By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 21, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The social networking site Facebook has teamed up with a who’s who list of homosexual advocacy groups to set up a Network of Support for homosexuals, part of an effort to remove “hateful” speech and bullying from the social network site.
But pro-family groups are expressing serious concern about the arrangement, as some of the homosexualist organizations call not only for the removal of legitimately hateful or violent speech, but also censorship of statements that are merely critical of homosexuality.
Facebook announced recently that it was launching a Network of Support after a Facebook page set up to discourage anti-homosexual bullying and to commemorate the recent deaths of six homosexuals by suicide, received vulgar and obscene comments.
The Network of Support encourages users to report “hateful” comments to Facebook, which will then be deleted by the site, and gives instructions on how to prevent such comments from happening in the first place, such as blocking profiles, reporting harassment, sticking up for others, thinking twice about posts, or directing individuals to FB’s Network of Support.
The social network site announced that it is teaming up with MTV's A Thin Line campaign; the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); the Trevor Project; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in establishing this Network of Support for troubled homosexual youth.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins blasted the partnership, expressing concern that groups like GLAAD may actually try to use their influence to push Facebook to adopt a much wider definition of hate speech.
GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios has indicated that Facebook’s efforts are only “an important first step,” and Perkins says he believes GLAAD will work to expand the definition of hate speech beyond hateful attacks to include any speech critical of homosexual behavior.
“It may happen slowly, but I guarantee that Facebook will begin to broaden its definition of what's ‘hateful’ based on GLAAD's prior actions,” said Perkins.
The pro-family leader referred to GLAAD’s campaign to get him banned from the Washington Post’s editorial page after he penned a column where he said the blame for bullying should rest at the feet of bullies themselves and not at church-going Christians, who believe homosexual behavior is wrong, but affirm the goodness of the person.
Perkins had made clear in that opinion piece that Christians condemn bullying and violence against homosexuals, and said Christian compassion motivates them to seek to turn homosexuals away from “self-destructive” behavior.
However, GLAAD told its followers, “Perkins blames the recent teen suicide tragedies on the victims themselves” and accused the Post of making its editorial pages a “platform for an anti-gay activist.”
Perkins warned that the Facebook partnership with GLAAD “is significant because it puts Facebook on the media's growing path toward censorship.”
“Like the mainstream media, they're succumbing to pressure to silence free speech.”
The Daily Caller (TDC) responded to the partnership by pointing out that that Facebook hosts a number of sites that direct hatred or death wishes toward prominent conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes attempted to explain to TDC what appeared to be a double standard, saying that “Direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and are removed when reported to us.
“However, groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs — even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some — do not by themselves violate our policies. When a group created to express an opinion devolves into hate speech, we will remove the hateful comments and may even remove the group itself.” (See the Daily Caller story here)