This update means that denying the existence of a potentially unlimited number of gender identities could now result in a permanent account ban.
In a move that mirrors Twitter’s recent update to its user rules forbidding “misgendering” on the platform, Facebook has updated its terms of service to say that “denying existence” of self-determined gender identities will be considered “hate speech” on the platform.
Facebook doesn’t outline specific punishments for saying a gender identity doesn’t exist but its Community Standards say punishments can range from a warning to an outright ban:
According to Reclaim the Net, internet and tech watchdog, the social media giant “quietly updated its Community Standards on ‘hate speech’ and prohibited ‘statements denying existence’ based on ‘gender identity.’ Since Facebook users can enter custom gender identities, this update means that denying the existence of a potentially unlimited number of gender identities could now result in a permanent account ban.”
Facebook’s Community Standards page on what constitutes hate speech says in a December 2019 post that their rules extend to protected traits which not only include race and religious affiliation, but now adds “gender identity.” The platform has over 50 pre-filled potential gender identities with words that have no dictionary definition or coherent meaning such as “Bigender,” “Neutrois,” “non-binary,” and “Pangender.”
“The consequences for violating our Community Standards vary depending on the severity of the violation and the person’s history on the platform. For instance, we may warn someone for a first violation, but if they continue to violate our policies, we may restrict their ability to post on Facebook or disable their profile. We also may notify law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or a direct threat to public safety.”
Listed under Tier 1, the social media company now insists that content that targets a person or group with “statements denying existence” is not allowed.
The new rules also say that speech or imagery that dehumanizes people in the form of generalization, comparison, or unqualified behavioral statements is no longer allowed, such as likening people to insects, bacteria, or violent and sexual criminals.
The December 2019 update comes amid increasing public scrutiny over Silicon Valley’s influence over the free speech of the citizenry in Western nations, particularly as it relates to gender identity ideology and transgender activism.
One of the main impacts of this policy is likely to be that statements in support of biological sex could get users banned from Facebook. For example, statements such as “men cannot change into women” could be perceived as denying the existence of someone’s gender identity.
People who say that biological sex is real, or joke about transgender people are increasingly being maligned by both big tech platforms and outraged users.
When comedian Ricky Gervais responded to a “trans woman” parody account with a joke, he was accused of “veiling” his transphobia in satire and journalists even contacted the Golden Globes in what appeared to be an attempt to get him deplatformed from hosting the event.
Twitter also bans users for “misgendering” transgender people with feminist journalist Meghan Murphy being banned under this policy in 2018.
Murphy told The Christian Post at the time that Twitter’s rules change in its terms of service means that “male predators are allowed to change their sex, change their name, erase their history.”
“So if a man is violent, a pedophile, if he is a danger to people, to women and girls or kids in general, he’s fully allowed to erase that history from the internet and move on with his life and continue to predate,” she said.