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Setting the Facts Straight on the Facebook Fiasco

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UPDATE: 4/19/2001 Read Richard Metzger: How I, a married, middle-aged man, became an accidental spokesperson for gay rights overnight on Boing Boing

It’s time to clarify a few details about the controversial “Hey Facebook what’s SO wrong with a pic of two men kissing?” story, as it now beginning to be reported in the mainstream media, and not always correctly.

First of all, with regards to the picture:

The photo which was used to illustrate my first post about the John Snow Kiss-In is a promotional still from the British soap opera “Eastenders.” It features one of the main characters from the show (Christian Clarke, played by the actor John Partridge- left) and someone else who I don’t know. I am not a regular viewer so I can’t say if the man on the right is an extra or an actual character. 

This picture has itself caused scandal in the UK, as it was a gay kiss that was broadcast before the watershed, and as such led to a number of complaints to the BBC. However, since this episode aired (October 2008) Christian now has a boyfriend and a few more gay kisses have taken place.

In relation to the John Snow Kiss-In event, I used this particular photo because I considered it to be quite mild (no groping, no tongues). The photos I had considered using before I chose that one are much more racy. Oh the irony!

Secondly, the removal of the Facebook John Snow Kiss-In event:

It turns out that the Facebook event for the John Snow Kiss-In was not blocked by Facebook, but made private by the creator of the event itself. Paul Shetler, the organizer, left this comment on the previous thread:

“Hey I just saw this. Before it goes too far, I just want people to know that FB have NOT removed the kiss-in event page; it’s still there, but _I made the event private after the event_ was over and only visible to those who had been invited as there were starting to be trolls posting abusive nonsense on it.”

Thanks for clearing that up, Paul. Now if Facebook will only reply to Richard’s query about why they removed my original post and photo when he put it up on his wall…

It has been erroneously reported in the media that our own Richard Metzger (who lives in Los Angeles) organized the London “Kiss-In” event, which is untrue, and also unfair to Paul Shetler and the actual organizers. Also, Richard did not state in his post that Facebook HAD taken the event page down, he just questioned IF this was the case and IF there was a connection with MY post about the event being removed from his own wall. This seems to have confused some people.

Here is a report on the John Snow Kiss-In from the Guardian, featuring an interview with Mr Shetler:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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04.18.2011
02:07 pm
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Hey Facebook: What’s SO wrong about a pic of two men kissing?

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This is perplexing. And annoying. And infuriating.

I woke up this morning to an email from Facebook with the subject “Facebook Warning”:

“Hello,

Content that you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook.

This message serves as a warning. Additional violations may result in the termination of your account. Please read the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities carefully and refrain from posting abusive material in the future. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

The Facebook Team”

Ah…yeah… it seems that the sight of two fully-clothed men kissing was too much for Facebook, or too much for some closet-case asshole (Hi Jerry! Remind me why you and I are “friends” again? I sure didn’t ask to be yours, pal…) who complained about it. The photo appeared here on Dangerous Minds in the context of Niall’s post about the “kiss in” demonstration that was cooked up, ironically ON FACEBOOK ITSELF, in London to protest against the rude treatment two gay patrons experienced at a pub called The John Snow. The two men, Jonathan Williams, 26, and Jamie Bull, 23 were sitting in a corner kissing when the owner asked them to leave. Over 750 people signed up for the protest.

Oh, WAIT A MINUTE, I went to check on the Facebook page that organized The John Snow pub protest... and it’s gone, too.

WTF, FB?

I’ve written to Facebook asking them why this content was removed, but have at this point received no reply. I’ll update this post when I do. In the meantime, why not share this photo on FB as much as you can? I’m hoping they’ll restore the post as it was so everyone can pile on the jerk who wrote all the homophobic stuff on my FB wall. I think that’s the best outcome here, Jerry getting a taste of his own medicine…

In any case, the protest went off last night against The John Snow pub, with protesters chanting “We’re here, we’re queer and we won’t buy your beer.” You can see the BBC News report here.

Thank you and have a great weekend. Join Dangerous Minds on Facebook.

UPDATE:

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(Thanks for this, Robyn Webb!)
 
UPDATE: 4/18/2011 This was sent in to the comments below:

Paul Shetler says:

Hey I just saw this. Before it goes too far, I just want people to know that FB have NOT removed the kiss-in event page; it’s still there, but _I made the event private after the event_ was over and only visible to those who had been invited as there were starting to be trolls posting abusive nonsense on it.

That’s pathetic, but predictable. However, it still doesn’t explain why Facebook removed the Dangerous Minds post from my profile, of course, with the warning that I had posted “abusive” material. Still waiting for that. I’ve heard nothing thus far from them. Will update again when I have heard from them.

UPDATE: 4/18/2011 Please read our follow up post on this story, which deals with some misreported facts on other news outlets.

UPDATE: 4/19/2001 Read Richard Metzger: How I, a married, middle-aged man, became an accidental spokesperson for gay rights overnight on Boing Boing

Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.16.2011
02:07 pm
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