Facebook Marketing Gone Awry – A Tale of Venom and Hate

Facebook needs to do a lot more to stop hate speech, especially hate speech attacking marginalized communities.

Time for me to rant a little.

This will probably be my last blog I pay to promote on my business Facebook.  Why?  Part of my marketing budget goes toward promoting my diversity blogs on Facebook, but now I am increasingly being bombarded by hate – which Facebook refuses to acknowledge or dialogue with me about. Perhaps this blog and my story of Facebook and hate will be read by some Facebook professionals who will want to engage with me and see if this can be fixed… I do have some positive, constructive suggestions.

Let me explain the situation.

I am a diversity consultant and trainer and write 2-3 blogs per month on a variety of topics. They include addressing racism, the value of diversity, being an ally, supporting the LGBTQ community, hiring veterans, addressing Islamaphobia and more. Then I write a one or two sentence summary with a link and pay Facebook to push the ad to people interested in these particular topics.

Now here is the issue … when I specify that I want a blog summary and link targeted to people interested in anti-racism, or the LGBTQ community, or diversity trainers for example, I am trying to appeal to people who are interested in those topics with a desire to learn or find resources. But the Facebook algorithm pushes the ad to all people who have commented or engaged around those topics, including those who write nasty comments about those topics.

Now whenever I promote a blog on a diversity topic, I often receive 20 – 30 comments, 95% of them nasty and hateful. A small handful voice disagreement in a respectful way that encourages a dialogue, but a vast majority are hateful nasty comments about the group I am writing about, or personal attacks telling me I can go to a certain very hot place, or to copulate with myself (I assume you get the drift.)

Why are there so many toxic people who only want to spread poison everywhere?

Some of these comments are truly over the top. Examples:
• When one young gay man who got fired from his job for being gay  found my blog encouraging, another reader called him a faggot who deserved to be fired, and should go to hell. (I reported this to Facebook and they replied this did NOT violate their community standards.)
• In response to a blog fighting Islamaphobia, someone posted a photo of an Arab holding a severed baby head declaring that the intent of all Muslims in the US was to kill our children.
• One women summarily declaring that transgender people are all mentally ill.

Often I will check the Facebook feed of the individuals who write this stuff, and normally 80% of their feeds are nasty hateful attacks of people who are not like them. Their Facebook feeds are full of hate, nastiness and poison.

Sadly, having diverse people who may read my posts, but then see these harmful nasty comments before I get a chance to remove them, may cause more harm than good, so I think I will stop using Facebook marketing. I have tried to engage Facebook on this issue, and I even have some suggestions in how to fix and address this, but Facebook refuses to engage with me.  We really do need a safe space for nurturing forums for marginalized communities void of hate and attacks.

Thanks for listening to and reading this rant.


Introducing a cool new organization: “Gay Sons and Mothers” and founder Rick Miller!

I got introduced to “Gay Sons and Mothers” through my friendship with out Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon and his mother Kelly.

As a diversity consultant and trainer with several areas of deep expertise including LGBTQ+, I always enjoy discovering new groups that are doing innovative work within the diversity and inclusion space. And recently I discovered this unique organization focusing on the relationships between gay sons and their mothers. I thank Kelly Rippon, mother of Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon, who invited me to a webinar discussion on her new book “Parent Up,” with Gay Sons and Mothers’ founder Rick Miller. Please enjoy this brief introductory interview I recently had with Rick:

STAN: First Rick, can you tell us a little about yourself?

RICK: I am a gay man, who was the youngest of three kids , and used my status of mom’s favorite with my siblings throughout our growing up years, and maybe into adulthood as well. On a more serious note, I am also a psychotherapist, author and Executive Director of the nonprofit Gay Sons and Mothers.

Gay Sons and Mothers founder Rick Miller


STAN: What inspired you to start “Gay Sons and Mothers?”

RICK: Aside from wanting to share my special status with the world, while writing a book for mental health and medical providers about working with gay men, I was surprised to see that no literature about this topic existed about this. I decided that I wanted to share the message with people of all cultures, races and ethnic groups that a mother can be a savior to her gay son. This is especially important since historically, in the psychiatric and medical field, mothers were often blamed for making their sons gay.


STAN: What exactly is the mission of “Gay Sons and Mothers?” What do you hope to accomplish?

RICK: The mission for Gay Sons and Mother is to collect, curate, celebrate, and preserve narratives that educate, inspire, and bring hope to audiences about the significance of this emotional bond.


STAN: What kinds of programs and resources does “Gay Sons and Mothers” offer?

RICK: We offer education via workshops and lectures at the workplace or community settings, we share videos through our social media pages and Youtube page, we hold special live events throughout the year sharing how this unique mother son bond is profoundly significant in promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance, and we also provide support to individuals struggling with being gay or having gay family members community members.

 

My own loving mother and I enjoying dinner and wine while attending a figure skating competition.

STAN: Would you like to share an example of a positive impact that “Gay Sons and Mothers” has had?

RICK: One of the stories I feel most proud about is how a teenager in high school was leery to come out to his class mates, and his mom who he had already come out to and was affirming, suggested he chat with me and follow our instagram page. From seeing our posts, he was brave enough to build up his courage and come out to his classmates! I consider this a triumph!

Another incredible story which was beyond moving was that a 74 year old psychiatrist who lived in CA drove 7 hours to attend my Gay Sons and Mothers workshop at an international conference, and said “I never ever thought I would say this out loud in my lifetime, I am a 74 year old man who has never told anybody else before this moment, that I am gay!”

Rick Miller with his loving mother


STAN: Do spend full time with “Gay Sons and Mothers,” or do you have another vocation?

RICK: It feels like running gay sons and mothers is a full time job because it is always in my mind and the energy behind it is positive and exciting. But, actually, I work full time in my psychotherapy practice and my writing!


STAN: How can people learn more about “Gay Sons and Mothers” and how can they be in touch with you? Are there ways people can support this work?

RICK: Please follow us on Instagram or Facebook gaysonsandmothers, or visit us at our website www.gaysonsandmothers.org, or view a sample of our videos on our Youtube channel Gay Sons and Mothers and view our playlist content. Or I can be reached directly at [email protected]


STAN: Is there anything else you would like to share?

RICK: Just reminder to share your love with your mom, or if you are a mom, with your children!

STAN: Thank you for this inspiring chat! I love what you are doing to bring love and understanding into our world, and I wish you and Gay Sons and Mothers the very best of success.