February 1, 2015

February 1, 2015
Why Does Facebook Censor Gay Images?

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and it is also the first day of February already! Amazing how quickly time flies by the old I get.

About a month ago, Facebook decided to deactivate my facebook page I had on there for over 6 years. Supposedly someone has complained about a picture on my account like the one posted on this blog today.

The funny thing is I see a ton of pictures featuring heterosexuals which are far more pornographic that this pic on the blog today. So what gives? Who makes these decisions on Facebook?

According to Facebook's own standards, I have not broken the rules of what's allowed and yet photos repeatedly get censored. I suspect homophobic users are reporting my page and trying to get me banned, but the inner-workings of Facebook's moderation system are opaque. Like I said earlier, complaints from haters got them to take down my old page.

Complaints to Facebook were regularly met with apologies and reinstatements, only to have my work removed again. I contacted Facebook for comment about my case and received what is becoming a fairly standard explanation from a spokesman: “We mistakenly removed a post from this Page after it was reported to us. As our team processes more than one million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake. We apologize for the inconvenience that it caused.”

Facebook often faces controversy over exactly what is allowed on the social network, and it often issues public apologies when it turns out a moderator somewhere has removed something in error.

The problem has existed a long time. For example in 2011 the Internet was outraged after a photo was banned of a gay couple kissing in the British television show, Eastenders. Facebook said it was a mistake and apologized for the inconvenience then, as well.

I have chronicled what I sees as an ongoing doubles tandard in moderating content with an LGBT appeal, versus straight appeal

After this latest ban, I again contacted Facebook Public Relations and they ignored my calls and emails, some of which I still have. This was an interesting situation because I believe I know who reported the photo. It was most likely a gay graphics designer who stole one of my photos and used it for a bar ad. He and I were going back and forth on what he had done, and his employer made him pay a license fee for image usage. So, Facebook's reporting system is an effective revenge tool.

Since Facebook will not communicate with me about any of this, I have no idea how things work. Just when I think I understand the rules, Facebook surprises me, removes something and bans me. Their reporting system is definitely a factor. I have some people who hate me so much they sit on my page and report everything.

Then someone reported my new page. There was an appeal process, which I opted to take. Along with a list of requirements, I had to declare that I would use my page for personal use only. I also had to submit government ID... within about 24 hours or have this page deleted.

I got very angry, as were my followers. Many of my followers were pissed, posting on my page that this is an attack on the LGBT and HIV communities, but I know that it goes beyond that — it is also a feminist issue. So, I decided to blog a commentary on this. Wanting to bring balance to my commentary to see what you think.

Drop me a line and let me know. Hope you have a beary safe and great start to your month.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab