NRB Study: Social Sites Censoring Christians

WASHINGTON – One of the biggest promises of the Internet was that it would have unfettered free speech for all.

However, a new study released Thursday revealed that Christians are one of the few groups being censored online.

The new media platforms of our world – Facebook, Google, Apple, and MySpace – all promise a world filled with much more free speech and democracy.

But the National Religious Broadcasters has warned these platforms could well be the new anti-religious censors of our day.

The NRB conducted a study of the social networking websites that showed even among the largest of the sites, only Twitter hasn’t censored Christians.

“There’s actually a pattern of anti-Christian censorship that’s already occurred among several of them. And, then, when we looked farther, looked at their written policies, we found that [with] everyone of them, except for Twitter again,” Craig Parshall, general counsel for the NRB, said.

“They get an A+ from us. The rest of them get failing grades,” he added.

Colby May, director of the office of governmental affairs at the American Center for Law and Justice, teamed up with Parshall and other groups to examine the new media platforms censorship for the last year-and-a-half.

“There is a kind of viewpoint censorship that’s going on. And we need to go ahead and stand up and say, ‘Stop. Not here. Don’t do it. Wrong way. Turn around now,’” May explained.

“What’s getting censored?” CBN News asked Parshall.

“Right now, it’s on the issue of the gay rights agenda,” he responded.

Apple’s Apps store stopped the distribution of two applications that were from Christian groups opposing the gay rights agenda.

“And you have to ask yourself, ‘Why just these two viewpoints of the hundreds of thousands that you have?’ And when you get the explanation, it’s ‘Well, some people were ruffled. They felt they were offended by it,’” May said.

Parshall complained that the companies behind these platforms give them “the authority to strip content off whenever other users, for any reason, decide they don’t like the opinions of other users.”

“Then you’re thinking, ‘Wait just a minute. We’ve crossed over into this netherworld where offense is now the justification upon which the rights we have as Americans to fully engage in the culture and to debate all issues is going to be decided?’” May asked.

The panelists who came to Washington to discuss the new NRB study urge the Googles, the Apples and the Facebooks of the world to instead use the First Amendment as a guide for unfettered free speech.

“More speech is better than less speech. Open and robust debate and contending for the things that matter is essential,” May said.

“Everyone’s viewpoint ought to be allowed on these new media platforms,” Parshall pointed out.

I found out very early on that Facebook has no qualms about censoring stuff they don’t agree with. I posted an anti-Obama comment during the '08 campaign. It wasn’t anything terribly bad, just a comment that I don’t agree with his politics, that I fear where he would take us as a president and then a link to a news story that backed up some of what I said. An hour or two later, it was gone. I posted it again, then again. Each time it was taken down within 1-3 hours. I then posted a comment complaining about my posts being censored. It disappeared, too.

[quote=article cited in first post]WASHINGTON – One of the biggest promises of the Internet was that it would have unfettered free speech for all.

I disagree with that statement. Unfettered free speech in a context of anonymity quickly becomes brutish and destructive, driving out people who will not sink to that level. Without some control, civil discourse is impossible.

Hmmm… yes and no. Social media are private property. They are owned by a company, and its users are merely guests. The company has a right and a duty to regulate what is being said to protect its investment, as well as to make civil discourse possible. Obvious things which few people would support would be child porn or torture videos. Perhaps questionable topics would be bomb-making instructions or methods on committing certain crimes. Iffy topics might be how to cheat on one’s spouse, or promoting one’s personal business

So where is the line drawn? Doesn’t that depend upon the values of the company? Would the National Religious Broadcasters expect CAF to host threads promoting Islam as the one true religion?

I realize this is a complicated topic, and hope we will discuss it in detail. I just wanted to point out that the NRB’s position isn’t as straight-forward as they suggest.

This is not surprising. Isn’t one of the founders/owners of Facebook a gay activist?

I’m not sure it’s even prejudice in a lot of cases. If and ISP gets complaints about a site or blog they will shut it down for EULA violations without investigating.
Of course, Apple’s behavior is just blatant. Btw, how many of you own iDevices?

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