JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Johnson City pastor feels Facebook is censoring his conservative content.
Dr. Matthew Young is the pastor at Fountain of Life Bible Church in Boones Creek.
He runs a page separate from his pastor role to share what he says are conservative and Christian related posts.
He’s noticed a difference in the engagement on that page – just this week.
Dr. Young runs the Facebook page – “Fighting for Traditional American Values.”
“I’m just trying to have a voice, for a place for Conservatives and Christians alike,” Dr. Young said.
Over the past few years – the page has gained nearly 60,000 likes.
Dr. Young said recently – engagement on the page has gone down.
“Hundreds of people responded daily, sharing, liking, commenting and then Tuesday of this week, just like that, nothing,” Dr. Young said.
He said it started when he was recently banned for a post opposing same-sex marriage.
“Dramatically – 50% total page reduction,” he went on to say,”People have commented and said it’s not in their news feed anymore, they’re not able to see it anymore.”
Facebook flagged the post – calling it “hate speech” and banned him for three days.
“I can’t understand why anything I put on there is hate speech. I’ve not encouraged any kind of violent act towards anybody or any group whatsoever,” Dr. Young said.
He added there’s no doubt his content will offend some people.
“I don’t have hate in my heart for these people. My goal is they would come to know Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior,” Dr. Young said.
A quick search shows multiple news articles with concerns Facebook is censoring posts with conservative messages.
Dr. Young doesn’t feel he’s violated Facebook’s community standards.
“This is not just an attack on me, but our rights, our Constitutional rights, our Freedom of Speech, that’s what’s under attack,” Dr. Young said.
Dr. Young tells us he’s reached out to Facebook multiples times with this concern – but has not yet heard back.
We reached out to Facebook – a spokesperson said in part: “We’ve been looking into what might have taken place with this Page and have yet to identify evidence that the Page is getting less engagement but the investigation is still ongoing.”