Facebook removes picture of two men kissing

Facebook removed a picture of two men smooching, prompting hundreds of people to post photographs of kissing same-sex couples on their own profile pages.

Ironically, the picture that Facebook censored (show here) was posted on a page to promote a “kiss-in” at a London bar. The event, staged to protest the ejection of two men for showing affection there, drew more than 800 demonstrators who locked lips in front of the John Snow pub in Soho last week.

After Richard Metzger of the online blog Dangerous Minds posted the photo and a story about the kiss-in on Facebook, he said that he was sent this e-mail from “The Facebook Team”:

“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 cyber public responded to the story about Facebook’s censorship by posting public letters such as the following:

“Dear Facebook,

“What is your position on LGBT rights and the progression of non-discrimination policy? Your actions speak loudly, and you’ve pissed off a lot of people. Do you care? Are we human in the “eyes” of Facebook? Why have you not made a statement or offered an apology if you are on the side of what is right? Was this some rogue homophobe in your employ who decided that a gay kiss was too obscene for Facebook?

“LGBT rights have progressed a lot in the last 50 years, but we’re still a long way from true equality. Actions such as removing a photo or a group from Facebook may seem insignificant, but actions of this type add up to become a much larger and significantly dangerous problem. It leads to discrimination. It leads to hate. And it can lead to violence. What if your decision to remove this picture was all some little LGBT kid needed to decide that their life was not worth living? What if your action was the final straw; the final act of discrimination that when witnessed by someone vulnerable would lead to suicide?

“It’s time for you to speak up now. We’re listening, and we’re ready for whatever you have to say. We’re also more than willing to keep fighting.”