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April 9, 2014

Facebook culls ‘soldiers must be murdered’ page’

The page ignited protests from armed forces and the public.

By CBR Staff Writer

Facebook has pulled down a page that says ‘Soldiers deserve to be raped and murdered’, not due to its subject matter, but over fake account holder details.

Created last July, the page had requested visitors to ‘support the cause in weeding out and eliminating this worthless breed of cowardice’.

Earlier, Facebook confirmed that the page did not violate its policies, which later sparked off protests from armed forces and the public.

A Facebook spokesperson told the BBC that the threat had not been specific enough for its complaints team to act on.

"Sometimes there is content on Facebook that expresses angry and unpleasant ideas but doesn’t directly target anyone," the spokesman added.

"In such cases the page may be left up. However, we can compel people who post things like this to make their real names visible so they are publicly accountable for their views.

"On investigating this particular page administrator, we found they were using a fake account and we removed it."

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Facebook’s move was criticised by saying that it was taken down as it was seen offensive.

According to Oxford Internet Institute researcher Dr Joss Wright, the principle of First Amendment freedom-of-speech rights is something that nobody wants to be seen to be violating in the US, particularly Silicon Valley-type companies for which it’s buried very deeply into their ideology.

"Clearly this page was taken down because it was offensive, but it’s very convenient for the firm to have an alternative justification – the use of fake credentials or, as we’ve seen in other examples, a violation of copyright," Wright added.

"I think Facebook will stick to this kind of approach as long as it can. It doesn’t want to be put in a position where it’s expected it will police its content because that could then turn into a requirement that is forced upon it."

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