Some time late last night, the largest BP protest page on Facebook, “Boycott BP,” went down without warning or explanation. In addition to serving the obvious purpose of uniting people in protest, the page was a forum wherein Facebook users could share their personal stories, along with photos and videos. It was more than just a place for people to get angry, it was a place for those justifiably angry people to pool information and help each other cope.
And like most major movements on Facebook these days, the page gained traction in the mainstream media. Its creator, Lee Perkins, was even recently interviewed by Diane Sawyer.
No explanation had been given for the page’s take-down, but some obvious theories arose. People thought it could be an attempt to curb the flow of images, video, and other information coming out of the Gulf to avoid major panic or excessive overreaction. Others suspected the movement was taking hold too strongly, and that Facebook didn’t want to be seen as any way responsible for a real BP boycott.
Well, Facebook just released a statement which may clear things up, reported here by TechCruch:
“The admin profile of the Boycott BP Page was disabled by our automated systems therefore removing all the content that had been created by the profile. After a manual review we determined the profile was removed in error and it has now been restored along with the Page.”
Before this statement, Perkins claimed that Facebook had truly made an enemy of him personally. On his external protest site, bayoulee.com, he wrote last night:
FaceBook executes a “top kill” on Boycott-BP group. FaceBook apparently is in the barrel for BIG OIL!!! They are a slippery bunch. No notice. No warnings of supposed violation of usage policy. Total disregard for procedure. Sound like BP???
Not only has FaceBook and BP targeted me, they have also targeted anyone close to me. My daughter’s and two close friends’ FaceBook accounts have been removed. ERASED!!!
The old “Boycott BP” page is back to full activity with plenty of posts going up every few minutes. There is no word on whether the allegations made by Perkins above have any weight, though it seems fishy that a profile could be deleted in error the same way a page could.
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