The community guidelines on social media are sometimes as mysterious in their intention as they are in their enforcement.
Take Michete, an up and coming transfeminine rapper and producer, who posted a status condemning what Michete describes as people engaging in “fake solidarity” in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando that took the lives of 49 people.
It is tremendously unclear why — seeing as there are no pictures, no hate speech and no singling out of any specific group (other than "straight people who are also assholes") for ridicule — but Facebook took the post down. And when Michete tried to repost it, Facebook implemented a total 24-hour ban.
Here is the status. It was shared over 2,000 times by the time it was taken down:
Hey, straight people. I'm glad to see so many of you expressing your condolences and heartbreak in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando last night, but honestly, I am NOT here for fake solidarity. If you're going to stand with us today, stand with us every other day of the year. Stop saying the word "gay" as an insult. Stop casually using slurs like faggot, queer, and homo. Stop misgendering trans people and treating gender non-conforming people as punchlines. Stop thinking it's funny to call Caitlyn "Bruce." Stop making fun of men for being feminine, stop making fun of women for being masculine. Stop telling us where to pee. Stop perpetuating the idea that we aren't fit to get married or raise children. Stop claiming that you're cool with us as long as we don't "shove sexuality down your throat." Stop complaining about how we're "over represented" in media. And stop excusing your friends who do any and all of this shit. Take this as a wake up call that you NEED to examine your own homophobia and transphobia and you NEED to hold yourself and your friends accountable for the ways in which you all contribute to the exact mindset that lead a man to believe it was permissible to slaughter 50 of us. Your role in this is bigger than you think.
Michete was understandably confused and angry by Facebook's decision.
And others were angry on Michete's behalf:
If I had to think of anything that would have caused this thoughtful, straightforward expression of Michete's personal beliefs to be taken down, the only thing I can come up with is the inclusion of the word “faggot.” Of course, if you put that word in the context of how it was used for literally one second, you immediately see that Michete is explaining how people should not be saying that word.
Apparently, there has been a long-standing issue on Facebook with slurs and context. There have tons of cases where gay men and women being temporarily banned from Facebook for using the word “faggot.”
The thing that doesn't make sense though is that these are Facebook's own community standards regarding hate speech:
Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their: Race, Ethnicity, National origin, Religious affiliation, Sexual orientation, Sex, gender, or gender identity, or Serious disabilities or diseases.
And they go on to explain,
People can use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices. Such discussion can promote debate and greater understanding. Sometimes people share content containing someone else's hate speech for the purpose of raising awareness or educating others about that hate speech. When this is the case, we expect people to clearly indicate their purpose, which helps us better understand why they shared that content. We allow humor, satire, or social commentary related to these topics, and we believe that when people use their authentic identity, they are more responsible when they share this kind of commentary. For that reason, we ask that Page owners associate their name and Facebook Profile with any content that is insensitive, even if that content does not violate our policies. As always, we urge people to be conscious of their audience when sharing this type of content.
This means that whoever actually reviewed this status is either a robot or a moron, and neither of these things should be in charge of policing what we can or cannot say to one another online.
Whether we like it or not, social media has become the most important and active arena for modern debate. And, in debates, context matters. I don't care how many annoyed dudes who like calling their friends “gaylord” reported this post to be annoying — Facebook needs to get their act together.