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Facebook apologizes after banning evangelist Franklin Graham for his transphobic post

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Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, son of massively influential Christian pastor Billy Graham, has received an apology from Facebook after the social media network banned him for 24 hours over his 2016 post supporting North Carolina’s transphobic “bathroom bill” HB2.

An anonymous spokesperson told The Charlotte Observer that Graham’s post was originally flagged over the site’s policy against “dehumanizing language” and discrimination based on “sexual orientation, race and other factors.”

However, the spokesperson said, “It was a mistake to ban Graham over a 2016 post he made on the site, and a mistake to have taken down the post.” They added that they’ll send an apology to the administrator of Graham’s Facebook page.

Graham’s 2016 post said:

Bruce Springsteen, a long-time gay rights activist, has cancelled his North Carolina concert. 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.”

Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands. Back to common sense. Mr. Springsteen, a nation embracing sin and bowing at the feet of godless secularism and political correctness is not progress.

I’m thankful North Carolina has a governor, Pat McCrory, and a lieutenant governor, Dan Forest, and legislators who put the safety of our women and children first! HB2 protects the safety and privacy of women and children and preserves the human rights of millions of faith-based citizens of this state.

Graham, of course, is peddling the lie that allowing trans people to pee in peace will increase sexual assaults against women and children. It’s an odious falsehood depicting trans people as pedophiles and sexual predators, encouraging violence against them. Furthermore, it has no basis in fact as studies have found no link between trans bathroom access and sexual assault.

Following Facebook’s promise of an apology, Graham has crowed that “Facebook has a secret rulebook for policing speech,” adding, “Facebook is trying to define truth [and] … censoring free speech.” But he’s wrong again.

Related: Franklin Graham tells Jimmy Carter that Jesus would kill gay people, not marry them

One can argue whether Facebook should’ve banned Graham for his post or whether Facebook has an obligation to promote pro-LGBTQ messages while limiting anti-LGBTQ sentiment. But Facebook has no “secret rulebook for policing speech.”

Rather, Facebook has a history of inconsistently applying its policies. Its 15,000-member content review team has a habit of banning LGBTQ content as “political” and forbidding people from discussing their own sexuality on its pages. These inconsistencies sometimes apply to conservative speech as well.

Graham is using that inconsistency as “proof” of Facebook’s supposed “conservative bias.”

But the truth is that Facebook disseminates conservative news more widely than any other content, and conservatives who complain otherwise are merely “working the refs,” complaining about unfair treatment to get Facebook to bend over backward to prove otherwise.

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