Social media giant Facebook has apologized to evangelist Franklin Graham for its 24-hour ban related to his 2016 post on North Carolina’s controversial law that restricted same-sex bathroom use, among other issues.
A member of Facebook’s content review team banned Graham, the son of the late Rev. Billy Graham, because the post was determined to violate Facebook’s policy on “dehumanizing language” and excluding people based on sexual orientation, race and other factors.
Graham’s 2016 post focused on Bruce Springsteen canceling a North Carolina concert because of the state’s House Bill 2, which reversed a local Charlotte ordinance that had extended some rights to people who are gay or transgender, including accommodation in public rest rooms.
The 2016 NC state law also eliminated local ordinances statewide that expanded protections for lesbians and gays, bisexual and transgender persons. The General Assembly later passed a compromise bill repealing House Bill 2 but restricting anti-discrimination ordinances across the state, and the governor signed it into law.
In the 2016 post, Graham said of Springsteen,“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.”
Facebook has now restored the post and will apologize in a note to the administrator of Graham’s Facebook page, a Facebook spokesperson told the Charlotte Observer.
Graham reached out to his community in a Facebook post Friday when his service was restored.
In his post, Graham said the social media giant is “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. The free exchange of ideas is part of our country’s DNA.” He added: “Do you see any hate speech here?” Graham asked.
Graham’s rebuttal had 38,500 shares and 8,400 comments, most in Graham’s favor.