Facebook ‘take down’ APLA!

By Reggy Nyandeni

Popular online social networking site Facebook shocked the administrator, Justice Mvakali, of Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA Introspection) when he received the news that the group has been removed from the site. The reasons, which are in the possession of Mayihlome News, for the removal, were sent via a mail to Mvakali on Wednesday. The vague quote under the subject “Facebook Warning” reads as follows:

Social Networking giant Facebook has taken down APLA facebook group

“Hello, The group “Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA Introspection)” has been removed because it violated our Terms of Use. Among other things, groups that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down groups that attack an individual or group, or advertise a product or service. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your
account being disabled.”

The group administrator reacted angry to the decision and described the action as driven by a political agenda to suppress Pan Africanism. He vowed to fight victoriously using popular APLA war slogan “upoqo akabethwa” (APLA will never be defeated). APLA fought in the liberation struggle as a military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania during the days of Apartheid South Africa ’s white settler government.

Mayihlome News sent Facebook a set of questions to understand the circumstances that led to the removal of the group, viz:

Why exactly did Facebook remove APLA Introspection? In what way did the group violate the Terms of Use? Who reported the alleged violation? In what way is the group hateful, threatening, or obscene? Who made the threats, expressed hatred, used obscenities; and against who? Which individual or group was attacked? Which product or service was advertised on the group? Does Facebook recognize freedom of expression and diversity of political views? Are all members of the group guilty of the alleged violations of the terms of use? Lastly, did Facebook inform members of the group of this decision and the reasons before executing?

At the time of publishing, Facebook had not responded to our questions. Mayihlome News is still looking forward to hear how Facebook explains itself out of this seemingly intolerant decision.

This subjective ‘take down’ decision by Facebook raised fears about the objectivity of the popular social networking site and the extent to which it will go to allow unfettered free flow of ideas. The action by the site to ‘take down’ groups that holds different political views to those preferred by the site could be seen as a dictatorship of ideas.

It is not yet clear how members of the group are reacting to the decision since their collective platform has been demolished.

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