Facebook Hides Pride Reaction Button In Countries With Anti-LGBT Laws

Participants at the Korea Queer Festival in 2015

Facebook is well known for making decisions that users don’t always agree with, and one such choice was to deny the “pride reaction” for users in countries with anti-LGBT laws in place. The “pride reaction,” which will be in place for the entire month of June, or Pride Month, allows users to react to a Facebook post with a Gay Pride flag. But you won’t see it in countries like Russia or Egypt.

Several countries explicitly ban homosexuality, and in some of those places, it can be a criminal offense. Russia has recently come under fire for allowing the region of Chechnya to deport gay men to what are dubbed concentration camps, or telling parents to kill their gay children.

Countries where the pride reaction is not available include Egypt, Palestine, Bahrain, Lebanon, Singapore, and Russia.

Facebook has not addressed the controversy, but many users are unhappy. They feel that Facebook is “playing to both sides” and encouraging and supporting the discrimination of homosexuals in the countries in which the Pride reaction is restricted. Many also feel that Facebook is attempting to appease bigots who might be offended by seeing the Pride reaction, therefore, they keep it away from them so as not to offend.

In order to get a Pride reaction emoji, users simply have to like LGBTQ@Facebook and they will instantly get the reaction. However, it clearly won’t be visible in countries where being homosexual is criminalized.

The Pride reaction has also caused controversy among some conservative Christians. One Facebook group stirred up series emotions when it banned the Pride reaction from their group. They stated that anyone using the Pride reaction on any posts would receive an automatic ban from their page, as they do not believe homosexuality is acceptable under the laws of Christianity.

Although many people rebelled against this rule, they claimed that leftists were hateful and intolerant not to allow them to not tolerate the Pride symbol.

The Pride reaction will continue throughout the month of June, and users can give a Pride reaction to anything from photos to videos to posts. From the popularity of the Pride emoji, it seems many users will miss it come July 1.


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[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]