news source ~ nationalreport (posted about 2 months ago)
In a closed-door session with shareholders on Tuesday, Facebook executives wheeled out a set of new rules which, when implemented later this year, will ban their users from creating status updates and image posts related in any way to religion, while also vowing to disband groups and take down pages with religious goals or affiliations.
Facebook will introduce their new rules in three waves. The first will see religiously-themed pages being removed, as well as religious groups, private or otherwise, being disbanded. The second wave will prohibit the posting, sharing, and general distribution of religious images and memes; images asking Facebook users to pray, or encouraging them to believe in one or any religion, will be banned, with warning messages and even account suspensions for those who repeatedly attempt to violate the rule.
The third and biggest wave, which is due to come near the end of the year, will impact regular Facebook users themselves, with new filters which will seek out status updates that use “religious keywords,” such as “Jesus,” “prayer,” “Church,” or “God.” Facebook staffers will read flagged status updates to determine whether they should be removed or not, with warning messages and suspensions going out to those who violate the rule.
Not all religious content will be banned from Facebook, though. Paid advertisements for religious organizations, services, and events will still be allowed. Also, promotional pages for movies, books, and video games with religious themes will be exempt from the new bans, though what Facebook refers to as “primary religious texts,” such as the Bible, The Torah, and the Quran, will not be given this exemption.
The new anti-religion rules come after several waves of protests from atheist and agnostic groups, who claim user-created religious content is offensive to them and, as one group put it, “promotes generation after generation of forceful indoctrination into their belief systems, which we do not want our children exposed to.”