Evangelist Franklin Graham was banned from posting on Facebook for 24 hours last week, a spokesperson for the social giant confirmed to The Charlotte Observer on Saturday.
The spokesperson said that Graham was mistakenly banned from the site due to the contents of a post he shared in 2016 for violating a company policy banning “dehumanizing language” and excluding people based on factors like sexual orientation and race.
The representative went on to say that the mistake was made by the company’s content review team – which is comprised of 15,000 members – and that the company has since restored Graham’s account and the post in question.
“Why?” Graham asked in a Facebook post on Friday after he said he was banned from posting anything on the site for 24 hours last week. “Because of a post from back in 2016 about North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (the bathroom bill). Facebook said the post went against their ‘community standards on hate speech.’ Facebook is trying to define truth.”
In his post, Graham said the social media giant is “making the rules and changing the rules. Truth is truth. God made the rules and His Word is truth. Actually, Facebook is censoring free speech. The free exchange of ideas is part of our country’s DNA.”
Graham’s Friday post included his 2016 post that he said Facebook “took down” last week. “Do you see any hate speech here?” Graham asked.
“He says the NC law #HB2 to prevent men from being able to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms is going ‘backwards instead of forwards,’” Graham said in his 2016 post, referring to Springsteen. “Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands.”
In March 2016, the General Assembly passed HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill.” HB2 reversed a Charlotte ordinance that extended some rights to people who are gay or transgender, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time. Then-Gov. Pat McCrory signed the measure into law the same night.
Charlotte’s ordinance protected transgender people using public restrooms based on their gender identity, the Observer reported. The 2016 NC law also eliminated local ordinances statewide that expanded protections for lesbians and gays and bisexual and transgender persons.
A year later, the General Assembly passed a compromise bill repealing House Bill 2 but restricting anti-discrimination ordinances across the state. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill into law.
Graham’s post Friday drew a combined 75,000 likes and “angry-face” and “wow” emojis by Saturday afternoon, along with nearly 38,500 shares and 8,400 comments.
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