Facebook is under fire for censoring views after it deleted a post by a Sydney man who opened the debate on same-sex marriage.
John Dickson, who runs the Centre for Public Christianity, made a post suggesting same-sex marriage advocated should accept some responsibility for making gay people feel ostracised.
Per The Australian, the post was shared with his 10,000 friends and followers on Saturday, and called for a more respectful conversation on the issue, however by Saturday night, the post had been taken down because it breached “community standards”.
Dickson, who describes himself as a traditional Christian, was not in favour of same-sex marriage, but said he would accept the final vote decided by the Australian people.
He believed the post, which received hundreds of comments, was quite a civil debate between people of diverse opinions, and was shocked it was deleted.
“It was a really good conversation — plenty of people disagreed with me, plenty agreed, but everyone kept their cool and, frankly, I think it was a model conversation,” he said.
In the 500-word post, Dickson suggested that people who show their support for same-sex marriage were guilty of using language that managed to portray LGBTI people as “second-class citizens”.
“If gay marriage advocates chose tomorrow to emphasise in public debate that it’s entirely possible to disagree with same-sex marriage and be deeply respectful of LGBTI people, isn’t it possible that young gays and lesbians listening in would be spared some of the harm this debate could cause?” Dickson wrote.
Dickson’s post reappeared again at 8.30pm on Sunday after Facebook admitted it had made a mistake. Speaking to B&T, a spokesperson said, “This comment was removed in error. We promptly restored the comment once we realised this, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
But this isn’t the first time Facebook has been accused of using its influential power to push its own agenda.
According to Gizmodo, in a recent internal poll of staff on what to ask Zuckerberg in an upcoming Q&A session, Facebook’s role in stopping Trump was the fifth highest rated issue.
A question from the March 4 poll was: “What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017?”
It comes after Zuckerberg condemned Trump’s presidential policies, without mentioning his name specifically, during the keynote speech of the company’s annual F8 developer conference.
“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others,’” Zuckerberg said, never referring to Trump by name.
“I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases, even for cutting access to the internet.”
The potential for Facebook to support or block someone, depending on their own agenda, is a very real possibility, with UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh telling Gizmodo the giant can “promote or block any material that it wants”.
“Facebook has the same First Amendment right as the New York Times. They can completely block Trump if they want. They block him or promote him.”