Facebook banned a social justice activist for commenting on racism


Facebook has censored content from social justice activist and co-founder of Safety Pin Box Leslie Mac, and banned her from the social network for 24 hours.

“I can’t comment, I can’t post anything. I can’t like anything. I can’t do anything on Facebook,” Mac told TechCrunch. “But my page hasn’t been taken down.”

What’s strange is that Facebook banned Mac for a comment that doesn’t seem to violate Facebook’s community standards.

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Actor Matt McGorry shared her post in support, and that’s when things went awry, Mac told me. When she noticed that there were over 500 people who shared her post, she went to McGorry’s page and saw that the thread “was an ocean of white tears” and people calling Mac a “reverse racist.”

“The question becomes, what is Matt’s responsibility in this scenario?” Mac wondered. “There’s this piece about responsibility when we have large follower counts and lots of people who follow us, and what that means for the people you expose to that audience. I wouldn’t say it’s his fault, but I would say it’s a responsibility.”

Ultimately, the issue seems to be that a bunch McGorry’s followers disagreed with Mac’s post and then reported it to Facebook. Given that Mac’s post doesn’t seem to violate any of Facebook’s community standards, what might have happened was that there was such a high volume of people reporting the post that Facebook just automatically took it down and then banned her.

“Do I think Facebook is like, we hate Leslie Mac? No,” Mac said. “But what their systems allow is people to attack people of color with no recourse and to take those people’s opinions as fact. That’s where the deliberacy is existing.”

This isn’t the first time Facebook has done something like this. Just in September, Facebook briefly suspended activist and journalist Shaun King for posting a racist email he received. In July, Facebook took down live video of the murder of Philando Castille, and later blamed it on a technical glitch.

I’ve reached out to Facebook to better understand what happened on their end. I’ve also reached out to McGorry and plan to update this story if and when I hear back.

Featured Image: Eric Risberg/AP

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