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The Facebook Incident

3 comments | 1:34 am | top |
On Thursday 15 I looked at my Feedjit and found that someone (presumably a young woman) in Christchurch had searched for "I am 14 weeks pregnant, is this too late to have an abortion?" and she had found the post on my blog entitled What is Abortion. So I wrote about this on my Facebook wall,



Facebook allows you to have a picture with your link, and so I chose the picture of the 24wk foetus who had been killed by abortion. On Friday the post had dissapeared and I could tell that Facebook had removed it because they thought it was offensive. However there was no message from Facebook to tell me anything about this. So I reposted the link, this time using the picture of the 9wk foetus (arguably less offensive).


On Saturday when I woke up I discovered that Facebook had indefinitely disabled my account, and I was unable to login. I read the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and found that it was most likely that Facebook considered I had broken section 3.7, which states,

You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

The photos are definitely not examples of gratuitous violence. Further, these two photos did not depict violence, but rather the victims of violence. Also, under the law in the United States and in NZ (where abortion is essentially available on demand), a foetus is not seen as a life worthy of protecting, and is usually seen as a non-person. How then, can killing this entity be an act of violence if there is nothing wrong with it; if it is merely a medical procedure? Do we call a photo of a heart transplant "violent"? I don't think so.

I emailed them on Saturday (17 Oct) asking them to restore my account ,

...I hadn't read the statement, so can honestly say this was not an intentional breach of the guidelines. As it is your website which you allow people to use for free, I absolutely respect your right to make any regulations you wish. Could you please re-enable my account? I have now read the statement of rights and will adhere to it in the future.

To their credit, Facebook responded early yesterday morning (21 Oct),

Your account has been suspended because you posted content through Facebook's Links application that has been removed for violating Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Links that include drug use, nudity, or other graphic or sexually suggestive content are not allowed, nor are links that depict violence or that attack an individual or group of people. Unfortunately, for technical and security reasons, we are unable to provide further information about the removed link.

However, after reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account...

My mate wrote on his wall to let people known I'd been removed from Facebook - here's some of the feedback...

Why would you post a picture of an aborted baby? It's abusively offensive
>> Its abusively offensive to abort a baby.
>>Pro-lifers are abusively offensive.

That is ridiculous. If I posted a kidney or a tonsil I bet I wouldn't be banned. If it is just tissue that can be electively removed then what is the problem? How can tissue be offensive?

Are you serious!?!?!? Wow, and they allow facebook groups that promote genocide (including of Jews) instead??

While I believe Facebook technically misapplied their own standards in deciding to disable my account, and were wrong in that they removed two of my posts and disabled my account without even a warning, overall I've been happy with their response and the resolution of this incident.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous theannalyzer said...

You realize this is a great angle we could argue from ... Placards with one of those photos, with a caption saying something like: "It doesn't matter, it's only tissue."

4:10 am, October 22, 2009 
Anonymous theannalyzer said...

I was thinking how we could write a full article like that, actually, writing as a pseudo-anti-pro-lifer. Lol. Maybe God is using your fb disabling for good? :)

4:12 am, October 22, 2009 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

God uses everything for our good Anna... :P Yes, I am keen to look into that suggestion.

4:51 pm, October 22, 2009 

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