Fact Check

Is Facebook Banning Users Who Post Photos of Confederate Flags?

Social media networks did not announce they would be banning users who post images of the Confederate flag.

Published June 26, 2015

Several social media networks have announced they will be banning users who post images of the Confederate flag.

On 26 June 2015, the People of Lancaster web site published an article positing that several popular social media networks had announced they would be banning users who posted images of the Confederate flag:

Today Twitter, Facebook and Instagram announced that it will begin to roll out bans on users who use the Confederate flag in their profile pictures or post on their feeds. The ban will start in the beginning July 1st giving users 5 days to remove the photos off of their profiles and news feeds.Facebook will be implementing a 3-Strikes Policy on both Facebook and Instagram platforms. First offense will be a week ban, second offense is a month ban, and finally a permanent ban after the third offense. Twitter will automatically delete the photos and prompt users to log back in under a new Terms of Service Agreement, which could lead to a permanent ban if users do it more than once.zuckerberg-speech-getty-600

Earlier this morning Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement at a press-conference immediately after a Facebook’s monthly shareholder meeting.

“This is an opportunity to make the social networks more culturally sensitive,” Said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, “the Confederate flag is a symbol of intolerance that has long scarred our country’s history, taking this bold yet innovative step will ensure that we can take Facebook to the innovative edge,.”

Some rights groups are calling this overzealous censorship following that violates the Freedom of Speech especially after Apple banning any game that features the Confederate Flag, while other advocates say this is a step in the right direction.

This bold move was brought on in response to companies buckling to pressure from social media the general public to cease sales or censor the Confederate flag over the racially motivated mass shooting Emanuel AME Church that left 8 dead.

Soon afterwards social media users were sharing links to the article as if it were real news — many of them unaware of the irony that their shared posts themselves included images of the Confederate flag. Some of those readers may have encountered difficulty in verifying the validity of the story due to the fact that the People of Lancaster site apparently went down soon after this item was published (presumably due to an unexpected crush of traffic).

In any case, no such prospective social media ban on Confederate flag images has been planned or announced, however: the article was just a bit of fake news from People of Lancaster, a site that openly tags such items as satire and states that they offer "A satirical look at the people, places, and all things Lancaster County, PA.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.