All Pride season Facebook users have been able to react to posts with a super-cute Pride flag emoji. It’s an awesome gesture, but there’s one major problem.
The Pride react isn’t available in some countries with repressive LGBTQ+ laws
BuzzFeed has reported that in countries such as Russia, where positive LGBTQ+ representation is illegal, the Pride react is unavailable.
LGBTQ+ activists aren’t impressed with Facebook
Jillian C. York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation tweeted out evidence of the rainbow reacting not being available in other repressive countries such as Egypt and Singapore, where LGBTQ+ people do not have equal rights. Mashable have reported that the Pride react is also unavailable in Malaysia.
Facebook have said that the missing rainbow reactions are down to the function still being in “testing”
In a blog post, they said “Because this is a new experience we’ve been testing, the rainbow reaction will not be available everywhere.”
But with availability seemingly limited to more liberal countries, nobody’s really buying that excuse.
Facebook also said in a blog post, “People in major markets with Pride celebrations will be able to use a temporary rainbow reaction during Pride month.”
So, Facebook, is Pride about helping LGBTQ+ people celebrate who the are, or is it about marketing?
Facebook have declined to comment the accusations so far. But with no sensible reason to leave out entire countries from testing (it’s not like LGBTQ+ people don’t exist in repressive places), it seems a little more than likely that, when it comes to the Pride react, the social media platform have sided with governments in anti-LGBTQ+ countries, rather than the LGBTQ+ people themselves.
And that’s not cute
Pride is a party, but it’s also an important protest against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. If huge, powerful companies can’t side with the community where it’s most needed, should they really be taking part in pride celebrations at all?