Rep. Brian Sims Was Blocked From Facebook for Calling Out a Bigot

Pennsylvania's first openly gay state legislator says he wants to speak with the company "about algorithms, discrimination, and regulation."

Rep. Brian Sims was blocked from his Facebook page for calling out a homophobic bigot who called him an anti-gay slur.

On January 9, Sims, the first openly gay elected state official in Pennsylvania, shared the offensive comment he received on his page, asking, “Anyone know my new friend Jill?”

He then posted to his Instagram account that he had been banned from his Facebook for 24 hours for sharing it.

“You didn’t censor the person calling me a faggot but you pulled my entire page down as a result of sharing it?!?!” he asked, adding that he was looking for clarification from the company for its decision.

Sims has since regained access to his page, posting a status that included the conclusion that he and the folks at Facebook “need to have a serious conversation about algorithms, discrimination, and regulation.”

“No explanation from Facebook Diversity, Government and Politics on Facebook or Facebook HQ. Not even their usual ’don’t ask us about what causes our mistakes and just trust us to fix it eventually,'” he added in the comments on that post.

When a commenter said he needed to “find a connection who works for FB and reach out to them directly,” Sims said that was how he got the ban dropped.

“It’s the only way I was freed this time. I have dozens of connections to Facebook and had to use all of them to fix this. What happens to the person who doesn’t know anyone there?” he wrote.

NewNowNext has reached out to Facebook for comment, and this story will be updated if we receive a response.

UPDATE:

“We allow people to share messages they receive even hateful ones. Removing this post was a mistake in misunderstanding that it was discussing a message Representative Sims had himself experienced. The post does not violate our Community Standards and has been restored and Representative Sims is no longer in a feature block,” a Facebook spokesperson said, in response to our request for comment.

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