Virtual Voices

Facebook, gays, and Rush Limbaugh

Issues

Facebook is making a special effort to block anti-homosexual references from its pages. Unfortunately, the social networking site isn't applying the same kind of vigor across the board.

In partnership with GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network), and other groups, Facebook recently announced the formation of a program called "Network of Support." In a press release, GLAAD's president praised the move: "Facebook has taken an important first step in making social media a place where anti-gay violence is not allowed."

Sounds good, right? Violence, hateful speech, and bullying shouldn't be tolerated against homosexuals or anyone else. But as The Daily Caller points out in its report on the matter, "not all threatening language is created equal, apparently." For example, there are at least three Facebook communities devoted to, shall we say, disliking Rush Limbaugh. There's "I Hate Rush Limbaugh," "Rush Limbaugh Should Die Slowly," and "I Can't Wait For Rush Limbaugh to Die."

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Facebook president Andrew Noyes responded by email to The Daily Caller about the disparity of allowing those groups while cracking down on anti-homosexual pages:

"Direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and are removed when reported to us. . . . 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."

Could someone please explain to me how Facebook communities wishing for Rush Limbaugh's death, slow or otherwise, aren't engaging in hate speech?

This, of course, comes on the heels of an investigation by Fox News that revealed how Facebook is being used for the sexual exploitation of children.

If only children and Rush had powerful anti-defamation organizations representing them.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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