Facebook is reportedly hiding its Pride reaction from users in countries with anti-LGBT laws.
To celebrate Pride month, the social media giant added a special Pride button to the panel of regular emotions Like, Love, Sad, Haha, Wow and Angry. The reaction is a rainbow flag that will be available throughout the month of June and is intended to commemorate the company’s commitment to equality.
However, it’s been revealed that the reaction may not be available in countries that explicitly ban homosexuality, such as Egypt, Palestine, Bahrain, Lebanon, Singapore and Russia.
Facebook has not addressed the issue, but taking a closer look at the description of the reaction upon its launch suggests that the button was always going to have a limited release.
“People in major markets with Pride celebrations will be able to use a temporary rainbow reaction during Pride month. You can also like this page to access the reaction, however, because this is a new experience we’ve been testing, the rainbow reaction will not be available everywhere.”
Regardless, users have been quick to criticize Facebook for restricting the use of the Pride reaction.
“It kind of feels like Facebook higher-ups are afraid of losing whatever percentage of their user base are hateful bigots so they hide it behind liking this page so that nobody who would get upset will accidentally see it,” wrote one user.
“What I’m seeing here is Facebook is trying to play both sides,” concluded another.
In countries where the reaction is available, users have to first like Facebook’s LGBTQ page in order to access it. The clever ploy to gain likes has given some users an opportunity to blast the company for its “real name policy,” which often prevents trans people from assuming their true identities on the site.
“I don’t love that I had to like your page to receive this react, nor that it’s some temporary ’limited edition’ thing that is basically commodifying the LGBTQIA* community and its symbols in order to increase ad revenue for yourself,” wrote KF Harlock. “I would, however, like to use the opportunity to sternly critique you for your handling of ’real name’ policies, and your associated outing/banning of trans or non-binary profiles.”
“If you truly ’believe in building a platform that supports all communities,’ you must recognize that the way you’ve handled this in the past is not only wrong and alienating, but may well have put people in direct physical danger,” they continued. “If you really care about these things, you need to… recognize that you will absolutely face some junctures where your desire to profit off of our identities and information will come into conflict with your desire to ’celebrate love and diversity.'”