After a Florida man posted his intentions to “kill every single person” at a Christian organization on Facebook last year, the social media giant allegedly told the organization that the threats did not constitute a policy violation.
What are the details?
According to a press release from the American Family Association, based in Tupelo, Mississippi, 21-year-old Chase Davis of Pompano Beach, Florida, sent the threats in a Facebook message to the organization last summer announcing his disdain for the religious organization and his desire to murder every member.
“I am coming to tupelo unexpected with a group of people and we are going to kill every single person who runs your group,” Davis wrote on Facebook Messenger in the first of two messages.
“You are the most disgusting people in america. i have put together a group to have you pieces of s**t obliterated into dust. yes, i literally mean killing all of you. you people are nothing but disgusting, warn out, and old excuses of human life,” he added.
In the press release, the AFA said that it immediately reported the threats to Facebook upon receiving them but were “told that the threat was not a policy violation.”
“AFA appealed the decision to no avail,” the press release added.
Law enforcement felt differently
At the same time that the AFA reported the threats to Facebook, the group also reported them to the United States attorney’s office, which, conversely, took the threats seriously and launched an investigation leading to a grand jury indictment.
The Department of Justice announced in a news release last week that Davis had been ordered to serve time in federal prison for “making threats against individuals at the American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi.”
Judge Sheri Polster Chappell, United States Judge for the Middle District of Florida, sentenced Davis to six months’ incarceration followed by three years’ court supervision.
Davis was also ordered to “participate in drug and mental health treatment and perform 400 hours of community service in lieu of a fine,” the release noted.
Facebook claims to protect users against “hate speech, credible threats or direct attacks on an individual or group” as a part of its Community Standards, but appears to have failed to do so in this case.
TheBlaze reached out to Facebook for comment, but the company did not respond in time for publication.
In response to the ruling, AFA President Buddy Smith said that the “AFA is grateful for the protective services provided by our federal law enforcement and court system over this threat to the employees of our organization” and that the “AFA will continue to affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth and are created by God in His image.”
U.S. attorney William C. Lamar said: “It is important to protect free speech, but when it crosses the line and becomes threats to harm others on the basis of race, religious beliefs, political affiliations or other protected reasons, we will use Federal laws to hold those individuals accountable for their actions.”