Facebook closes politically-motivated sites, activists say

Activists have claimed Facebook closed a number of politically-motivated accounts, including an East End group’s, in the run-up to the Royal Wedding.

Tower Hamlets Green party was among anti-cuts organisations and other lobbying groups to have had their profiles deleted by the social networking site during the royal celebrations last week.

Save NHS, No Cuts and London Student Assembly also had their profiles removed.

Maggie Crosbie, of Tower Hamlets Greens, said: “It does seem a bit weird they took down all the pages during the Royal Wedding. They seem to be cracking down on left groups.

“Facebook has been a great way for us to advertise what we’re doing and we have gained many followers on the site.”


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Ms Crosbie said the site was blocked but it now appears to be back up and running.

Online activists, UCL Occupation, said on their blog: “It may well be that these groups are technically in violation of Facebook’s terms of agreement, but the timing – on the Royal Wedding and May day weekend – is deeply suspicious.”

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But Facebook argued that the sites were in clear breech of its guidelines and said the fact they were removed during the Royal Wedding was merely coincidental.

Its rules state only personal profiles used by individuals are allowed.

It added: “Facebook has a real name culture based on the concept that people are safer when they know who they are interacting with.

“Facebook’s security tools constantly work to maintain our real name culture by removing profiles that are ‘fake’ or don’t belong to an individual person, but rather a campaign, an animal, or an organisation.”

The site said it was likely the profiles were taken down at a similar time because they were connected to each other.

Campaigns can only be set up on Facebook as pages or groups, not profiles, the site said.

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