Facebook has apologized for removing a photo of a mixed-race gay couple’s wedding from Gay Marriage USA’s page then subsequently blocking the administrator from gaining access.
The marriage equality campaign’s Facebook page has over 295,000 followers, but its founder, Murray Lipp, was notified that the photo of a bishop getting married to his husband at a small Pentecostal church was deemed “offensive”.
Lipp was also banned for a week from posting content to Gay Marriage USA for violating Facebook’s “policies and community standards”.
The Guardian reports:
Prior to the image being removed by Facebook, it had garnered a significant number of homophobic comments including: “I am just in disgust with their lifestyle. It’s disgusting and completely vile.”
Another said: “Someone please explain to me how it is acceptable when man and man/woman or woman cannot conceive children? It is our purpose in life to conceive children.”
Others quoted passages from the bible that prohibit gay sex and threatened to get the Gay Marriage USA Facebook page shut down.
According to Lipp, he has been a victim of Facebook’s rigid and oft-random restrictions over the past year due to homophobic comments made by other users.
“Not once has Facebook ever contacted me to give me an opportunity to respond,” Lipp told The Guardian, “it simply blocks me each time and each time the block is for a longer period of time. It’s totally unjust that I should be punished for someone else’s homophobia.”
Once The Guardian stepped in and let Facebook know of the situation, Lipp and the “offensive” photo were reinstated. A spokesman for Facebook also offered this apology:
“The content of the photograph in question did not violate our terms, however it was removed in error. Normally these comments are reviewed separately and removed where appropriate. In this instance the photograph itself was mistakenly taken down, despite there being nothing in the picture that breaks our rules. We apologize for the error.”
A source at Facebook claims that the social media giant is reviewing the way it deals with the thousands of complaints it receives daily to reduce the number of mistakes it “occasionally” makes.