Hello again friends. It's been a trying time for Atheist Republic in the last few weeks, and I'd like to talk to you all about what's been going on.
As many of you may recall, we at AR posted a Photoshop image of the Kaaba draped in a rainbow flag about two weeks ago. To say that the responses to that picture were unkind would be a drastic understatement, because when people send death threats and try to seek out the personal information of our members to do bodily harm against them, it crosses the line of being unkind into the murky depths of fevered fanatical hatred. I shared quite a few of those threats in my last op-ed piece titled, A Moderate Response if you'd like to see the love for yourself. But I'll warn you that one of the images there is terribly graphic and quite disturbing.
Since then however, the shitstorm that has been brewing has turned into a full on hurricane. Multiple admins have had their accounts reported and suspended, and several others have seen post after post on their own personal pages reported for terms of service violations for absolutely no reason at all. Our founder has had so many of his personal posts reported that he is wary of posting anything at all for fear of having his account suspended. To add insult to injury, he's also had people hurling threats and insults at his wife on his page.
None of this is absolutely new so to speak. We run an atheist page on a social networking platform, so such things are somewhat to be expected. Normally, we just take it all with a grain of salt and continue on our merry way. But this latest rash of incidents has gone far beyond the sort of thing we can simply shrug off. The reality is that, in the last two weeks we have been specifically targeted for harassment in an effort to shut us down.
The sad part for us, is that the mods on Facebook are simply letting it happen, if indeed they are paying any attention at all. And what makes it all even more crazy is that Facebook actually does have a policy against harassment, however they also refuse to tell us who it is that keeps harassing us, thereby making it impossible for us to remedy the situation by trying to block these specific people. This whole circle of insanity leaves us with absolutely no avenue of redress other than to try and contact the very people at Facebook who either don’t give a shit that we’re being targeted for harassment, or can’t be bothered to take the time to realize that when one specific person or groups of people continually target one specific page and report everything on the page without regard to whether it is a violation of terms of service or not, that maybe the problem isn’t the page and its content but rather the individuals who are reporting the page.
We know that people are going to get pissed off by some of things we post, and we happily allow them to air their grievances on all our social networking pages without any censorship whatsoever. If we post something you don't like, please feel free to tell us exactly how you feel about it on the page, or block the page altogether, but don't arbitrarily report shit just trying to silence us. For one, doing that just makes you a bold-faced liar, such as with many of these posts that have been reported for things such as nudity when there is clearly no nudity at all in the posts. And secondly, that plan of shutting us down by trying to exploit an algorithm simply isn't going to work.
Because a rainbow colored Kaaba is more offensive than death threats. pic.twitter.com/oy2Dkq78Mk
— Atheist Republic (@AtheistRepublic) July 11, 2015
We experienced this same sort of attack on our private group earlier this year. The group was shut down... for all of 48 hours. In that time, we reached out to every member of the atheist community that we possibly could and the response was absolutely amazing. But we dare not wait this time until our page is taken down before we take action. If you support the Atheist Republic and the community that we’ve worked so hard to build, please help us out a bit and share this everywhere that you can. Perhaps if Facebook gets enough bad publicity they’ll actually have their mods start doing their jobs and actually look at the reports that are thrown at them rather than just letting some algorithm be exploited by people who are only interested in silencing a group they don’t agree with.