Reporting on the horrific persecution Christian minorities experience in the Muslim word is a “punishable” offense for Facebook, as that topic falls beneath the social media giant’s “standards.”
Raymond Ibrahim That’s what I was told when I logged onto my Facebook account a few days ago. A box popped up saying, “This post goes against our Community Standards,” followed by, “Only you can see this post because it goes against our standards,” with a link to the “offensive” post. I was then locked out for 24 hours.
The problematic article in question, which I published online and shared on Facebook back on Feb. 15, 2021—a full eight months ago—is titled “New Film Commemorates 21 Coptic Christian Martyrs.” In it, I discussed how an Arabic-language film was being made about the 21 Egyptian Christians savagely slaughtered by the Islamic State in Libya in 2015.
So what is it about that particular article that caused it to be banned—again, eight monthsafter it first appeared on Facebook—and me “punished”? If it’s the accompanying picture, which is hardly that graphic, Facebook could’ve done what it has done to other articles of mine: keep the post but remove the image. Aside from mentioning the movie, that article recaps the execution of 2015, quotes some family members’ views on the forthcoming film, and closes by mentioning how a memorial for the 21 Christian martyrs was erected in the Egyptian village of Al Our, whence several of them hailed.
The following excerpt from that article is the only thing I can think of that might have especially vexed Facebook (even though it’s 100% true):
It’s worth recalling that, at the time of their abduction and subsequent butchery, Western media were largely absent. Indeed, before the video appeared, the BBC had falsely reported that the majority of those now slaughtered Copts were “released.” (Such downplaying of Muslim persecution of Christians is not uncommon for the BBC.)
Here are (BNI-saved) screenshots from the above video that was banned:
Around the same time that article got taken down from Facebook, on Oct. 15, 2021, the following comment appeared under another much more recent article on my website—one also about the Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt:
I shared this article on Facebook and Facebook took it down saying it violated “Community Standards” with no further explanation given.
That article, titled “Coptic Christian Building Abruptly Demolished in Egypt,” merely summarized the findings of an Arabic language report about how Christian minorities in one Egyptian village, because they were banned from having a church, decided to build a community hall to hold their weddings and funerals in. As even that was deemed offensive to Muslim sensibilities, the authorities suddenly came, tore it down and beat and arrested the Christians. Everything about that account is also 100% true.
So what about it does not meet Facebook’s “standards”?
The only conclusion is that, not content with shadow banning articles on the brutal persecution Christians suffer at the hands of Muslims, Facebook is now openly and more aggressively outright banning them.
Moreover, there is reason to believe that Facebook’s actions are at least partially motivated by foreign entities. Seeing that the two articles that got “flagged” both dealt with the persecution of Egyptian Christians—Copts—I contacted Coptic Solidarity, to see if they’ve had similar experiences. Its director, Lindsay Vessey, wrote back saying,
Numerous countries, including Egypt, employ large cyber teams to flag content critical of their leader/government meaning that discussion of human rights violations in countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt can be blocked, with repercussions to the account owner. Facebook needs to hire individuals who not only have the language skills to review posts, but who can maintain professional neutrality and distinguish between abusive content, and legitimate criticism of human rights abuses. My colleague, Faith McDonnell, who is a titan in the realm of religious freedom advocacy, had her Facebook account shut-down without warning, merely for posting an image of the Coptic martyrs on the beach in Libya. Her account was only reinstated after substantial negative publicity towards Facebook.
Facebook, it’s worth adding, is hardly the only one among “Big Tech” to suppress information on the Muslim persecution of Christians: Youtube censored my Prager U video on that exact topic; it also once “punished” me for sharing a video that the Islamic State made of its members destroying crosses and desecrating churches in Syria and Iraq—even though that video was not “graphic” (it depicted buildings and crosses, inanimate objects) and was going viral in the Arab world. As for Google, where once its search results for Islam-related topics would yield many of my articles on the first page, they now tend to be invisible, buried under a mountain of irrelevant if not fake information.
Raymond Ibrahim Prager University, which produces short videos on subjects “important to understanding American values,” explained that “YouTube has chosen repeatedly to restrict some of our videos for violating their ‘Community Guidelines.’ Those guidelines are meant to protect users against viewing sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech,” even though “our videos contain nothing even remotely close to any of these categories.”
Prager U had “filed a complaint with YouTube, hoping that there was some kind of innocent mistake. That’s when we were told by YouTube that after reviewing our videos, they determined that they were, indeed, ‘not appropriate for a younger audience.’”
The first is called “Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology.” Although in it I distinguished between “radical” Muslims and those many Muslims in name only; although I (very conservatively) suggested that perhaps ten percent of the world’s Muslims are “Islamists,” and of those, only two percent are willing to take violent action to enforce their supremacist worldview; and although I said “Islamists have killed far more Muslims than members of any other group”—YouTube deemed that video “inappropriate” for younger audiences.
My other Prager U video, titled “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians,” is dedicated to shedding light on the plight of Christians, specifically in Muslim lands, where the overwhelming majority of persecution takes place. It too is censored.
In other words, shedding light on what many Western authorities have referred to as a “genocide” of Christians, is, for YouTube, as “inappropriate” for youth as sexual, graphic, or hate filled videos. Needless to say, not only are there no real images in the video (sexual, graphic or otherwise), but I attribute the violence against Christians to “fundamentalists” and “fundamentalist interpretations” of the Koran, meaning there’s no “hate” either.