Cast into the Outer Darkness: An Open Letter to Facebook

on February 19, 2019

(This is an excerpt from an article that was published at The Stream, Monday, February 18, 2019. You can read the entire article there.)

Dear Facebook:

There was no teeth gnashing, but there was wailing. Well, I may have also gnashed my teeth a bit, thinking of some choice names for you.

Frequently when I’ve been on Facebook searching through treasured photo memories, I’ve had the fleeting thought, “Wow, what if I ever lost all this!” I had no idea that moment was soon coming. But it did last week, February 15. You, Facebook, informed me my account had been disabled for “violating community standards.”

February 15 became the day you cut me off. Cut me off from over 2000 friends and thousands of photos on Facebook, from communicating on Messenger, and even from using my extremely innocuous Instagram. But it was already a date to remember. And that’s what actually got me in trouble.

A Well-Known Image of Christian Suffering

On February 15, 2015, 21 men were slaughtered on a Libyan seashore by ISIS. The 20 Coptic Christians and their fellow martyr, Matthew from Ghana, were the subject of the jihadis’ grisly snuff film sent to the “People of the Cross.” The image of those soon-to-be-saints in orange jumpsuits kneeling on the beach in front of their killers became a powerful testimony of Christ’s victory over death and hell.

On that anniversary I decided to honor these courageous and faithful men on my Facebook page. Scrolling through photos I had posted on Facebook in the past without ever a problem, I found that well-known image and made it my temporary Facebook profile photo. Then it happened!

You know, Facebook, it would have been kinder of you to send an alarm and flashing lights to my computer screen declaring You are banished forever! But no, you had to play games. First, you logged me out. Then I found that, try as I might, I could not log in. Finally, believing I must have forgotten my password, I requested a re-set. Then you revealed the truth. You were kicking me off Facebook for violating The Community Standards with such despicable actions as:

Credible threats to harm others

Support for violent organizations

Exceedingly graphic content

(continued on The Stream, Cast into the Outer Darkness: An Open Letter to Facebook)

  1. Comment by Mike on February 19, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    The battle for truth (and freedom) is heating up. Thank you for sharing your (frustrating!) experience. For all of our technology, we’re entering a new dark age…

  2. Comment by David on February 19, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Sometimes the removal of things is automated and based on the number of complaints sent in. A real live person might not have even seen your items.

  3. Comment by Dan W on February 19, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    The first thing I thought when I read this – violating “community standards.” Faith you are hanging out in the wrong community! The second thing I thought – I was talking to a Coptic Christian just yesterday, a wonderful man who has been in the U.S. 30 years. He was telling us what Coptic Christians are going through in Egypt, and was amazed how many U.S. citizens believe they are oppressed by their own government. We may have to abandon social media and go back to real face-to-face, person-to-person communication.

  4. Comment by Cynthia on March 8, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I was removed from facebook for putting an article of martyred Christians on the page. I also was given the same reason. perhaps we need Methodist blog to keep in communication. Sorry that happened to you.
    I understand your frustration.

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