Days after Facebook banned minister Franklin Graham for transphobic statements made on the platform in 2016, the social media corporation issued an apology and said his history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric does not violate community standards.
"It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn't go against our Community Standards," reads a message sent by Facebook to Graham. "We want to apologize and let you know that we've restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action."
The original ban related to a 2016 post, at the height of controversy about North Carolina's so-called "bathroom bill," also known as HB2. Graham criticized Bruce Springsteen for canceling a concert in the state.
In the post, Graham encouraged the narrative that trans individuals using the bathroom of their preference somehow put the safety of women and children at risk.
"HB2 protects the safety and privacy of women and children and preserves the human rights of millions of faith-based citizens of this state," Graham wrote, while dismissing Springsteen as a "longtime gay rights activist."
Graham riled up right-wing conspiracy theorists, who have complained of social networks supposedly "shadow-banning" conservative voices. Graham himself alleged "Facebook has a secret rulebook for policing speech."
It's unclear why the 2016 post in particular got Graham briefly banned, especially when he made homophobic and transphobic comments on social media with regularity.
For example, Graham was not banned after attacking Jimmy Carter over his support of same-sex marriage. Then, Graham in a Facebook post alleged: "Jesus didn't come to promote sin, He came to save us from sin. The Bible is very clear. God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality."
Graham also was not banned over a 2015 Facebook post in which he railed against victim's of police shootings, writing "Listen up--Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience." That post earned Graham a rebuke from a host of other Christian leaders, but not Facebook.
Other posts that did not get Graham banned on Facebook? Calling Planned Parenthood "Hitleristic." Advocating for a ban on Muslims entering the United States for believing a "wicked religion." Suggesting LGBTQ individuals should be banned from entering Christians' houses lest Satan "devour" homes.