The Rev. Franklin Graham was kicked off Facebook for defending North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” which the social-media giant’s review team decided was hate speech.
Facebook acknowledged over the weekend it had banned the prominent evangelist over transgender issues and called the 24-hour ban a mistake that it had already undone. But Mr. Graham was having none of it Sunday, calling the move “a personal attack towards me” and an example of the censorship that Silicon Valley has in store for Christians and/or conservatives.
A spokesman for Facebook told the Charlotte Observer on condition of anonymity that the review team had decided a 2016 post violated rules against “dehumanizing language” and exclusion of people based on, among other things, sexual orientation and gender self-identification. The post was deleted and Mr. Graham prevented from using the service for 24 hours.
“Facebook has a secret rulebook for policing speech … There was a character in a movie a few years back who said, ‘The truth is what I say it is!’ That’s what Facebook is trying to do. They’re 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,” Mr. Graham wrote Friday.
He went on to copy-and-paste the offending post “so you can read it for yourself. Do you see any hate speech here?”
Facebook said in a statement that “upon re-reviewing this content, we identified that the post does not violate our hate speech policy and has been restored.”
The company apologized, and Mr. Graham said Sunday he does “accept Facebook’s apology.”
But the evangelist, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, told Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” that he is merely a high-profile target of what Facebook does every day to lesser-known people.
“The problem with Facebook, if you disagree with their position on sexual orientation then you could be classified as hate speech, or that you’re a racist. This is a problem,” he said.
“Mark Zuckerberg, when he spoke before Congress [earlier this year], he said ‘Facebook is a platform for all ideas.’ Well it’s obvious his staff hasn’t got that memo,” he concluded.
Mr. Graham also advised Christians on Sunday against retreating from social-media platforms.
“As Christians we don’t back down, we don’t change who we are and what we say and what we do,” he said. “I would encourage Facebook and Christians to stand on God’s Word and His truth.”