook and Twitter are the two platforms that have been accused of shadow banning the most. Facebook has responded by saying that if there is repeated use of the same word, a number of @ mentions, a significant amount of exclamation points, and such, they have trained the bots to either ban or not allow the comment to be seen by other users (shadow banning).
In regards to Dan Scovino’s account, they identified that it was a mistake and unfroze the account.
As for what Pastor Peters experienced, the account was purposely suspended for three days to prevent him from continuing to post what they deemed as hateful content toward a specific group – in this case, the LGBTQ community.
Even after Peters explained why it is that he posted, the Facebook officials did not agree. However, it was a temporary ban and Peters now has full use of his Facebook account once again.
The main issue is that it seems as though the only ones experiencing any kind of censorship are the Republicans. This has led many to wonder if social media giants are in as some part of a conspiracy with the liberals as a way to squash what conservatives are trying to say. While plenty say that it is not the case, it’s only leading to more investigations of Facebook in terms of exactly what their algorithms are being taught so that certain posts and people are filtered to the point that their posts are taken down or their accounts are being suspended.