A worship song has been censored by social media giant Facebook for being “too political.” Gospel music group Zion’s Joy! posted its new track “What Would Heaven Look Like” with a $100 promotion, only to find it had been blocked for being “political content.”
In light of recent revelations over the use of Facebook ads to sway various political elections, the company announced that it would be cracking down on the use of its platform to manipulate its users into supporting a particular political party or individual.
In response to a complaint from the Christian music group, a Facebook spokeswoman said that the political ad policy is “new, broad and exists to prevent election interference, so we’re asking people with content that falls under those rules to simply get authorized and show who paid for the ad in order for it to run.”
“Separately, we made an error by deleting the original post,” the statement continued, according to WND. “As soon as we identified what happened, we restored the post since it does not violate our Community Standards and have apologized to Zion’s Joy.”
But Facebook’s latest censorship policies are still far from perfect. The New York Times recently pointed out that posts “on subjects as innocuous as a cake recipe” have been flagged as “political content.” Additionally, one Texas user was flagged for posting a section of the Declaration of Independence.
Under Facebook’s newly enforced publishing rules, “election-related and issue ads” must clearly disclose the political entity that is financing the content. The ads will also be collated into a searchable archive, supposedly to make the whole process of political advertising on the platform more transparent.
As for the music video, it is likely that Facebook flagged the content due to the presence of Dakota Access Pipeline protestors, an American flag and a building emblazoned with the Trump brand logo.
“We want to touch people’s hearts and let people know that we can do better than the world is doing right now,” Robert W. Stevenson, the group’s founder, said in an interview, as reported by The New York Times. “We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t leaning one way or the other. That it was just how we felt — people loving each other, regardless of race, creed or color.”
Stevenson added that the lyrics of the track point to a time when “bigotry and hate are absent, only love and peace are present.” He explained the group’s decision not to label the video as “political content.”
“That would be like admitting that it’s political content, and it’s not,” Stevenson noted. “We’re preaching peace and love and coming together.”
The lyrics to the song go as follows:
“Hear the people crying longing for peace
Endless strife war in our streets
Hearts are so divided
Eyes that can’t see
Is there hope for humanity?
Yes there’s a place where sorrow and heartache won’t exist
Mankind will stand hand and hand
Every race and creed will praise Him every tongue from every nation
As one we’ll all worship His name
People of every color loving one another tell me
What would heaven look like?
Bigotry and hate are absent only love and peace are present tell me
What would heaven feel like?
I know it might feel like this trouble will stay but this world will soon fade away
Must we wait for eternity to love without fear?
Time’s right now healing is here
Let’s all unite and put every difference aside
God can dry all the tear stained eyes
Cause this life but a vapor and our God is so much greater
His joy brings an end to the fight
Heaven knows no boundaries equality for you and me
Praising God in harmony
Together in one accord sons and daughters of the Lord
Open your heart and believe
One day we will see”