STATEMENT ON THE DELETION OF ACTIVIST FACEBOOK PROFILES ON 29 APRIL 2011
On 29 April fifty-one profiles operated by UK anti-cuts groups, political organisations and activist campaigns were suspended or deleted by Facebook. We, the affected groups, believe we have been the victims of a coordinated State shut down of Facebook pages on the day of the Royal Wedding. This is effectively censorship of likely (and even unlikely) sources of protest. It is as draconian and illegitimate as the preemptive police crack downs on protesters taking place at the same time in the offline world. We believe the police used the wedding as an opportunity to obstruct opposition to and criticism of an increasingly inequitable and repressive regme.
We demand a full enquiry into how exactly Facebook came to simultaneously shut down fifty-one political groups’ profiles, most of which had been in existence for at least 6 months, on this precise date. In the meantime we demand that Facebook live up to its supposed commitment to facilitating free speech for people living in undemocratic regimes and reinstate ALL the user profiles immediately until an 'orderly transition' to Facebook approved group pages can be organised with the groups involved. Anything else is tantamount to censorship, and it is only too clear to most people that what occurred on April 29th was not a merely technical procedure but a deliberate shut down of dissent.
N.B. Full list of closed Facebook accounts http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/FB_takedowns
(Letter from the ‘Stop the facebookpurge!’ group http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_182031188514672 ) Signed,
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Stop Facebookpurge - Facebook group, post to firstname.lastname@example.org