More censorship? Rudd ‘epic fail’ group goes offline
Yesterday, we told you about the South Australian government’s attempts at internet censorship.
Lu Kewan aka. Beijing’s man in Australia,Australian PM Kevin “I have never been a socialist” Rudd
Today, we can reveal that online political speech has been dealt another blow with Facebook, the popular social networking site, being accused of political censorship after it removed the group “KEVIN RUDD = EPIC FAIL”.
Before it was removed the Facebook group is understood to have had over 3000 members and focused on building a list what it described as Kevin Rudd’s broken promises.
Whether or not you agree with the argument of the group, surely in a democracy the creators have the right to express their views and people have a right to join and support that group.
The group is believed to have been banned because it criticised an individual, the Prime Minister.
However, based on Facebook’s terms of reference you would expect a group would only be banned if its views were overtly racist or defamatory.
In the case of the Prime Minister you would have to say he has been accused of worse things than being an “epic failure”.
Facebook has previously removed or banned controversial groups which were viewed as containing racist or Anti-Semitic views.
It has also intervened at the request of law enforcement agencies such as when arson vigilante groups appeared in the wake of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.
Typically, a Facebook group will be banned following the logging of a complaint directly to Facebook.
The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed to The Punch that it did not lodge a complaint against the Facebook group.
The decision to ban the political group because they were critical of a politician represents a concerning development, online civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia told The Punch.
Electronic Frontiers Australia argue that such disputes over political Facebook groups show that there is a growing fight for political freedom in Australia.
EFA Spokesperson, Geordie Guy said the online environment is currently caught in a battle “between people [who are] online and people who would prefer those people didn’t give their opinions”.
The Facebook controversy comes only a day after the South Australian government backed down on controversial new laws requiring people to provide their name and postcode before posting comments online on news website such as AdelaideNow.
The South Australian laws came only months out from the South Australian State Election and critics argued that the measure would severely limit free speech.
At the time of posting, Facebook has not responded to a request for comment.
Check out ThePunch website and read the letters to the editor on this story two examples below:
11:37am | 04/02/10
A friend of mine works in Rudd’s Office and tells me the man is paranoid about criticism. She also hintedthat Punch has been misled. Rudd’s office orchestrated the Facebook removal of this page.
04:35pm | 04/02/10
An interesting suggestion DG says:02:37pm | 04/02/10, however you forget that Rudd, through his ill-conceived new net filter, can decide which sites appear in Australian searches. Perhaps he has more power over Facebook than you imagine. “