On 28 September 2015, a Facebook user posted a meme holding that the social network company doesn’t “think military emblems are appropriate”:
The graphic contained no information about the claim it made, simply displaying the emblems of the United States Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, and Navy and declaring that Facebook deemed those emblems inappropriate for unstated reasons.
That assertion would probably come as news to the Marines, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, and Navy, all of whom maintain verified Facebook pages on which their emblems are frequently and proudly displayed. Each of those pages bears Facebook’s stamp of official recognition, indicating that the social network has acknowledged and welcomed their presence.
Moreover, the meme (which displayed all five supposedly objectionable emblems) was shared hundreds of thousands of times since 28 September 2015 and many times in the years since then. Had Facebook truly objected to the display of those emblems for any reason, the meme likely wouldn’t have traveled very far or remained visible for so long without the social network’s operatives taking action.
The rumor resembled a mid-2015 claim that suggesting Facebook found Marine Corps emblems offensive, going so far as to suspend pages for sharing images of it. We contacted Facebook to determine whether there was any truth to the rumor, and a representative for the company told us that the emblem “[does] not violate Facebook’s Community Standards, and therefore would not be removed from our platform.”
Such claims seem to originate from instances in which Facebook users have posted material that is objectionable or otherwise violates Facebook’s community standards in conjunction with military emblems. When Facebook then removes such posts, the posters assume (or claim) that it was the military emblem, and not the objectionable material accompanying it, that triggered Facebook’s intervention.