The Devil and Facebook

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“I wanted to let you know about some of our ads that have recently been pulled on Facebook,” wrote my publicist at TAN Books in an email, “including all of our ads for The Devil and Karl Marx.”

That would be my book: The Devil and Karl Marx. It has sold thousands of copies, is being pursued for various foreign translations and film rights, and has over 800 reviews on Amazon. I’ve talked about the book incessantly on over a hundred radio and TV shows since it was released last August—forums that believe in free speech and the free exchange of ideas. But Facebook has targeted the book.

Needless to say, I’m not surprised. Two weeks ago I had learned that my fellow author at TAN Books, Dr. Carrie Gress, had likewise been censored. In fact, both Facebook and Instagram have canceled Dr. Gress’s work. What is this dangerous book by Gress that didn’t meet the approval of the hidden powers of Big Tech? Her book, The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity

Yes, they’re censoring a book on the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ. Maybe it was the phrase “toxic femininity” that sprung the blacklisters into action. Had Gress exposed the horrors of “toxic masculinity,” promising to rescue the culture from that plague, well, all would have been surely peachy.

Carrie Gress’s work is a powerful defense of motherhood, exalting the ultimate model of maternity—the Blessed Mother. And the list of TAN Books targeted by the book-banners continues. Facebook also smacked down Kimberly Cook’s lovely new work, Motherhood Redeemed: How Radical Feminism Betrayed Motherly Love. The TAN ad for Motherhood Redeemed innocently states: “A book that challenges feminism in the modern world, with the reminder of the simple truth that all women are called to be mothers.”

That presumably vulgar assertion violates Facebook’s Sensational Content Policy. These criticisms of feminism are apparently verboten. Well, Hell hath no fury!

“They are saying that the ads are being pulled during the time of the election on anything having to do with social or political issues,” continued my publicist, “but we are now months past the election and they have still blocked all of our ads for your book.” 

Indeed. There’s always a reason. Always a reason.

And needless to say, The Devil and Karl Marx contains not a single reference to Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, Kamala Harris, or even the year 2020. Facebook’s excuse is bunkum. Pure twaddle. 

And if that doesn’t raise your ire, maybe this will:

In addition to banishing The Devil and Karl Marx and The Anti-Mary Exposed and Motherhood Redeemed, another new TAN offering is getting the guillotine. This one ought to shock everyone. Facebook has even cancelled TAN’s ad for a children’s book called Stations of the Cross for Kids.

Yes, a children’s book, ladies and gentlemen, on the Stations of the Cross. 

What excuse did Facebook drum up for this one? Apparently, the image of the crucifix on the cover constitutes a shocking and violent image. The Facebook blocker states: “Ad Can’t Run: Ads must not contain shocking, sensational, inflammatory, or excessively violent content. Read our Sensational Content Policy.”

Facebook Ban

Facebook banning images of the crucifixion.

To be sure, the cross and the crucifixion of Christ were certainly shocking and violent. But even then, take a click yourself and look at the cover. The cover image is a cartoon. The corpus on the cross isn’t a bloodied one. And either way, bloody or not, since when are we cracking down on books with crucifixes on the cover? This is insane.

For the record, if the Facebook crew wants to see something really shocking, inflammatory, and excessively violent, I suggest they crack open The Devil and Karl Marx. Talk about a man who could shock with sensational writings about, yes, even the Devil—and whose ideas spawned excessive violence. No one could inflame like Karl Marx. The TAN Books ad for The Devil and Karl Marx said: “Discover Communism’s long march of death, deception, and infiltration. No other theory in all of history has led to the deaths of so many.”

That ad is banned under the admonishment: “Ad Can’t Run: Temporary Restriction on Ads About Social Issues, Elections or Politics.” 

So, here we are with Big Tech censorship in America in 2021: a children’s book on the Stations of the Cross, a book on the Blessed Mother, a book on redeeming motherhood, and a book on the evils of communism, all face the wrath of Facebook. The good folks at TAN Books are surely bewildered and wondering which ads for which books may get censored next. For TAN, one of the oldest and most respected Catholic publishing houses, with a massive catalogue of classics, translations, volume after volume on the saints, timeless titles old and new, the Facebook blacklist could be vast. And it will not end with TAN Books. Other Catholic publishing houses, beware. My friends at Sophia Institute Press, Ignatius Press, Our Sunday Visitor, EWTN, among others—watch out. 

The censors may be coming for you next. 

“Censorship of our authors has begun,” writes one of our authors. “The devil will do anything to keep you from knowing the truth.” That’s for sure.

[Photo Credit: Shutterstock]

By

Paul Kengor is Professor of Political Science at Grove City College, executive director of the Center for Vision and Values. He is the author, most recently, of The Devil and Karl Marx (TAN Books, 2020).

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