Facebook reverses ‘hate speech’ suspension of conservative Christian mom, apologizes
August 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook has reversed its suspension of Elizabeth Johnston, the Christian conservative mother of ten who operates the pro-family Activist Mommy blog, days after hitting her with an unspecified “hate speech” claim.
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, Johnston revealed last Wednesday she had just been given a three-day suspension from posting, commenting, or using Messenger because she allegedly posted “something” that violated the website’s “standards on hate speech.” Facebook did not identify the offending content.
Other administrators were able to keep the Activist Mommy Facebook page running during the time period in question, but Facebook’s refusal to specify a basis for the suspension alarmed Johnston.
“How are we supposed to even work with Facebook if they won't tell us what is and what's not allowed, and if anything we say that dares to go against the radical left narrative may be deemed ‘hateful’?” she asked.
On Saturday, Johnston announced that Facebook had reversed the decision, with a representative claiming one of their detection systems “mistakenly flagged your content and unpublished it.” The spokesman apologized, but did not offer further details.
“Guess I wasn’t so hateful after all,” Johnston said.
Johnston told the Christian Post she was fortunate to have human contacts within Facebook she could contact to quickly resolve the issue, but noted that’s not an option for many people wrongly censored by the social media giant.
"I am very grateful to have that personal contact inside Facebook, but it's upsetting to see so many conservatives and Christians who don't have those insider contacts getting banned and discriminated against and having no recourse,” she said. “That's not right.”
Johnston is only one of the latest right-of-center voice to find herself restricted in some way on Facebook. Other targets have included Prager University, conservative video bloggers Diamond & Silk, theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, benign ads from various Republican candidates, numerous pro-life videos and advertisements, and more.
Facebook’s claim that Johnston fell victim to a simple technical error is a familiar refrain, as well. The company tends to reverse the most highly-publicized incidents after a few days of public outcry, blaming them either on isolated human errors or unintentional side effects of their content prioritization algorithms. Conservatives remain skeptical, however, citing their continued frequency and the lack of comparable examples on the left.
"The truth is, Facebook is owned and run by radical leftists who intentionally keep the community guidelines very subjective and vague, which gives them unlimited power to silence and marginalize anyone whose voice they want to shut down," Johnston told CBN News. "The Left fears our voices because we are effectively persuading and dismantling their lies about abortion, homosexuality, Islam, radical feminism, and a host of other issues that are an all-out assault on our Christian values."
President Donald Trump declared over the weekend that “too many voices are being destroyed” by social media platforms and leading tech companies, and vowed that “speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen.”
For her part, Johnston predicts the social media censorship campaign will ultimately backfire.
"The more they silence us, the more people want to hear what we have to say,” she told CBN. So, carry on, people of God. Be bolder and louder than ever. You have the God of heaven on your side!"