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'Band Fags!' Banned From Facebook

BandFagsCover This has gotta make you wonder if the employees Facebook hires to screen the site's profiles and fan pages are actually paying attention. Openly gay writer Frank Anthony Polito created a Facebook profile in 2008 in support of his novel BAND FAGS! It took Facebook two years to find that they have issues with the profile's content.

The social networking giant has removed the page and sent Polito the following message, which reads in part: "You created a Page that has violated our Terms of Use. A Facebook Page is a distinct presence used solely for business or promotional purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual."

Kenneth in the (212) has published a statement from Polito:

"While I understand that the word "fag" is offensive to some individuals, I find it ridiculous for Facebook to deem my fan page a "violation" of terms without further looking into matters. This is clearly a violation against me as a gay author.

I would contact Facebook with regards to this matter, but they make it next to impossible to contact them regarding ANYTHING on their site."

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Comments

  1. The F-word is the new N-word now. :-)

    Posted by: Eugene | Apr 3, 2010 12:05:49 PM


  2. Sorry folks, can't have it both ways. We can't run around saying that the term "FAG" is offensive and then want to use it ourselves. I'm with Facebook on this!

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 3, 2010 12:33:04 PM


  3. Facebook is 100% right on this one! you can't have it both way! I am also with Facebook on this one!

    Posted by: Justin | Apr 3, 2010 1:14:30 PM


  4. Perhaps someone at Facebook finally READ the book and realized how awful it was?

    Posted by: Roy | Apr 3, 2010 1:27:56 PM


  5. I tell you the truth: Equal rights will not occur in the foreseeable future for many reasons, a major one being the use of the oppressor's hateful words and epithets as self-identifiers.

    When I read of "The Million Fag March," or hear about a book written by a Gay author entitled, "Band Fags," I literally cringe! By use of such hateful epithets, it unconsciously and/or consciously shows shame and self-loathing; sticks a finger in the eye of potential Straight allies; seems to revel in permanent sexual outlaw status; seems content to remain as second-class citizens.

    Enough is enough! We must condemn the use of such words as "fag," queer," "dyke," etc, and show dignity and actively and seriously confront the oppressor, rather than exhibit self-defeating foolishness that can do nothing but sabotage the LGBT Civil Rights movement.

    Posted by: Jerry Maneker | Apr 3, 2010 1:39:35 PM


  6. Facebook is owned by Rupert Murdock's company, isn't it?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Apr 3, 2010 1:41:31 PM


  7. UGH. “While working to remove abusive anti-gay language from your unimaginably vast social networking site, you didn’t take time to research me personally or read my whole book and discover that I’m using abusive anti-gay language in a cute way, and you have therefore committed a hate crime.”

    Shut up, Frank Anthony Polito, and come join us here in 2010 where we don’t use the word “fags” anymore.

    Posted by: Dave | Apr 3, 2010 2:05:41 PM


  8. Good for Facebook.

    Posted by: Pinky | Apr 3, 2010 2:06:25 PM


  9. Hey now,I like the words fag,queer,dyke etc.
    I don't identify with "gay" in the least bit,I am just way too radical a fairy to fit into that narrow box.I don't and won't use either facebook or myspace,and there is no queer alternative for these.Before anyone tries to argue this point with me let me ask you,do online cruising for dick sites really count as social networking websites?
    Does the embrace of negative terms hurt us or empower us? Ask Tyler Perry.

    Posted by: contragenic | Apr 3, 2010 2:20:43 PM


  10. No, murdoch owns myspace. Facebook is owned by far more sketchy characters.


    Posted by: TANK | Apr 3, 2010 2:29:54 PM


  11. They also ban the word "queer".

    Posted by: Tom dempsey | Apr 3, 2010 2:41:09 PM


  12. @Jamal

    Facebook is still privately owned by its founders. Myspace is owned by NewsCorp, which is Rupert Murdoch's company.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 3, 2010 2:41:22 PM


  13. Maybe Facebook should ban all of the other groups/pages that use worse words than "fag" before they say anything about this page! They say pages are for promoting things right? Well he's promoting his book. This is absolutely ridiculous.

    Posted by: Megan | Apr 3, 2010 2:54:02 PM


  14. Do you know how many pages I'm a fan of that are not promoting anything at all? Probably about 98% of the pages I am a fan of. Great job facebook, you're doing SUCH a good job by banning something that is ACTUALLY promoting a BOOK, than banning something like "I have to put my cereal in a bowl before the milk." What is that promoting? Nohing at all. You people are ignorant.

    Posted by: Megan | Apr 3, 2010 3:11:25 PM


  15. Facebook has more problems than Lady GaGa has outfits. They change the way it works monthly and many parts simply DO NOT work. I'm just about to the point of taking my page down and leaving it forever and this is about to make me cross the line.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 3, 2010 4:00:16 PM


  16. This is the downside of hate speech protections. Think about it from Facebook's perspective. It's not up to them to decide the relative value of different uses of the word 'fag'. They don't want 90% of the uses, so they eliminate 100%. It's not that they're blind to the use, only that they need a policy they can uphold 100% of the time, rather than letting some techie make the rules as he goes along.

    Posted by: Rich | Apr 3, 2010 4:24:54 PM


  17. if certain epithets are banned, they are banned. should a huge enterprise like facebook check for satire? i don't think so. polito does have a point about the accessibility of the poobahs at facebook. youtube is just as bad. they recently changed they're format and screwed the pooch big time. why fix something that ain't broke?

    Posted by: nic | Apr 3, 2010 4:43:29 PM


  18. I mean, I'm just spitballin' here... maybe the page for "I have to put my cereal in a bowl before the milk" hasn't been banned because the words "cereal", "bowl", and "milk" haven't been included in Facebook's LIST OF OFFENSIVE TERMS. If you continue to be upset about this, you can either (a) report the site - Facebook makes it easy to do from right on the page or (b) convince groups like the ACLU to label those terms hate speech and then urge them to pressure Facebook to agree.

    Until then, let's congratulate Facebook on their attempts to eliminate abusive, anti-gay language from their site... and forgive them when they occasionally fail to distinguish between hate speech and "cute" hate speech.

    Posted by: Brad | Apr 3, 2010 4:47:55 PM


  19. I think the main problem is that it's next to impossible to contact anyone at Facebook with an issue. That goes for this instance, and for dozens of others I've heard of. That seems really sucky for an enterprise of this magnitude and scope.

    On the other subject, ever hear of "reclamation?" Whether or not Facebook allows it, we fags are ALLOWED to say "fag." If some of us choose to take the sting out of that word by using it affectionately among ourselves, that's our right and a time-honored political tool. YMMV.

    Posted by: Zlick | Apr 3, 2010 4:55:47 PM


  20. "I think the main problem is that it's next to impossible to contact anyone at Facebook with an issue." You are so right! Their FAQ frequently answer nothing. I'm still waiting for a response about a problem I was having with one of my pages I'm an admin on...a year later. I just gave up.

    Posted by: Laverne | Apr 3, 2010 6:24:22 PM


  21. Leave it to Towleroad commenters to have ALL the answers to anything LGBT-related without knowing ANY of the facts. (Have any of you ever tried reading????)

    The author isn't "using" the word "fags." That is WHAT the bullies called the guys who were in the school's marching band -- "band fags."

    Now people who are picked on aren't allowed to refer to WHAT they were called BY their attackers? This isn't even political correctness -- this is censorship. While you're at it, why don't you tell all black people who were ever called racial epithets to erase the words from their memories -- and works of art -- and pretend it never happened? Apparently this will make Facebook -- and Towleroad commenters -- happier.

    Honest to god, you people are fucking idiots.

    Posted by: paul roggerman | Apr 3, 2010 6:35:18 PM


  22. Facebook is designed for social networking, so if we don't want people calling us fags in public discourse I think the ban is productive.

    Posted by: maxx40 | Apr 3, 2010 7:42:26 PM


  23. It isn't reasonable for Facebook to deep-dive into offensive terms to make a determination on the intent. They should be commended for including the word FAG in their list of offensive terms. There isn't any inherent right to use Facebook. Freedom of speech doesn't apply. If you choose to participate, you have to agree to their terms of service. If you don't like it, go elsewhere.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 3, 2010 8:28:07 PM


  24. andy, why aren't my comments posting?

    Posted by: nic | Apr 3, 2010 8:32:14 PM


  25. Becuase, nic...you suck. You completely suck.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 3, 2010 8:42:00 PM


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