Representatives from Facebook, the social media giant known for making overnight changes in policy have announced their newest policy update, which is being viewed as one of the company’s most controversial changes to date.
According to Facebook representative Riker Jepson, the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has made the decision to ban all Christian themed content in attempt to celebrate religious diversity while at the same time reducing religious intolerance among the social network’s estimated 1.65 billion monthly active users.
According to Jepson, one of the most frequent complaints made by Facebook users each month is what many of the website’s members describe as religious intolerance or bullying by the social network’s Christian population. Many Facebook users have complained that the website has become “over-saturated” with Christian posts, groups, pages, meme’s, and even Christian themed hashtags.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the social networking website contains a myriad of Christian themed content as Christianity is currently the world’s largest religion with over 2.4 billion adherents. It’s believed that approximately 32% of the global population identifies with some form of Christianity.
According to Jepson, the company’s developers are currently working to create an algorithm that will alert staff of any content that appears to be related to Christianity. All flagged content will be reviewed by a dedicated team and will be immediately removed if found to be in violation of community standards. According to Jepson, repeated offenders will have their credentials suspended and will no longer have access to their Facebook accounts. Though Jepson estimates their developers will have mastered the necessary algorithm within the next few weeks, the company is giving users until November 15, 2016, to ensure compliance with the newest policy update.
Though Facebook will be void of all Christian related content, not all religious themed content will be banned. Several religions will still have free-reign on the social network including but not limited to, Buddhism, Deity, Druid, Eckankar, Ethical Culture, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Mormonism, Muslim, Native American Spirituality, New Age, Pagan, Rastafarian, Santeria, Scientologist, Secular, Sikh, Spiritualist, Taoist, and Unitarian Universalist.
As news of Facebook’s most recent policy update travels through mainstream and social media, many users have expressed their disagreement with the policy, however a large population of users have expressed their appreciation for Zuckerberg’s decision. One Facebook user, Ivan Soren, told reporters, “I’m honestly very excited about this new policy. I’ve been running a non-Christian religious group on Facebook for the past 3-years and it’s pretty much impossible to get noticed among the overwhelming amount of Christian content. This will definitely even the playing field.”
Business analysts widely anticipate Facebook to experience a slight decline in active users within the next few months, however estimate the company will see an increase in user engagement throughout 2017.