Facebook has publicly apologised to Representative Marie Newman, after the social media platform took down a video, which showed the Democratic congresswoman displaying a transgender pride flag outside of her office at the U.S. Capitol, from her official page earlier on Thursday.
Newman is a federal lawmaker, who began her first term representing Illinois’ third congressional district in January; she condemned the video’s removal for supposed “hate speech” in a screenshot shared to Twitter.
She added that vocalising support for transgender people should not be a violation of any content rules - particularly any banning hateful rhetoric - before flagging the platform’s hypocritical double standards.
Newcomer Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene shared a transphobic video to her Facebook page around the same time, which was not deemed problematic.
Facebook took down our video of me putting up the Transgender flag outside my office and labeled it as “hate speech… https://t.co/8PZ4HwRnv7
— Congresswoman Marie Newman (@Congresswoman Marie Newman)
Newman tweeted: “Facebook took down our video of me putting up the Transgender flag outside my office and labelled it as ‘hate speech. Meanwhile, they’re still allowing Marjorie Taylor Greene’s transphobic video to be posted. Supporting transgender Americans is NOT hate speech.”
Later on Thursday morning, Facebook removed its restriction on the video, with the platform’s policy communications director, Andy Stone, apologising on behalf of Facebook and confirming the video was restored to her page.
Responding to her Tweet, Stone wrote: “Congresswoman, this plainly should not have happened. We’ve restored this content and you have our sincere apologies.”
@RepMarieNewman Congresswoman, this plainly should not have happened. We've restored this content and you have our sincere apologies.
However, Greene’s video continued to appear on her Facebook page on Thursday afternoon. It showed the congresswoman, whose office is located across the hall from Newman’s, hanging a transphobic poster in response to her Capitol neighbour’s pride flag.
In response to Newman’s tweet, one person wrote: “Facebook is terrible. I got warned for telling someone that there are other religions besides Christianity and FB said I was committing hate speech. Haven’t logged on in months.”
@RepMarieNewman Facebook is terrible. I got warned for telling someone that there are other religions besides Chris… https://t.co/hJTsJM9hja
This week, members of the U.S. House voted to pass the Equality Act, which Greene opposes and attempted to delay. It will now be debated in the near future by the Senate.
The bill seeks to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and broaden the settings in which protections for LGBTQ+ Americans apply.
Newman, whose daughter is transgender, supports the legislation, and it is expected to pass in the House during a vote on Thursday.
In a caption linked to her Facebook video, she said: “Our neighbour, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, tried to block the Equality Act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil.’ Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”
It was first posted after Greene filed a motion to adjourn the House on Wednesday in an effort to delay the bill’s approval.