29 Apr 2011

Facebook ‘suspends UK activist groups’

A group on Facebook claims the social networking site has deleted a number of politically-motivated accounts in the run-up to the Royal Wedding.

Facebook 'suspends UK activist groups'

Online activists have claimed that Facebook has removed or suspended dozens of groups in the last 12 hours in a “purge”.

A list of apparently suspended accounts includes anti-cuts groups and pages created during the students protests in December.

Tower Hamlets Greens, UWE Occupation and Save NHS are among the pages no longer active. A list published online on the UCL occupation blog suggests that more than 50 political accounts have been suspended.

“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,” the blog claimed.

“We don’t know for certain, but this purge of online organising groups could be linked to the wider crackdown on protest by authorities in Britain.”

It is unclear why the accounts have been affected. Facebook declined to issue a statement.

However a spokesman said: “The reason all of these profiles came down at once is simple. 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 Met Police did not ask Facebook to take down this content.”

The spokesman added that those affected were being contacted by Facebook and would be invited to re-instate their profiles as pages or groups.

On Friday Scotland Yard hailed the security operation surrounding the Royal Wedding as an “amazing success” despite 55 arrests around its security zone.

Ten people were arrested near Charing Cross who had climbing gear and anti-monarchy placards.

An estimated one million people lined the streets for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.