Facebook’s Catholic Problem

In a hard-hitting editorial posted this week, Catholic League president Bill Donohue cites the many examples of censorship at Facebook against orthodox Catholics for which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has no satisfactory explanation.

Speaking about Zuckerberg’s April 10 and 11 meetings with Senate and House Committees this week, Donohue lists some of the dozens of Catholic pages that were prevented from posting on Facebook because “their content and brand were, “unsafe to the community” even though none of the pages even came close to constituting hate speech.

For example, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers asked Zuckerberg why his company pulled an ad for theology degrees submitted by Franciscan University of Steubenville that featured Jesus on the Cross. Facebook told the school that the ad was “excessively violent” and “sensational.”

As Donohue notes, “Crucifixions usually are.”

Even though the company later apologized, Rodgers pressed Zuckerberg to explain what was so shocking, sensational, and excessively violent about the ad that would cause it to be censored?

To this, Zuckerberg lamely replied, “It sounds like we made a mistake there.”

Donohue goes on to list other examples of this bias, such as holding up a Mater Ecclesiae Fund for vocations during the 2017 holiday season for bogus reasons, then reinstating the ad when it was too late to assist the fundraising effort.

In an Internet search for examples of similar discrimination against Muslims and Jews, Donohue found next to nothing. So why the singling out of Catholics for censorship?

“In fact, Facebook does not hate Catholics—it’s just orthodox Catholics it loathes,” Donohue clarifies. “To wit: there is no evidence that any of the Catholic pages blocked by Facebook are associated with dissident or liberal Catholic causes.”

It’s only those pages that promote authentic Catholic teaching that are singled out for censorship.

“None of this is surprising. It all boils down to sex,” Donohue surmises. “The ‘extremely left-leaning’ Facebook employees, just like ‘extremely left-leaning’ persons everywhere, are in a rage over the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality. It is not Church teachings on the Trinity that exercises them—it’s the conviction that marriage is properly understood as a union between a man and a woman.”

Zuckerberg could not explain this bias and only conceded that Facebook is located in the notoriously liberal Silicon Valley.

But that didn’t stop him from defending their conduct. “I wouldn’t extrapolate from a few examples to assuming that the overall system is biased,” he insisted.

His responses fell flat. Rep. Kevin John Cramer from North Dakota suggested to Zuckerberg that he hire more people from places like Bismarck where people tend to have “common sense.”

“It’s more common decency and fairness that is the problem,” Donohue states. “The fact is that those who are the captains of censorship in America work in places like the tech companies, higher education, the media, publishing, the arts, and Hollywood. What do they have in common? They are all examples of ‘extremely left-leaning’ places that hate Catholic sexual ethics.”

He concludes: “Zuckerberg has his work cut out for him. He can begin by hiring practicing orthodox Catholics in senior positions monitoring content review. He should also be ready to pay for relocation fees.”

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