During last week’s inquiry before members of the US Senate, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was specifically asked about the so-called neutral platform’s treatment of Catholics and advertisements from Catholic groups.
In a column for CNS News, Bill Donohue, president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, picks apart exactly how Catholics compared to other religious groups, like Muslims and Jews, when it comes to Facebook censorship.
At the hearing, Zuckerberg was asked about blocking some two dozen Catholic ads from his hardly-neutral platform that still receives Section 230 Immunity. Are Catholics specifically targeted on Facebook? Yes and no, Donohue argues. The problem is specific to orthodox Catholics, and not their liberal counterparts.
Zuckerberg revealed, and Donohue highlights, the problem of Facebook censorship appears to be one of the company’s inability to police its own staff.
“The fact is that those who are the captains of censorship in America work in places like the tech companies, higher education, the media, publishing, the arts, and Hollywood. What do they have in common? They are all examples of ‘extremely left-leaning’ places that hate Catholic sexual ethics,” he writes.
When Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committee on April 10, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, he was asked to comment on some of his company’s decisions on Catholic submissions.
Sen. Ted Cruz informed Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg that his company “has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages,” noting they were prevented from posting on Facebook because “their content and brand were, quote, ‘unsafe to the community.'” None of the pages came even close to constituting hate speech.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers grilled Zuckerberg about an ad that was initially blocked by Facebook because it featured Jesus on the Cross. The ad was submitted by Franciscan University of Steubenville as a theology degree advertisement. Facebook deemed it to be “excessively violent” and “sensational.” Crucifixions usually are.
The company later apologized. The congresswoman from Washington wasn’t convinced. “Could you tell [us] what was so shocking, sensational or excessively violent about the ad to cause it to be initially censored?” “It sounds like we made a mistake there,” Zuckerberg replied.
feature image: Mark Zuckerberg