All of the page administrators for the "Military with PTSD" Facebook page were banned for at least 12 hours over a post about God and religion that was put up by a veteran user, WFIE reported Saturday.
WFIE said the page, now with over 22,000 supporters, was started by Shawn Gourley, of Evansville, Ind., after her husband was diagnosed with the disorder.
Gourley said the page has given her a chance to help families of veterans and veterans suffering from PTSD, some of whom, WFIE said, were on the brink of suicide.
But someone posted a comment about God and religion, and that apparently didn't sit too well with Facebook monitors.
"Facebook notified Shawn, telling her the post has been removed because it violates the site's community standards," Sean Edmondson reported.
According to Edmondson, all of the administrators were banned for at least 12 hours, affecting a number of veterans and family members who rely on the page for support and information.
"On our page, I am a certified suicide gatekeeper," Gourley told WFIE. "And we do have suicidal vets on the page that come to us for help. We cannot contact them or message them."
"If we don't have their number, we can't access them at all. Someone posted on my personal page that they felt like the walls were closing in on them and they didn't know how much longer they can hang on and I can't respond to her. I can't tell her to call me...anything," she said.
"Facebook put a lot of lives in danger," Marcus Spaulding, a veteran who helps run the page, told WFIE. "We have many veterans who come to that page to talk to counselors, to talk to Shawn, to talk to me. They don't know where else to turn to."
"We could be burying another vet," Spaulding said.
As usual, Facebook did not respond to the administrators.
Facebook operates under what amounts to a "guilt by association" rule, where all administrators are held responsible for the action of other administrators, regardless of their privileges or any mitigating circumstances.
This is what happened to Diane Sori, a Florida-based conservative blogger who was banned earlier this year for a link she never posted. At the time, Sori did not have access to the Internet, but Facebook banned her anyway.
Normally, this applies to posts made by page administrators, but this is the first instance we have reported where administrators were punished for posts made by visitors.
We reached out to the administrators to determine what, exactly, was posted, but have not received a response.
Administrators, however, explained in another post that the comment was incorrectly flagged as hate speech by Facebook. The post also said that "further actions are being discussed."
Actions like these have motivated over 21,000 people to sign on to a Facebook Blackout event protesting what organizers called "capricious and arbitrary" punishment of conservatives on the social media site.
The event asks participants to temporarily suspend their accounts for 24 hours and can be seen here.
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