DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that he wants Facebook to be an “inclusive community.” But Father John Higgins, a Catholic priest, discovered that there was no room in the so-called “inclusive community” for his historical posts on Europe and Islam.
On May 23, 2017, Father Higgins found himself in Facebook jail. His crime? He shared a post documenting the interactions between Islam and Western Civilization. You can read his original post here:
Father Higgins’s post contained historically accurate information concerning the history of Islam and Western Civilization. He also takes into account Muslim people who do not live radical and violent lives by saying “There are peaceful and good Muslim people.” His respectful commentary does not violate Facebook’s community guidelines.
Yet his post was deleted off of Facebook and Father Higgins was suspended from Facebook for one week.
Greg Stone, a friend of Father Higgins, wrote an open letter to Facebook’s Board of Directors after the priest was banned from Facebook:
“The Facebook brand is in serious trouble. Censorship decisions are being made that will destroy the image and business model of Facebook. In the past week, a Facebook employee arbitrarily suspended a respectful user and member of the Facebook community, a Catholic pastor…
It is horribly ironic that the very week Islamists murder scores of innocents—young girls at a pop concert in Manchester, Coptic Christians in Egypt, and Catholics in the Philippines—Facebook suspends the privileges of a respected clergy member for posting an academic synopsis regarding Islamic history.”
Suspension from Facebook for the ‘crime’ of posting historically accurate facts in a respectful way is an indication that Facebook’s censorship rules have gone too far. Facebook’s censorship of Father Higgins’s post dehumanized him as an individual in favor of the good of the abstract social media “inclusive community.”
“Social media already provides more diverse viewpoints than traditional media ever has,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote earlier this year. “Even if most of our friends are like us, we all know people with different interests, beliefs and backgrounds who expose us to different perspectives. Compared with getting our news from the same two or three TV networks or reading the same newspapers with their consistent editorial views, our networks on Facebook show us more diverse content.”
The censorship of Father Higgins’s post works directly against Facebook’s supposed commitment to an informed community and exposition of ideas.
On May 30, 2017, Father Higgins returned to Facebook after a week of suspension.