Facebook, following a move by its social media rival Twitter, has broadened its definition of “hate speech.” The company’s community standards now state that denying the existence of a transgender individual or failing to use a person’s preferred gender identity is “objectionable” and could result in removal from the platform.
In 2015, Facebook added a custom gender option in a free-form field—in addition to the more than 50 pre-filled gender identities it already offered, including “agender,” “bigender” and “pangender.” That change came after entering the transgender language debate in 2014, allowing users to choose up to 10 terms to describe their preferred gender identity.
At the time, the company said that it consulted its “Network of Support,” a group of popular LGBTQ advocacy organizations, to select terms to introduce as options.
“We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way,” the company posted on its Facebook Diversity page.
This change comes amid accusations of censorship and political bias across all social media platforms.
In December 2018, Franklin Graham’s Facebook account was temporarily suspended over a 2016 post about North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” known as HB 2. The social media giant initially claimed that Franklin had violated its hate speech policy but later issued an apology stating that the post in fact did not defy its community standards.
While Franklin thanked Facebook for its apology, he warned Decision readers that “Facebook has appointed itself as a moral authority, reaching across the world to establish its own flawed moral creed.”