Facebook has been no stranger to criticism for continually silencing voices from people of color. In a recent episode, the social media platform apologized for removing posts from a black woman writer, Layla Saad – but the damage has already been done.
According to a Daily Beast report, Saad shared a number of posts on Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) last week that touched on aspects of her lived experiences – experiences that many black women can relate to. She shared quotes from author Catrice M. Jackson’s book The Becky Code: How to Deal with White Woman Violence by Amplifying Your Joy, and incidents in which she had been personally silenced by white women.
In one post shared last Wednesday, Saad said she was taking “a social media break.”
“A white woman nonsense incident yesterday,” she wrote in part. “A racist experience for my daughter today. And on top of that, spiritual white women bringing their violent bypassing into my space to make me question if what happened actually happened, and questioning how can I change MY behaviour, instead of white people changing theirs. I’m out. I’m taking a social media break. I need a break from white women and their white woman violence…”
Facebook later apologized for the removal, claiming the post was “mistakenly removed,” according to The Daily Beast.
“The post was mistakenly removed,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “As soon as we were notified of the problem, we investigated and restored the post upon determining that it did not violate our Community Standards.” Facebook also told The Daily Beast that its company processes “millions of reports each week” and that sometimes the company “gets things wrong.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to Blavity’s request for comment.
But Saad’s case is certainly not an isolated incident. A ProPublica report from June revealed Facebook has been called out for removing posts from Black Lives Matter activists. The company has also reportedly emphasized protecting white men from hate speech, ProPublica reported.
The social media platform’s policies for race-related posts are highlighted on its “Hard Questions” FAQ page, a Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
As for Saad, she wrote on Thursday that she decided to disable her Instagram account and post less frequently on Facebook.
“Following last week's events on IG and FB, I made the decision to disable my IG account and post less frequently on FB,” she wrote. “As a black woman and as a writer, sharing so much of my emotional and intellectual labour on these platforms has become an exercise in exhaustion and self-oppression. I could stay here and waste my energy continuing to defend my humanity every time I publish something…”
Saad’s published writings can be found at Patreon.com/laylasaad.
Black women continue to need their voices amplified, and Facebook needs to do better by not silencing them.