Reports that Facebook has censored LGBT imagery and language are hitting the Internet today. It’s an unwelcome change from Facebook’s long-standing pro-gay stance, from diversity initiatives at the corporate-employee level to the site’s permissive attitude toward gay content to its proactive, GLAAD-approved anti-bullying efforts.
Towleroad reports that Facebook took down a picture of two men kissing, taken by well-known Spanish photographer Juan Hidalgo (right), on a group page that ironically was promoting a homo-positive art festival in Madrid. The reason: it breached a decency code that barred images of a “political, sexual or other sensitive” nature.
UPDATE (Fri, 3/22, 5:30pm): Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes responds: “Upon investigation, we concluded the advertisement does not violate our guidelines and was removed in error. The ad is now running and we apologize for the inconvenience.”
Another instance of censorship, reported by AMERICAblog: Intel has a Facebook app called “What About Me?” that allows you to make a pretty graphic with information pulled from your Facebook and Twitter feeds. The objectionable thing: the word “gay” is censored whenever it appears, such as in a shared news story about Tyler Clementi (the **** roommate at left). Now, this is more on Intel than on Facebook, but Facebook should not allow a homophobic app to pull content from its feeds.
Perhaps the international nature of the Spanish culture group and the Intel app mean that Facebook has to be more conservative, but these instances are downright unbecoming given GLAAD’s announcement that Facebook will receive a Special Recognition Award “for the company’s strong stand and leadership around bullying prevention as well as its inclusive options for LGBT users,” presented at the San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards on June 2nd.
It’s probably just a cog or two in the FB machine gone rogue, but don’t let those dumb censors ruin your very positive image, Facebook.
Here’s Queerty’s independent test of the Intel app’s censorship. It censors the F-word, gay, and lesbian, but not GAYEST or LGBT. Ha.
The Facebook post was: “gay gay test Facebook gay LGBT then lesbian.”
And the Twitter: “what’s the gayest thing you could LGBT gay tweet gay.”