During the Congressional hearing on Facebook’s data use on Wednesday, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers asked Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg why Facebook rejected an ad for the Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) Masters of Theology program.
The ad, featuring the San Damiano cross, was cited for being “shocking, sensational, and excessively violent”. It was rejected on Good Friday.
FUS’s web communications director Tom Crowe responded to the violation saying, “It may have been the algorithm or a low level staffer who has something against Christianity. For whatever reason, Facebook rejected the cross.”
Franciscan University followed up with a post on it’s blog explaining that the crucifixion was shocking, sensational, and excessively violent. The post also explains the deeper symbolism behind the San Damiano cross.
The following Wednesday, Facebook had apologized for rejecting the ad and approved it.
In the Congressional hearing on Wednesday, Representative McMorris Rodgers stated, “Although Facebook addressed the error within days, that it happened at all is deeply disturbing. Could you tell me what was so shocking, sensational, or excessively violent about the ad to cause it to be initially censored? …How can users know that their content is being viewed and judged accordingly to objective standards?”
Watch the whole clip here.
While Zuckerberg apologized for the oversight and agreed that any mistake in content review is too many mistakes, he also suggested that a few instances not be used to extrapolate bias in the whole system. “I don’t think that that reflects the way that we’re trying to build this system or what we’ve seen.”