Facebook has censored Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn after she posted that gender-dysphoric male athletes should not compete in women’s sports.
“Biological men have no place in women’s sports,” Blackburn wrote in a post shared to her personal Facebook page. It linked to a donation website that encouraged her supporters to “fight back against Big Tech censorship” by adding their names to her campaign email list and making a contribution, Fox News reported.
But the post, shared with Blackburn’s nearly 150,000 followers, was flagged by Facebook for violating its “community standards on hate speech.”
“Your post didn’t follow our Community Standards on hate speech,” Facebook wrote in a notice to Blackburn. “No one else can see your post.”
The Tennessee Republican blasted Facebook and its parent company, Meta, as a “Silicoln Valley oligarch” and said she would not be silenced.
“Big Tech and the Democrats are colluding to radically transform America,” Blackburn said in a statement to Fox News. “They want to silence and censor conservatives for speaking out against their woke agenda. It does not take a biologist to know the difference between a man and a woman, and I will not be silenced or threatened by Silicon Valley oligarchs. Biological men have no place in women’s sports.”
Facebook’s Community Standards have broad rules prohibiting “hate speech,” which the platform defines as “a direct attack against people — rather than concepts or institutions — on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease.”
The social media platform prohibits exclusionary statements based on gender identity, among the other “protected characteristics” Facebook cares about. That includes statements “expelling certain groups or saying they are not allowed,” as well as “political exclusion,” “economic exclusion,” and “social exclusion.” Blackburn’s comment that males who identify as female should not be allowed to play in women’s sports would violate one or more of those standards.
Whether transgender athletes should be allowed to play on sports teams according to their self-professed gender identity has become a controversial political issue in recent years. Most Republicans, like Blackburn, have taken the position that males have natural biological advantages over females and should not be allowed to play in women’s sports, no matter how they identify or what hormones they take.
Progressives and Democrats assert that restricting transgender athletes to competing according to their birth sex is discriminatory, bigoted, and otherwise hateful. Facebook’s Content Standards align with that position.
Blackburn has been an outspoken opponent of men competing in women’s sports and has used her podcast, “Unmuted with Marsha,” to highlight the issue. She’s interviewed Riley Gaines, who tied transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for fifth place in the women’s 200-yard freestyle finals at the NCAA championships, as well as former Team USA Athlete Cynthia Monteleone, who each shared their stories of unfairly being forced to compete against men.