Facebook shuts down pro-R18+ game rating group


Social networking giant Facebook appears to have shut down the group on the site belonging to Grow Up Australia, a lobby organisation campaigning for a R18+ classification scheme to be implemented for video games in Australia.

On its own web site today, Grow Up Australia claimed Facebook had taken the group down because it violated Facebook’s terms of use. The organisation posted a picture on its site of Facebook’s notification (above).

“While an R18+ [rating] for computer games may be considered a controversial issue, we don’t believe that any of the content provided by the administrators of the group in question could be deemed to violate the terms of use,” said Grow Up Australia in a statement. “Very rarely, an inappropriate comment would be posted by one of the members, however the administrators have always been viglant in moderating the group and removing the inappropriate posts.”

Facebook’s Australian public relations agency declined to comment on the issue when contacted this afternoon.

Grow Up Australia said it agreed that Facebook needed to actively remove groups that violated the terms of use, however it felt the social networking giant had incorrectly judged the Grow Up Australia Group. “Currently, we are attempting to contact Facebook in regards to the issue, in hope to restore the group to its previous state,” it said.

GameSpot Australia, which appeared to have first reported this story, noted that the removed Facebook group had contained more than 10,000 members (update: Grow Up Australia this afternoon said it actually had almost 37,000). Grow Up Australia has created a new Facebook group — but it only has 232 members at the time of publication.

The news comes as Facebook has come under increasing pressure from a number of parties in Australia to clean up its act. Ironically, most of the pressure so far has been aimed at encouraging the social networking giant to remove posts from its site that some have considered offensive.

For example, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh wrote to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in late February, appealing for help in blocking offensive material from being posted on memorial sites for Queensland girl Trinity Bates.

Shortly after, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would investigate an idea being promoted by Sunrise and independent senator Nick Xenophon to setup an online ombudsman to deal with such complaints. He said it was obvious which material went too far, and rejected any criticism that it was draconian to address offensive online material.

Image credit: Grow Up Australia


    • Surely not — didn’t the SA Govt pledge to repeal that law, and not to enforce it etc? I think this has more to do with some overly-sensitive type complaining to Facebook and its US office not really understanding what the local issues are.

      You can’t really give Facebook any credit for paying any attention to Australia — they basically don’t unless it’s a Prime Ministerial or police request.

      • I didn’t have that law in mind.

        Was thinking of more generic tactics; bad publicity during a campaign, so get a party hack to file a complaint.

      • “Surely not — didn’t the SA Govt pledge to repeal that law, and not to enforce it etc?”

        That depends which law you’re talking about. There are two controversial laws concerning SA at the moment –
        1. The Attorney-General’s opposition to R18+ ratings
        2. The law that says you cannot comment on election issues online anonymously

        A Facebook group is not anonymous, so joining such a group is not an anonymous action. Either way, the 18+ rating issue is not an election issue, so it would not be affected by that law. And it’s that law (#2) that is going to be repealed – not the Attorney General’s stance on R18+ ratings.

  1. Yet it’s quite ok apparently to have the most loutish, racist, boganish hate groups up there forever. Gah.

    • Yeah I don’t get it. This is clearly political speech of a legitimate nature. Maybe Facebook’s US offce thinks it has something to do with porn because of the R18+ badge. *sigh*

      • You would have to think it would be something like that.

        Anyone familiar to the issue would recognise the legitimate political nature of the group. But to an outsider, or automated moderator, it could be flagged by the R18.

  2. Renai, was it you who contacted them RE: “Facebook’s Australian public relations agency declined to comment on the issue when contacted this afternoon” or was it GrowUp’s people? It would be interesting to see what they would do, if you tried contacting them every hour! ;-)

    • Yup. The response I got, I interpreted like this:

      “We’re not able to comment on anything to do with Facebook ever, officially or unofficially, so please don’t contact us about them, and we will barely admit we represent them.”

      A “no comment” of the highest order.

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