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Facebook Accused of Gagging Same-Sex Debate

Last edited 18th April 2016

Facebook Accused of Gagging Same-Sex Debate

Facebook has been accused of censoring views that differ from its own social agenda after it ­deleted a post by a Sydney man who suggested same-sex marriage ­advocates should accept some of the blame for making gay people feel marginalised. John Dickson, who runs the Centre for Public Christianity, posted the opinion to his 10,000 friends and followers on Saturday morning, calling for a more ­respectful conversation on the divisive issue.

By that night, Facebook had removed the post because it did not adhere to the social media giant’s “community standards”. But in a dramatic about-face, Mr Dickson’s post reappeared on Facebook at 8.30pm yesterday after former human rights commissioner Tim Wilson approached the company.

Mr Wilson, the Liberal candidate for the seat of Goldstein at this year’s federal election, told The Australian he contacted Facebook about the post after being made aware of it yesterday. He said Facebook had admitted it made an error by deleting it. “My instinct is to defend free speech,” Mr Wilson said. Last month, Facebook entered an unprecedented partnership with the Australian Marriage Equality lobby group that allows users to add a prominent banner to their profile picture showing support for same-sex marriage.

The company also offered rainbow overlays to users around the world after the US Supreme Court backed marriage equality last year. Describing himself as a trad­itional Christian, Mr Dickson said he did not support same-sex marriage but would accept the Australian people’s verdict on the issue. He said he was shocked that his post, along with the hundreds of comments below it, had been deleted within hours. “It was a really good conversation — plenty of people dis­agreed with me, plenty agreed, but everyone kept their cool and, frankly, I think it was a model conversation,” he said yesterday.

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