Multiple Links To Petition For LGBTQ Center Blacklisted From Facebook

Several Facebook links to a petition calling for Boston College students and alumni to withhold donating to the University until an LGBTQ resource center is created were unexpectedly removed late Tuesday night, approximately 10 hours after the original posting. There was also a group of students who had their cover photos abruptly disappear—all graphics for the “For Here All Are One” campaign, as the initiative’s creators called it.

When some of the affected students—including author of the petition Nanci Fiore-Chettiar, A&S ’15—attempted to re-post the link, they encountered a message from Facebook that said the link has been detected to be unsafe by the site’s security systems. Facebook’s terms of service including several provisions regarding the safety of posted links. Certain content, like viruses and unauthorized commercial communications, are banned. Fiore-Chettiar noted in a post on her personal page that those involved are currently looking into the blocking, but do not know why the links were removed.

Messages Image(587492607)
This is a screen capture of the error message Thomas Napoli, A&S ’16, received when trying to repost the letter and petition.

“While we investigate this, I encourage you not to jump to conclusions or use hateful language against the administration,” Fiore-Chettiar said in the post. “Until we know exactly what has happened, please use any anger you may have productively and continue sharing our letter and message with the rest of the BC community.”

The two URLs blacklisted (http://tinyurl.com/pf2jedm and http://tinyurl.com/mqhrnyq) are shortened versions of links to the respective Google Documents for the letter and petition. These shortened URLs were used by the first wave of posters in the viral campaign.

When tested on Facebook’s object debugger—a tool developers use to resolve structural issues encountered when posting to Facebook—a message appears indicating that the link was either “blocked” or “triggered an excessive amount of scrapes.” An error is identified with the URL’s linting, a term used to describe Facebook’s program for detecting suspicious links. Developers who’ve tried to resolve similar errors in the past have waited weeks to months for Facebook to respond, often with no explanation of why the link was blacklisted initially.

Direct links to the letter and petition are still working at this time.

John Wiley, editor-in-chief, contributed to this report.

Featured Image Taken From Facebook.com

About Carolyn Freeman 155 Articles
Carolyn Freeman was the Editor-in-Chief for The Heights in 2016. You can follow her on Twitter at @carolynrfreeman. She drinks her coffee iced with chocolate soy milk.

12 Comments

  1. BC is a Catholic Institution. If you want LGBTQ centers, go to Brown or a public university.

    • LGBTQ stands for lesbian gay bisexual transgender questioning. It is an acronym for those that are unaware.

      • I don’t understand what your explanation of the acronym has to do with Erin’s response. Georgetown has an LGBTQ* resource center on campus. Requesting one from BC is understandable. In case you haven’t kept up with the news, the Pope has declared that we should be accepting of those who are LGBTQ* identified.

        • The Pope actually said, “A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will — well, who am I to judge him?”

          This comes with a few underlying assumptions. For a man who identifies as same sex attracted seeking God according to the Catholic faith and in the context of this situation means that this individual is making efforts not to act upon his homosexual inclinations. The Pope is essentially saying who am I to judge those who are gay and make real attempts to remain chaste and to not act upon those inclinations.

          I think an important thing to note when referring to Georgetown is the fact that most Catholics who follow the teaching of the Catholic Church find Georgetown to have completely abandoned any serious attempt to remain fully Catholic in their teaching and identity and have moved toward this idea that a school can be “Jesuit” and not Catholic or that a school can focus on its “Jesuit values” but not Catholic values. This is a ridiculous assumption and would have St. Ignatius rolling in his grave. I think it would serve many well to truly understand the Jesuit and Catholic mission and what that actually means. Most here are using a buzz phrase like “Men and Women for others” reflecting on it briefly, and claiming that they understand and know the Jesuit Catholic mission of Boston College.

          I also find it really interesting that the letter that BC’s student body president wrote states ” Please do not mistake our commitment to our convictions as a rejection of Boston College. On the contrary, it is because we believe so greatly in its mission, in its community, and in its future that we are issuing this challenge.” None of you truly believe in the mission of BC because when it comes down to it, most of these students signing this petition are fundamentally at odds on a philosophic level with Boston College and the Catholic Church. My post will be interpreted by most as bigoted and hateful yet I would like to think that I generally don’t exhibit any of those qualities and that this is coming from a place of love and care – I sincerely think we are approaching this issue, along with most issues on a BC level and a societal level, terribly wrong. But to even begin to understand where I am coming from, individuals need to be able to remove certain underlying assumptions that they come to the table with. That is when true dialogue will start. After all, that is what the academy is for, freeing your mind.

          • I don’t see how a group students advocating for a place that can provide support that is otherwise absent means they must reject the mission of BC or cant truly understand Jesuit ideals. Ideologies evolve, they always have. These students can still be critical without being made enemies of the institution they pay a lot of money to attend. It is not as if the LGBTQ Center they are petitioning for will be sponsoring “let’s turn good catholics gay” events or waving an official rainbow flag with the Pope’s face on it. They just want to feel supported by their institution, feel safe, and enjoy college life just like any other student. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing dangerous about that, so you shouldn’t feel threatened. They should not be denied that for any reason. While you are asking for others to try to understand where you’re coming from, you may ask yourself if you can ever truly understand where LGBTQ students at BC are coming from, what they experience.

          • Your objection to an LGBT center is at odds with Jesuit and Catholic ideals unless LGBT people “are chaste and [not] act upon those inclinations”. This proposed center is not a sex club, and isn’t rallying for gay sex. It’s a center where LGBT’s can find support and community in one safe space.

          • Well my question would simply be what does a safe space at an LGBT center look like? How would you define support? How will these students feel more supported then they are now?

          • All of your questions are great ones, and are a real start to a good working dialog that I’m sure this group would like to facilitate. If you’re interested in learning more I bet they’d like to explain it. Maybe they could help allay your concerns. I took a look at the Georgetown LGBT Center’s website to see what it’s about, might be helpful to see how one is positioned at a Jesuit university:

            https://lgbtq.georgetown.edu/about-us

            I don’t think that asking for a BC LGBT Center is a demand that BC change it’s position or opinion on homosexuality. Surely there is room to create community and a place for growth and understanding where there isn’t one now.

            An LGBT Center isn’t uncommon on most college campuses – I’d say nearly all public and non-denominational colleges have them. And even among Catholic universities, there appear to be at least two who have them – so there must be a way of at least talking about how a center like this could be accommodated for at BC.

          • Thanks Mike, I am very familiar with both Georgetown’s and Notre Dame’s resource centers. Georgetown’s center runs programs that can be confusing for the GLBTQ population. Some of the programs are great but a lot of tow the line (and I would argue cross the line) of Church teaching. At the end of the day I think that Georgetown (and most schools for that matter) enable a narrative for GLBTQ students which could create an even larger divide between those who follow and support Church teaching and those who choose to go against that. I also feel like these programs make an authentically Catholic population marginalized on campus. There is a small yet substantial portion of the population here that is silenced on campus regarding this issue (and other issues that I can talk about for days) and go here because they want to receive a fully Catholic education. I also am familiar with Ignatius Q and would argue that there is no true dialogue there. The majority of people running the conference have clear stances in opposition to the Church on most of the issues we are discussing.

            On the contrary, I am a BIG fan of Notre Dame’s Gender relations center. I think they do a good job at towing that line. I think if BC were to go down this route it should make the Women’s Center on campus a more complete Gender Relation center in the model of ND.

            Also, is creating a safe space necessarily the answer (we sort of have this already). I think it divides more than unites (there are definitely great arguments that go against what I am saying – I acknowledge that). However, the entire campus should hypothetically be a safe space but that should also mean that individuals (students, administrators, and faculty) be allowed to speak freely on their positions in a true dialogue. Hateful language such as “fag, queer, etc” should always be fought against and I feel like BC could do a better job at curbing that behavior.

            When it comes down to it, the student population is pretty accepting of the GLBTQ population here with a few exceptions. I think the student gripe is larger with the administration itself. After speaking with a student that is advocating for such a center, said student argued that they should be supported wholly by said center, their lifestyle and as a person because they are one in the same. What they are advocating for is in opposition to Church teaching and is supported by many of the proponents of the center. It may be trivial but it is something that needs to be addressed in my opinion.

            At the end of the day, if BC went down the rode of ND I think it would be for the best. However, my peers (the student body concerned and UGBC) will probably find something wrong with it like they do with everything and complain. And then the author of this article will probably write another article about said complaint and perpetuate this entitled culture that has continued to grow since my 1st year at BC.

            It was a pleasure speaking with you Mike. I appreciate a good dialogue and I also appreciate you not calling me a hateful bigot. It really is out of the love of my heart for all people and my love of the church that I write what I write.

          • Hi again Anonymous,
            Thank you for info about great similar programs at Georgetown and ND. It gave me an opportunity to look at the ND programs to learn more. Their Prism ND program seems a lot like what BC could set up. I’d think that, in working with the BC administration, LGBT students could come together to set something up that can be supportive of the BC LGBT community and also acknowledge our Jesuit and Catholic heritage. If it can be done at Notre Dame I have every confidence that it could be done here. It’s safe to say that no one wants to set up a center that divides – just one that provides support and community if you are coming out or out and proud.

            As you mention, in my experience BC is a generally accepting place, but it doesn’t mean that LGBT’s don’t ever feel alone or need to get to know others in their community. But at a Catholic school it’s all to often for any request for LGBT support to be met with things like “that’s in opposition to what the Church teaches”. That’s not very accepting and only shuts down dialog and progress.

            You seem very interested in this subject, and I’d like to challenge you, the BC LGBT community, the UGBC and especially the BC Administration to try and create a solution to an valid student life request. We live in a community we can create and shape, and this is a fantastic opportunity that you can’t really find in the outside world.

            If you truly want to be part of this dialog, I would challenge you to get involved in this discussion in an official way, try to bring the administration to the table to discuss with the LGBT students, and work with empathy to create a safe space education and support center that fits within a Jesuit and Catholic framework yet can provide LGBT’s with what they need. It’s a challenge, but sounds like you are interested in this topic, knowledgeable about different solutions that work, and could be a great voice to bridge the students and administration and could also be a way to express what you think as a conservative Catholic. Would be a great way to help build the BC community for everyone. Why not get involved?

    • The thing is that other Jesuit Catholic institutions have LGBTQ centers and have more support for their students in the community so it’s ridiculous that BC offers so little to it’s queer students.

  2. “Sometimes, spammers try to hide their malicious links behind URL shorteners like Tiny URLor bit.ly, and in rare cases, we may temporarily block all use of a specific shortener. If you hit a block while using a URL shortener, try a different one or just use the original URL for whatever you’re trying to share.”

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook/explaining-facebooks-spam-prevention-systems/403200567130

    I believe this explains the situation — this is probably an automatic block triggered by a spam-prevention algorithm. If UGBC want to promote the link, don’t use a shortener.

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