Facebook has found itself under fire the last few years for its seeming lack of tolerance towards conservative and Christian viewpoints, and new reports claiming the social network has purged dozens of high profile Catholic pages from its site are certainly not helping matters.
According to Catholic News Agency, some 20 Catholic pages—many with several million followers—have been blocked from Facebook in the last 48 hours with nary a word of explanation offered. Most of the affected pages come from South America, though at least four are English-language accounts with administrators in the United States and Africa.
Godwin Delali Adadzie, a Ghanaian who runs the English-language page was “Jesus and Mary,” told CNA that Facebook asked him to upload a photo of himself on Monday because his personal account had been “suspected of suspicious activities.” While he quickly regained access to his personal account, he was told the “Jesus and Mary” page was disabled. He has sent two appeals to Facebook to have it reinstated but has yet to hear back.
Other pages that have been blocked include the English-language “Catholic and Proud,” with six million followers, and the fan page of U.S. priest and executive director of Relevant Radio Fr. Francis J. Hoffman, which had 3.5 million likes.
Facebook has not issued any formal statements or returned any requests for comment related to the censoring. Adadzie told CNA that he reviewed Facebook’s policies “and, honestly, I do not see any that I have violated in order for my page to be withdrawn.”
Earlier this month, Faithwire reported Facebook’s refusal to consider adding a Christian cross to its selection of reaction emojis, despite the fact that it had added a rainbow flag in honor of Pride Month. In a terse statement to HuffPost, the site firmly came down against the idea of the cross, saying, “This reaction is not actually available on Facebook, and is not something we’re working on.”
That controversy came on the heels of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announcing his grand plans fort the social network that now includes 2 billion members worldwide. At a tech conference in June, Zuckerberg boasted of Facebook’s new artificial intelligence capabilities that are helping to organize the site’s users into data-driven groups, while dreaming of a world in which his social network would one day replace churches and Little League teams as the basis of communities.
“We started a project to see if we could get better at suggesting groups that will be meaningful to you,” he explained. “We started building artificial intelligence to do this. And it works. In the first 6 months, we helped 50% more people join meaningful communities.”
“It’s so striking that for decades, membership in all kinds of groups has declined as much as one-quarter,” he continued. “That’s a lot of of people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support somewhere else.”
(H/T: Todd Starnes)