Evangelist Franklin Graham on Sunday said he considers the fact that Facebook banned him for 24 hours over a 2016 post a “personal attack toward me.”
“Why are they going back to 2016?” said Graham, son of famed Evangelist Billy Graham and president of the Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “I think it was just really a personal attack toward me,” he said on Fox News.
Graham wrote Friday on Facebook that his account had been blocked over a 2016 post about North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.” He said Facebook deemed the post violated its “community standards on hate speech.” The post had targeted Bruce Springsteen for canceling a North Carolina concert at the time due to the state’s House Bill 2, or “bathroom bill,” The Hill reported.
“He says the NC law #HB2 to prevent men from being able to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms is going ‘backwards instead of forwards,’” Graham said in reference to the singer in the post. “Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands.”
Graham on Sunday said the ban amounted to censorship. “Facebook is trying to define the truth,” Graham wrote, adding, “Actually, Facebook is censoring free speech. The free exchange of ideas is part of our country’s DNA.”
Also on Sunday, Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Pollack acknowledged the 24-hour ban was made after the platform had removed the post for “violating [its] hate speech policies.”
But she said Facebook had changed its mind.
“Upon re-reviewing this content, we identified that the post does not violate our hate speech policy and has been restored,” Pollack said.
Graham posted a message from Facebook that read: “It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn’t go against our Community standards. We want to apologize and let you know that we’ve restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action.”
Graham wrote back: “Thank you to @Facebook for the apology, the admission that my April 9, 2016 post didn’t go against your Community Standards, and the corrective action taken.”
Later, he wrote on Twitter: “I thank @Facebook for their apology and I accept it. All truth is in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ I would encourage all Christians—as well as Facebook—to stand on God’s Word and His truth.”