Add one more arbitrary and capricious act of anti-Christian-censorship bigotry to the list of Facebook blocks.
The Gospel music group Zion’s Joy! posted its new song “What Would Heaven Look Like,” a purely spiritual Christian praise song, to Facebook, boosting it with a $100 purchase – only to see the song censored for “political content.”
In a statement, a Facebook spokeswoman said that its political ad policy is “new, broad and exists to prevent election interference, so we’re asking people with content that falls under those rules to simply get authorized and show who paid for the ad in order for it to run.”
“Separately, we made an error by deleting the original post,” the statement continued. “As soon as we identified what happened, we restored the post since it does not violate our Community Standards and have apologized to Zion’s Joy.”
But the pattern of Facebook “errors” is alarming, especially insofar as “political content.” The First Amendment, protecting free speech, freedom of religion and the free press, was predicated to protect, among other things, political speech. Yet, with near-monopoly control as the predominant social-media site in the world, Facebook is making some shockingly horrific calls.
The New York Times recently pointed out that posts “on subjects as innocuous as a cake recipe” — have been treated as political advertising by Facebook. More recently, Facebook notified a publisher in Texas that it had violated the social network’s standards on hate speech by posting an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.
Under Facebook’s new rules, all “election-related and issue ads” — including posts that are promoted through paid boosts — must contain a disclosure about who paid for them, and the ads will be collected into a searchable archive.
While the first 30 seconds of the four-minute video for “What Would Heaven Look Like” include scenes of protesters crying, waving the American flag and being carried away in stretchers, there is also a brief image of a demonstrator, standing in front of a building bearing a “Trump” logo, who is holding a sign critical of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The rest of the video shows the group’s singers lip-syncing in a recording studio and on a rooftop.
“We want to touch people’s hearts and let people know that we can do better than the world is doing right now,” Robert W. Stevenson, the group’s founder, said in an interview. “We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t leaning one way or the other. That it was just how we felt — people loving each other, regardless of race, creed or color.”
The song’s lyric imagines all people praising God and pictures a world in which “bigotry and hate are absent, only love and peace are present.”
Stevenson said he chose not to label the video as “political content” for another purchase on Facebook.
“That would be like admitting that it’s political content, and it’s not,” Stevenson said. “We’re preaching peace and love and coming together.”