Facebook Banned Me For This Image. You Can Probably Guess Why.
by Scott Faith
This happened in 2016, but is typical of the discrimination that conservatives and veterans face on Facebook. If you have similar stories about running afoul of social justice warriors on social media, we’d love to hear them. This article first appeared in The Havok Journal 11 July 2018. However, in 2020 Facebook is facing criticism from the Left for not doing enough to censor “hate speech”.
About a week ago, a friend of mine named Paul J. O’Leary posted a beautiful tribute to the five police officers killed by the Dallas shooter. For those of you who don’t know Paul, he is also a prolific writer whose work has been featured in the popular veterans’ blog The Rhino Den and Unapologetically American (both run by Ranger Up), as well as LawOfficer.com, and of course right here in The Havok Journal. More significantly, in addition to being a long term friend of mine Paul is both a veteran and a law enforcement officer.
Paul’s simple expression of sorrow, and the veteran community’s support of it, got a whole lot of us banned from Facebook. I’ll explain:
In his article, Paul offers a sense of what it is like to stand as part of the “thin blue line” that separates criminals from the law-abiding citizenry, and expressed anguished that the men and women in blue feel when they lose one of their own. A short excerpt:
In recent years, we have done the same with New York City, Boston, and others. Because when tragedy strikes one of us, it strikes all of us. We are the Thin Blue Line. To some the phrase “thin blue line” is meant to represent a negative – the sense that police will stand together and cover for each other when one of us does wrong, but it is something so much more than that.
The Thin Blue Line is the thing that connects each of us as colleagues and as family. As men and women in an inherently dangerous profession of arms that go out day after day and night after night to protect those who cannot protect themselves. To protect those who do not know us. To protect those who may hate us.
We have our faults. We have our bad players. There are some among us who have no business wearing a badge and gun, but they are the exception. Most of us, the overwhelming majority of us, are men and women who do our jobs with pride and integrity.”
That’s pretty inoffensive, right?
Wrong, apparently. At least to Facebook.
When I was looking for an image to support Paul’s article, I came an image consisting of an outline of the state of Texas, on top of which was superimpose a portion of the U.S. flag and a “thin blue line.” The image was unattributed at the time, but during my research for this article I found out that it came from a company called PatriotWood. Here’s what it looked like:
After I posted Paul’s article, which was widely read and shared on a number of veteran and law enforcement sites, one of our mutual friends suggested adopting the image as a profile picture in order to show support for the Dallas PD and the families of the fallen. Several of us thought that was a great idea and did just that. It was a simple gesture of support; nothing more, nothing less.
This morning, several days after several of us changed our profile pictures to “thin blue line,” I woke up to a shock. I was “temporarily banned” from Facebook, something that had never happened before.
Additionally, and of even more concern to me, the exact same thing had happened to a number of my friends in the veteran community. The common thread was that all of us had adopted the “thin blue line” as our profile pic. A major pro-veteran Facebook page with more than 500,000 followers, Girls for Gunslingers, was taken down by Facebook after adopting the “thin blue line” image for their page.
What was the reason for all of this banhammer action? Well folks, that “thin blue line” image violated Facebook’s “community standards.”
I’m sorry, what?