By Wendy Widom
CHICAGO (CBS) —A Chicagoland mom on the receiving end of a racist rant at a beach is now being penalized by tech giant Facebook.READ MORE: Chicago Weather Alert: Dangerous Driving Conditions With Snow Causing Low Visibility For Friday Commute
Earlier this week Raquel Bolton’s two children, 4 and 8, were playing in the water at Oak Street Beach in Chicago when their splashing angered a beachgoer sitting close to the water’s edge. Bolton says during the exchange that followed, the woman repeatedly used the “N-word.“
After recording the final moments of the woman’s racially charged rant, Bolton posted the video on her Facebook wall.
It quickly went viral, drawing over 100,000 views. The outpouring of support provided comfort to Bolton. “It felt like I was doing something good because it was spread so fast,” she says.
Hours later, Facebook removed the video, claiming it did not meet the site’s community guidelines. Bolton posted it again, this time without mentioning the “N-word.”
In the new post she wrote, “While at the beach #oakstreetbeach this lady called us the N Word three times in front of my children all because they splashed water on her. I asked her to stop yelling at the kids and said I’ll call the police.”
At the time of this article’s posting, the new video has garnered more than 600,000 views and 14,000 shares.READ MORE: Chicago Weather Alert: City Deploys Over 200 Plows Amid Lake Effect Snow
This morning, Bolton discovered that Facebook had blocked her movement on the site. “I cannot comment, like, share or post,” she reports. She says she is now forced to watch strangers post accusations and racially charged comments about her on the site with no ability to respond.
Facebook frequently draws criticism for its policies regarding content.
In late June, the company refused to remove a photo of a decapitated man, Matt Summers, even after anguished pleas from friends and family.
“Mom is so upset that Facebook allowed those photos of my brother’s mangled, lifeless body to be plastered over Facebook,” says Summers’ sister.
Critics of Facebook point out that the site removes photos of mothers, while pages like “Porn Star Big Ass Big Tits” remain. Los Angeles-based photographer Michael Stokes, who often features United States veterans, has for years fought to post and share his work on Facebook.
CBS Chicago has reached out to Facebook and is awaiting comment.
UPDATE: At 1:08 p.m., CBS Chicago received a response from Facebook, acknowledging their mistake.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather Alert: Heavy Lake Effect Snow Friday; Nearly 8 Inches Possible In Some Areas
Company Statement: “As our team processes millions of reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake. In this case, we should not have removed this content, and we apologize for that. We aim to find the right balance between giving people a place to express themselves and promoting a welcoming and safe environment for our diverse, global community.”