Over the last two days, reports claiming that Facebook is set to ban posts with the Confederate battle flag have been swirling around the Internet. The claim first appeared Monday in an article at the National Report — a well-known satire site — and spread from there.
Now, a number of fake news sites using the names of real news sites, have blasted the article across the Internet. One site, for example, uses the name “USA Today” in what appears to be an effort to fool people. Another uses “The Blaze,” while a third pretends to be the National Review. The key to spotting these fake news sites is in the URL. All of the sites end with “.co.” The fake USA Today site, for example, has “usatoday.com.co” for a URL.
The report claims that Facebook will start banning posts with the Confederate flag after the July 4 holidays. Multiple violations, the report claims, will result in account suspensions.
A search of reputable news sites, however, produced no information to indicate Facebook is set to ban Confederate flag posts. We reached out to Facebook for clarification on the issue, but have not received a response.
The report caused quite a stir on Twitter. “Facebook wants to ban the #confederateflag but if one made a confederate flag out of little #ISIS flags it would be fine probably,” one person said. “Why would Facebook ban the Confederate flag, and promote the Rainbow flag,” another person wondered. “Is there a conflict of interest?”
Unfortunately, Facebook’s treatment of its users makes the report seem credible. As we have documented over the last few years in many articles, Facebook has banned users for far less than posts containing the Confederate flag.
In 2013, the social media giant banned one conservative blogger over a link she never posted. Users have also been slapped by Facebook for saying “thank you,” and the site blocked one Texas man for comparing a friend to a liberal.
In one case, Facebook banned a conservative female for thanking friends who wished her a happy birthday. This May, Facebook told one conservative user that a picture of a lilac tree was considered pornographic. There are many, many more — far too many to list here. For now, however, it seems that users can post the Confederate flag.