Facebook Banned St. Augustine as Hate Speech

Facebook Banned St. Augustine as Hate Speech

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
51 comments
  • I am sharing this I cant belive this happened but not surprisded they have been blocking my catholic scripture and saints quotes for a long time now..

  • Not sure if I missed it, but FB, Twitter and most social media platforms are technically “private” businesses and so they do not have to abide by the same guidelines for free speech as is described in the US Constitution. Essentially, they feel they have a right to “not play fair” with our posts. The problem is, they are unfortunately inequitable in their treatment of speech, usually against conservative political, moral, or religious thoughts. Until they’re declared a “public utility” (which is somewhat unlikely but could happen) they can pretty much do what they want, and be inconsistent and biased, and not acknowledge the unfair treatment.

  • Congratulations! You tell the truth, Sir. It is a shame that FaceBook does not know the truth from it’s opposite. The truth cannot be “hate speech,” indeed it is the opposite of anything so silly and degraded. For shame on FaceBook!

  • A couple of days ago, I shared the same quote from Saint Augustine, and Facebook removed it the very next day; the same thing happened when some of my friends shared the post! Since there is clearly absolutely nothing offensive in Saint Augustine’s words, I am forced to draw the conclusion that anti-Catholic bias is at the root of this. We all know that if the selfsame words had been attributed to Ghandi, Mohammed, or the Buddha, Facebook would have had no objection to them whatsoever.

  • “As a conservative, I’m biased against government intervention into free enterprise. But I also recognize that sometimes regulation and legislation are necessary to protect the rights of citizens against the agendas of certain groups of people or corporations. I’m starting to lean toward the necessity of the US government regulating social media firms as public utilities. Because Big Brother isn’t just from the government any more.”

    Love you, Dom o’ mine, but hope you reconsider. Folks, keep reposting and reposting and reposting. Big Brother certainly IS from the government, but is fed and thrives by those who pretend to be “free speech advocates,” ironically enough…and is, in turn, refed from the regurgitated slope the government hands out. (MSM, I’m looking at you…and you, too, Amazon, and others!) Like you, FB has a role to play in the earning of my daily bread. But there are other avenues. (Please don’t ask me what these are, on accounta I don’t know yet.) 🙂

    Anyway, I hope you reconsider the U.S. Government regulating social media as an answer. Thanks for reading. XOXO

  • Today, a friend of mine posted the same quote, but omitted Saint Augustine’s name, attributing it merely to “a saint”; it has been up for 4 hours so far…

    • As of now, my friend’s post (omitting Saint Augustine’s name) has remained up for 13 hours.

  • I’ve been quoting saints on fb for years, both in a private capacity and as a contributor to church sites. Never had a problem. I use names. I get unfriended by the occasional conservative, but that’s not news. I still think Dom has a stalker.

    • Todd, I have now repeated myself many times. The quote was originally banned after it was posted by two different priests long before I posted it. I wrote this to you before and I wrote it up above. And now I have received a further message from Facebook that after human review by one of their community standards people that it is still considered hate speech. That’s not some stalker following me around (and if I had a malicious stalker why just this one (according to your theory) random post and not other stuff?

      The problem here, as I wrote above, isn’t just that this particular quote was removed but that the way Facebook’s system is set up is completely arbitrary and capricious. You have no way of knowing what particular, seemingly innocuous, post will trigger the ban and put you in Facebook limbo or get you banned completely.

      • I used to think the conservative half of the Catholic blogosphere was arbitrary and capricious. But whatever. I don’t relish seeing what’s coming around in your and these clerics’ direction. But for what it’s worth, I’m with you on this one. If it’s not a stalker, it must be the company you keep. Don’t friend me on fb for awhile and let’s see if they let my Augustinian quote stay afloat.

    • Our society approves of behaviors plainly condemned in the bible. The ancient writings will eventually be deemed hate speech by those groups. It is only a matter of time. I am not looking forward to this eventuality.

  • The quote is “hate speech” because it might make people who think they are good feel bad. Anything that does not affirm every life choice and action a person makes is hurtful and considered hateful unless it is condemning racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, eco-crimes or any other sin against progressivism. Therefore, the most charitable and loving speech regarding the Christian doctrine of the sinful condition of man will likely run afoul of the hate speech police.

  • “But men are hopeless creatures.” Maybe this is sexist. Maybe you should have criticized the whole human race and not just the male sex by saying “But humans are hopeless creatures.”

  • I think it’s the “men are hopeless creatures” phrase that’s tripping the wire, with men being a protected class. I wonder if there is another translation that uses, say, humanity, and if that would pass.

  • I, too, am a Christian conservative who is concerned about government overreach. That this quote from St Augustine keeps getting flagged is baffling to me. I’ve read it and heard it many times in my life and in my education. Today is the first time that this part of it ever jumped off the page at me and I’m thinking this could be what is violating Facebook’s standards of hate speech:  “…men are hopeless creatures…” While we know that “men” here is speaking of humanity, it could be seen as attacking the male gender. Maybe get a test team together to repost this putting the word “humans” in parentheses in place of men and see if your test group gets the same result, percentage-wise, as the original quote. I’m very curious about this whole thing. The day Christians can be so easily silenced is the day we should all be shaking in our shoes. God Bless!

    • Yea it could be the “men are hopeless..” line. That could trigger an algorithm to think it’s a gender-related, hateful message.
      Who knows how much attention the “human reviewer” pays… the guy is probably sitting there with thousands of posts to review, just sees that this quote has been taken down alot, imediately clicks “deny” and hurries through the rest of the posts so they can go to lunch.
      “Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity (but don’t rule out malice)”

  • The progressives philosophy is “There is no Truth, only a man’s opinion” (no absolutes/no G-d). This is the philosophy in our new Federally mandated school curriculum, “Common Core/College and Career Ready Standards”. Every State has abdicated their sovereignty over their local public schools for this ‘new’ Global workforce education system (A Type 2 system instead of our traditional Type 1 Classical knowledge-based academic system). It simply holds man’s nature above natural law. Our children have been and are being taught this and to disregard their ‘fallen’ families’ views. Germany 1930s.

  • What Freedom do you have when others dictate what you can see, can hear, or read ? Americans need to make the oppressive dictators end the nonsense now, or you’ll lose your freedoms for good.

  • Great article. Ironically, I shared this article on a catholic group in Facebook and it was flagged (by Facebook’s algorithm) then subsequently deleted by the administrator of the group (presumably without verifying if it were really inappropriate). It is simply ironic that a post about freedom of speech itself gets suppressed.

  • I bet it is the word “sin.” It would be interesting to substitute “error” or “lapse” or some other word. One man’s sin is another man’s greatest achievement on FB.

  • I’ve just put up the quote, along with a link to your blog, and it has been up for 16 hours so far. Maybe I’m not important enough to be watched.

  • Mr. Bettineli,

    I linked into your site from another site that picked up your story (moonbattery.com). I don’t have a Facebook account, but possibly you – or one of your regular posters if you are afraid of getting sent to Facebook Jail – could do a little experiment –

    Substitute the word ‘racism’ for ‘sin,’ and attribute the quote to Martin Luther King. See if it gets banned then.

  • […] Es ist ganz offensichtlich, dass Facebook in diesem Fall nicht vor einer Aufforderung zum Hass oder zur Gewalt schützt, sondern das Recht auf die freie Rede völlig unbegründet beschneidet. Es fällt nicht schwer, sich auszumahlen, wohin das führen kann. Hier die gesamte Geschichte: https://www.bettnet.com.https://theoblog.de/facebook-hat-augustinus-als-hassredner-eingestuft-und-verbannt/33798/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theoblogde+%28TheoBlog.de%29 […]

  • Oh the irony of a podcast (and all the commenters here) castigating Facebook over a quote talking about people being quick to point out the faults in others rather than examining themselves. I think Facebook is an evil entity that does more harm than good, but I believe this incident is the result of a) lazy programming if this is an AI-based evaluation system, or b) cheap staffing if this is a human-based evaluation system. In other words, this is Facebook being the money-chasing company it always has been, limiting any staffing overhead that would humanize it slightly and stop it from making these stupid mistakes. It doesn’t represent some sinister anti-Christian agenda. The ONLY thing that Mark Zuckerberg and anyone else in Facebook leadership cares about is money. Another quote would be appropriate here – Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

    • Fair enough, Colin, but that doesn’t address my ultimate point that having a speech policy as loose and opaque as this one–a policy that flags an obviously benign bit of speech as hate speech–whether by a badly programmed AI or an overworked, poorly trained moderator, and then threatens users with banishment ultimately harms people and public discourse. Social media has become a privately owned public square and an important link to the world for many people and the threat of being banished arbitrarily and without recourse is chilling.

      But you do make a strong accusation here that I and others are pointing out Facebook’s faults without examining our own faults. But it’s not as simple as that. If it were, then you’d be guilty for doing in your comment. And then I’d be guilty for this comment. Ad nauseum. The Gospel instruction has to mean more than that.

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