Facebook’s Nanny State Hurts the World

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder [Image by TechCrunch CCBY 2.0]

Facebook, the world’s largest social media website is censoring art, while allowing graphic violence and all manner of foul language. Why censor one but not the others? Why censor at all?


Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. allow their audiences to self-censor. Why can’t Facebook do that?

Most social media sites let each user determine what types of content they want to see on their own page.  Facebook, on the other hand, is censoring what it thinks you shouldn’t be allowed to view. And its censorship is incredibly arbitrary.

Up until just recently they were removing pictures of nursing mothers and breast cancer survivors. They stopped that because of a public outcry, but they’re still censoring art. I think most people know the difference between art and pornography and would be fine with seeing the former in their timelines (or being able to self-censor it if not).

I believe that the only way they will change is by a massive amount of pushback such as that from the Norwegian Prime Minister and others with clout, and perhaps from regular folks sharing articles like this and talking about it.

Prime Minister Erna Soldberg said, “It is highly regrettable that Facebook has removed a post from my Facebook page. What they achieve by removing such images, good as the intentions may be, is to edit our common history. I wish today’s children will also have the opportunity to see and learn from historical mistakes and events. This is important.”

Professor Philippa Levine, Ph.D, the Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professor in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, writes in the Dallas Morning News:

“In 2015, after altering its community standards, Facebook classified nudity alongside hate speech, self-harm, bullying and violence. That is an interesting combination. Why should the naked body be classified as disgusting, hateful and harmful?”

Why is this such a big deal?

Basically it boils down to this: Facebook is an American company (and it owns the most popular photography sharing app, Instagram). Whether we like it or not, America exports its culture all over the globe.  When we allow deplorable practices like this (the shaming of the body itself) we only sow seeds that will harm future generations.

Do we really want to, as a people, export the idea that these simple human bodies, made in God’s Image (the imago dei) are “disgusting, hateful and harmful?” 

I don’t. This international issue is affecting people all over the world.  They are being forced into a very narrow viewpoint by a private company that serves up web pages for millions every second.  It’s time for Facebook to grow up.

What do you think?


Wrestling with God

For anyone who has or is wrestling with God, I thought you might enjoy the cliff notes from a sermon I heard yesterday. The minister taught from an unusual passage in Genesis 32 where Jacob and the angel of the Lord wrestled all night as Jacob was taking his family back home after an absence of 20 years.

“When the [angel] saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.”

“Then he (the Angel of the Lord) said, ‘Let me go, for the day has broken.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.'” The angel then gave Jacob a new name and a new purpose: Israel.

The minister then pointed out something really interesting to me. God’s injury to Jacob was a gift. Jacob’s angry brother Esau was going to intercept him with 400 soldiers the next morning and was planning to slaughter Jacob and his family. Had God not injured Jacob so that he was humiliated with a limp, he may have been killed by Esau. Instead, this now humbled man walked out to meet his brother, limping along and bowing down to the earth 7 times in respect. His humility before his brother changed the way he was received and Esau ran to Israel and embraced him. His wrestling match with God changed the future.

Thoughts on the Same Sex Marriage Decision

I’m not surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. It is in line with how the lower courts have been trending for years. My nonpartisan opinion remains the same: Marriage ought to be a private enterprise engaged in without government interference.

Regardless of whether you are excited or dismayed by the Court’s decision today, the government (federal/state/local) should never have been given a role in the social institution of marriage to begin with.

We reap what our forefathers have sown. Even so, our great grandchildren will reap what we have sown.

Regardless, the world is not going to end because of this decision.