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