A few days ago I was left a little love note in a comment on a facebook thread.

Now Jack had worked hard at this. He wrote an original comment and then, as will be clear above, edited it (no doubt to clarify his argument). Edited additions in bold.

I also wonder why an ex-midlands accented IMMIGRANT Brit has the temerity to be commenting on civil secular marriage licenses and equality under the law for law abiding tax paying BORN HERE Gay Australians when the charities commission is explicit in its rules that not-for -profit charities should not enter into politics. That said, spray all the poisonous bile and lies about gay people you want in your “freedom to worship churches” and stay OUT of the public square where you not wanted. perhaps Rev. Ould (media wh*re) should focus on treading carefully in his adopted country with his mail-order singaporean bride(which is usually code for closeted bi-sexual) and ponder that perhaps he should be serving gay australians in his adopted country rather than seeking to curtail their civil rights

Yes, that’s right. Mr Allison took the time 6 minutes later to go back and fill out his comment a little more in order (amongst other things) to have a go at Mrs Ould.

Now please be assured this stuff is water off a duck’s back. I’m more than used to it and I slept well that night (although I wonder if Jack was able to calm himself down enough to get a bit of shut-eye). However, the next morning I took the view that this was unacceptable and if we’re committed to having good conversations about hard topics then from time to time we need to challenge this sort of behaviour.

On Facebook that pathway is pretty clear; there is a means of reporting potential breaches of what Facebook calls its “community standards“. So I made a report, confident that surely Facebook would want to reduce this kind of language on its platform. Before doing so I reviewed their particular standards on “hate speech“.

Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their:

  • race,
  • ethnicity,
  • national origin,
  • religious affiliation,
  • sexual orientation,
  • sex, gender or gender identity, or
  • serious disabilities or diseases.

By my conservative reckoning, Mr Allison managed to tick a number of those boxes.

He attacked the national origin of both myself and Mrs Ould. His comment “mail-order … bride” is a veiled attack upon race and ethnicity. My religious affiliation is a target as is my supposed sexual orientation and identity as “bi-sexual”. I make that 6 out of the 7.

Here’s the response I got from Facebook:

Thank you for letting us know about this. We’ve looked over the comment, and although it doesn’t go against any of our specific Community Standards, you did the right thing by letting us know about it. No one should have to feel bullied or harassed on Facebook, and we’re sorry that you had this experience.

Speechless. What do you have to do to breach facebook’s community standards?

update 6 November 2017: Facebook have now deleted the comment. It seems others complained as well and another reviewer acted.

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