TL;DR; I confronted a loudmouthed cretin insulting a gay couple using same tactics in him. I posted on Facebook. Post got 6000+ like and 2000+ shares. Post was removed for “Violating Facebook Policy” and I got blocked for 72 hours. No reason or appeal provided. Meanwhile #Fascist content, even when reported, stays on Facebook… ;)
UPDATE: Got unlocked, but STILL without motivation. Waiting! in the meanwhile you can find it here
UPDATE 2: Facebook sent an email apologizing for the case. It seems (and I’m citing it verbatim), that “A member of our team has accidentally removed a content that you have published on Facebook. It has been an error and ve heartfeltly apologise. We have taken the content online and should be visible.”
First of all: I’m Italian and English isn’t (obviously) my first language. I’m very sorry for the language monstrosity you’ll find in this post :P
It all happened suddenly: I’m basically a real-life troll and I thoroughly enjoy sarcasm and obscure jokes and meme. I don’t normally stand up too often in real life to avoid confrontations, quite happily satisfied in basically mind my own business if possible.
But yesterday morning at the Rome airport I did something I seldom did in the past: I decided to confront an imbecile swearing upon a couple of gay guys. And I decided to share it on Social Media (basically as a way to lower my adrenaline post-fact.
This is the translated version of my Facebook post in Italian (with a little bit of adaptation):
“Fiumicino Airport, 8.30 AM.
Behind me at the bar’s queue a couple of boys, hand in hand, around their twenties. Staring down. In front of me a big guy, not really smelling good, stare at them with a disgusted expression, talking loudly with deep southern italian accent trying to seem casual: “These fucking fags should stay at their home, instead of stinking out we normal people”.
His “friends” evasively nod, looking around. Suddenly a loud voice. My voice: “‘These tattooed, arrogant and unwashed southerners, should stay in their home in Africa instead of stinking out we normal people”. He stops, face me, look at me with eyes open wide acting violently. I stare him calm and placid, looking him with the same deadly stare.
One of his mates looks at him and burst “He’s right, mate. If YOU behave like shit you can’t suppose others aren’t allowed to, either”. The cretin look at me, the group, me again and storm away, red in face, muttering something under his breath. I smile and go on.
Suddenly someone touch my arm from behind. One of the young fellows. Staring down he says “Thanks”. I face him, smile and say “Hey, I didn’t do that for YOU. I just love trolling dorks!”. He opens his eyes in surprise and after a second gives me a huge smile. He’s not alone: his boyfriend, all the queue, cretin’s friends…
Today is a GOOD day. Today there is HOPE. Today I TROLLED. #GOON AND DO IT: share this post and today TROLL a homophobe you too.”
Popularity of the post went by as a little surprise: after 3 hours I was well above 2000+ reactions and after 6 hours well above 5000+ reactions and 2000+ shares. Let’s face, it’s the same old Paradox of tolerance: is it right to be intolerant with intolerant people or not? Was it right to play the intolerant’s game and shaming the intolerant? The isn’t simple and there is much debate about it on the web.
It probably wasn’t right: I just wanted to create in the loudmouthed imbecile’s head the same FEELING he was imposing on the guys. I could have provoked him, I could have said something different (and probably should have, but it wasn’t really planned…), but I had to shame HIM for something that was innate and behind his control. Shaming for the odour doesn’t count: he could wash and feeling “right” again, but being born in the southern of Italy is something you can’t possibly change in your life, it’s innate and immutable. Just as being part of the #LGBTQ community is.
It was wrong on my part and it was really racist. Do I feel bad about it? Yes. Would I do it again? probably, if I can’t find a better way to handle it on impulse: standing out against discrimination, in all form, if fare better than be overpolite.
Yes, and I do feel bad about that (and, incidentally, I almost soiled myself in fear. The imbecile was a BIG imbecile, trust me).
Long story short: after some hours I get kicked off from facebook and unlogged. Once I log in again I found that:
- Post was removed for going “Against the Facebook Policy” Facebook policy being, I suppose, bashing #LGBTQ people in public ;)
- My account was banned from posting for 72 hours;
- Facebook Messenger was banned too for 72 hours;
Some proof (unfortunately in italian):
Yes, Facebook blocked me for standing out against #LGBTQ intimidation. That’s weird, I know :)
Most probable cause is multiple people reported the post, and whoever read it was unable to understand italian language. It happens often and people all around Italy are reporting without success scores of racist and Fascist groups.
I personally reported (without success) at least two fascist and nostalgic groups, chanting and glorifying the Duce and the racial hate:
- The page of Giovani Fascisti (Young Fascists), 3000+ fans;
- Tha page of Giovani Fascisti Italiani (Young Italian Fascists), 20.000+ fans;
- The Group Onore al Duce (Honour to the Duce), 3.700+ members;
- …and so on…
Not only I reported those multiple times (receiving notification that the page was not against Facebook Policy), but if you take a look at the page comments you’ll find out scores upon scores of people reporting it. And no action has been taken.
So, killing jews is perfectly fine with Italian Facebook, while protecting #LGBTQ get you blocked and content removed.
There is something extremely wrong and diseased in how Facebook Italy is handling these situation. And it should be fixed.
What can you DO about that? Well, since it really seems I’ve got a huge fan club (hey guys, that’s touching, but you must REALLY find better idols :P), hundreds upon hundreds of people are sharing the screenshot of my blockage with several hashtags: #freematteoflora (REALLY??!!?), #matteolibero (NO, I MEAN…)… Don’t do that :D
I can suggest you a couple of actions:
- You can tell Luca Colombo, Facebook Italy Country Manager, that protecting #LBGTQ should not get you banned and that Fascism should. You can send him a tweet clicking here;
- You can contact Facebook Italy Press Office asking them if they like hurting #LGBTQ people and love Fascism sending them an email to Facebook.firstname.lastname@example.org;
And, of course, you can share this (I appreciate it, really!) to spread the voice and to help making Facebook consider their stance on #LGBTQ and #Fascism.
And you can contact me (scroll ‘till the end of the page) on other media like my Twitter account @lastknight.
PS for Facebook: I don’t want my account back, I want the POST back and/or a VALID explanation. I’ll continue pestering you, even in court, untill that is fixed.