MP runs foul of Facebook censors

Graphic content: A poster celebrating love in many forms.

Too much loving for Facebook in MP’s post

A GAY MP has been censored by Facebook after sharing an image of LGBTQI+ couples embracing.

Maylands MP Lisa Baker was highlighting International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia on May 17 with a poster which was headlined “Celebrate the power of love” and had a caption stating the day was “a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities”.

Ms Baker added a comment that: “Today we recognise and celebrate” but Facebook blurred the entire poster.

Clicking on it yielded a warning the blur was covering “sensitive content. This photo may show violent or graphic content”. 

A further warning said while the photo didn’t break Facebook’s rules, either its automated technology or someone on its review team had decided it counted as “graphic content” and should be covered “so people can choose whether to see it”.

This category included “animal abuse, death, wounds, someone’s life being threatened [and] suicide and self-harm”. 

Eventually clicking through the warnings did reveal the innocuous poster to adult users, but Facebook rendered it completely invisible to anyone under 18. 

Lisa Baker.

Ms Baker tells us Facebook’s censoring was “unbelievable”.

“I can’t believe that Facebook has done that,” she said, adding the youth demographic who were completely blocked from viewing it were often most in need of support and recognition.

“[It’s] a harmless cartoon of hugging and just being close, nothing untoward about any aspect of it… and I thought it was fantastically inclusive.”

She said the message she’d wanted to get across was “to celebrate LGBTIQ+ people in our community and recognise the work that’s still needed to be done to stamp out discrimination”, calling on people to become a visible ally who speaks up against homophobia, biphobia, interphobia, and transphobia. 

While the poster was deemed unacceptable, links to first-person footage filmed by a white supremacist mass shooter in Buffalo, New York, have been shared countless thousands of times on Facebook since the May 14 massacre of 10 people.

When some users tried to report the links to Facebook, they received messages saying “the post was reviewed, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific community standards… we understand that it may still be offensive or distasteful to you” and it suggested unfriending or blocking the person who’d posted it.

Facebook’s since started deleting and blocking some of the links, but footage of the murders was still easily found four days later as we went to press.

by DAVID BELL

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