Facebook Offends Gay Community

facebook_logoFacebook seems to be making quite a number of enemies these days with their decisions regarding censorship. First they made a bunch of breastfeeding mothers really angry by removing photos of breastfeeding babies and now they went ahead and made the gay community really angry by removing a relatively simple picture of two men kissing. As a result, Facebook was forced to swallow its pride and admit that they had been mistaken in taking down the photo.

About the Photo

The photo in question wasn’t racy and it wasn’t lewd, though it might make some people uncomfortable. The photo was, in fact, taken from a scene in British Soap Opera EastEnders. Richard Metzger used the photo in his blog post and it was flagged down. Facebook moderators apparently saw the photo and deemed it proper to remove it. They then inserted the customary ‘Content that you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook.’, hoping to make gay rights activist Richard Metzger understand why the photo “just couldn’t be on Facebook”. What they managed to achieve, instead, was to make the gay community and even the general public extremely angry, prompting users to upload the photo to their own accounts in protest. What’s ironic is that the photo was actually used to build support for a “kiss-in” event meant to promote anti-homophobia after one gay couple was asked to leave the John Snow Bar in Soho because they were kissing. By taking it down, Facebook unwittingly put itself in the same boat as John Snow Bar.

Swallowing their Pride

The protesters apparently got Facebook to change their mind, because soon after all the pictures erupted all over the place, Facebook re-evaluated their decision and said in a statement that the photo did not violate their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. They also said that the photo was “removed in error” and that they “apologize for any inconvenience”. Right, Facebook, is that really the best apology you can come up with? Well, either way, what’s done is done, and at least they got Facebook to retract its position. It’s an important victory, considering how Facebook is planning to embrace a pro-censorship attitude to get into China.

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