Facebook bans Church website

http://churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/religious-freedom/religious-freedom

Apparently, anti-church trolls have reported this link as violating “community standards” to facebook, so you can’t share it, link to it, or even PM it to someone with facebook.

To help fight this, if you have a facebook accout, try and share it. Fb will stop you, but will give you a link to explain why you think it does not violate community standards. Use that link (but be respectful and polite). Hopefully, if enough people do that, it will not longer be on the banned list.

[Edit for clarification: Only the specific page on religious freedom linked above seems blocked by facebook. This post is not claiming the entire Church’s website is blocked].

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About Ivan Wolfe

Ivan Wolfe teaches rhetoric at Arizona State University. He has a PhD in English from the University of Texas - Austin, and a BA and MA in English (with minors in Classical Greek, Music, and Philosophy) from BYU. He has several credits on various Christmas albums aimed at the LDS market, several essays in Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy series, and various book reviews in academic and popular venues. He also competes in Scottish Highland Games and mud run/obstacle course races, and he can deadlit over double his bodyweight (his last PR was over 500 pounds). He is currently married to Lisa Renee Wolfe. He has six kids and four stepkids.

19 thoughts on “Facebook bans Church website

  1. A few months back I was trying to share links from the “For the Strength of Youth” online version with someone in FB messenger. Facebook had blocked it as well. I think I reported it and then moved on with my day. Seems like a violation of free speech and religious freedom, but it’s probably just someone tricking the automated systems.

  2. I think it’s just anti-church types gaming the algorithims. If a cite gets a certain amount of flags from people, it automatically blocks the sites. I’ve seen several prominent people (authors and musicians) have their sites or post blocked like that, when a digital mob gets stirred up over on reddit or 4chan or wherever and enough people report something.

  3. This action violates the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. This is the “Community Standard” of the United States of America. Freedom of Religion. The right to express that belief. The right to publish that belief. This faith does not promote violence or denigration of any race or group of people. It considers all mankind as equals. As brothers and sisters.

  4. Actually, it doesn’t violate the First Amendment, because it’s not a government action, and the First Amendment only applies to government actions. Facebook is allowed to censor in any way it deems fit, just like you are. Whether it should do so is another thing entirely.

  5. Claiming 1st amendment violations for this is crying wolf. Seriously, people. Facebook is not the government.

    Now, there is an interesting argument to be made about “public accommodations” and the whole “bake the cake” argument where businesses may be forced to express/participate in views they disagree with because they are “public accommodations” but at the moment, facebook is not the government, so the 1st amendment is not at issue here.

  6. I just barely shared an article from the Friend and it didn’t give me an error message.

  7. Yeah, about that. It doesn’t matter whether one person or ten thousand people complain to Facebook. Their content policies aren’t a democratic vote. If their content administrators decided to ban it, then it’s banned. If you don’t agree with their policy you aren’t forced to use their platform.

  8. Did you guys ever consider that the reason Facebook banned sharing this content had nothing to do with “anti-Mormon trolls” but that sharing it may have been a copyright violation? Perhaps it was someone from church administration who insisted Facebook remove it.

  9. Eric, but, due to _flagging_, things get blocked _before_ the platform’s content reviewers (usually outside contractors) look at them and make a decision. When “n” users flag something, it triggers the block, or the de-monetization/whatever. It is then up to the content-creator, or poster, or person sending the link, to make an appeal for a human reviewer to look at it and make a decision.

    This allows “the mob” to at least temporarily block stuff they don’t like. And, in the case of Youtube monetization, it denies content creators’ 97% of their income. Because 97% of the views are in the first few days after posting, and by the time it is appealed, reviewed, and finally approved/re-monetized, everyone who wanted to see it has seen it, no more views, no more ads, no more income.

    All social media platforms rely on this crowd-sourcing type of flagging, otherwise it would be too costly to have humans review everything. And, if the content originator doesn’t complain/appeal about being blocked, the platform doesn’t have to do anything. And if no one flags it, then fine, no one needs to review it.

    Hopefully, … hopefully,… platforms deprecate, or ignore, future flags from users who are consistently over-ruled by human reviewers. “Good” flaggers supposedly would be weighted heavier toward the “n” flag threshhold.

    From what I’ve heard from content creators, there are hordes of people who regularly automatically flag everything from the conservative content creators who are on their hit list.

    Ivan: Prager U has an interesting lawsuit going against google. Just caught bits and pieces of the news. Not sure of the details, but it seems to be related to the public accomodation and platform versus publisher concepts.

  10. Happy to see you used “anti-church” instead of “anti-Mormon.” Don’t let Satan win.

  11. When I tried just now, it was still blocked. I think block is for the specific “religious freedom” page, not all of the Church website content.

  12. How do I share something from the church website? I dont see the facebook logo… or do you mean to share the article about FB blocking the article?

  13. Hi Kristy,

    When you paste that url into a comment on Facebook, Facebook refuses to let you submit your post.

  14. I suppose that there needs to be more people appealing the block. If enough people appeal the block, maybe a human reviewer will get around to it.

    If you don’t appeal (clicking the “let us know” link) you are tacitly agreeing with the block.

    (I don’t do facebook.)

  15. In other words, our team has to play the crowd-sourcing game as much as the mobs do, or their blocks win.

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