At the end of last week Facebook announced that it had allied with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to remove what it considers anti-gay references from the social networking site.
“This violent, hateful speech has no place in our media – whether it is in print, on the airwaves or online,” GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in a press release. “Facebook has taken an important first step in making social media a place where anti-gay violence is not allowed. Our community needs to continue to be vigilant and report instances of hateful comments and images across the site to Facebook moderators as well as post messages of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.”
The site’s “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” already demands that users to adhere to basic precepts of civility while using Facebook. “You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user. You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence,” the agreement reads. Facebook further reserves the right to remove any content that violates these standards.
But not all threatening language is created equal, apparently. Among Facebook’s many online communities are groups such as, “I Hate Rush Limbaugh,” “I Can’t Wait For Rush Limbaugh to Die,” and “Rush Limbaugh Should Die Slowly.” Hateful? Yes. Threatening? Sure. So why are these groups still on Facebook?
In an email to The Daily Caller, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes did his best to explain why language criticizing homosexuality is hateful and will be censored, while calls for Rush Limbaugh’s slow death are legitimate and allowed. “Direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and are removed when reported to us,” Noyes wrote. “However, groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs — even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some — do not by themselves violate our policies. When a group created to express an opinion devolves into hate speech, we will remove the hateful comments and may even remove the group itself.”
Got that? Looks like Limbaugh needs his own anti-defamation alliance.