Why Facebook Isn't Censoring Trump's Hate Speech

Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration:

Posted by Donald J. Trump on Monday, December 7, 2015

Facebook has had a super-clear policy on hate speech spelled out on the service since March 2015. What's off limits? "Content that directly attacks people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, serious disabilities, or diseases."

So why is the service allowing Donald Trump to post statements that are directly attacking Muslims and Muslim immigration into the U.S.? Trump posted the statement below, along with a video of himself reading it aloud. Many users, including filmmaker Michael Moore, have flagged the post with Facebook and still, Trump's statements have remained up.

To test Facebook's policy, Fast Company reports that it used a dummy account to post an update that included the same language used by Trump. It read, "I'm with Trump, it's time for a 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.'" A few hours after flagging the post as inappropriate, it was removed by Facebook with the explanation that it violated Community Standards.

A spokesperson for Facebook told Fast Company, "When we review reports of content that may violate our policies, we take context into consideration. That context can include the value of political discourse. Many people are voicing opinions about this particular content and it has become an important part of the conversation around who the next U.S. president will be. For those reasons, we are carefully reviewing each report and surrounding context relating to this content on a case by case basis."

Essentially, Facebook considers Trump's statements as news because he's running for office, and it's leaving them up because he's Donald Trump.
Opener Image: Isopix/REX Shutterstock.

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