UPDATE 7/19/2017 5:41pm easter: Facebook Rep. Apologizes to Brazilian Bishops Conference About Page Bans
UPDATE 7/19/2017 11:20am eastern: Facebook Gives Official Explanation for Page Removals. But Does It Make Sense?
UPDATE 7/19/2017 12:23 am eastern: All Banned Catholic Facebook Restored by Facebook Across Languges
“It is extremely heartbreaking,” Kenneth Alimba explained. “It’s too horrible.”
Alimba, a Catholic who lives in Nigeria, was the owner of the Facebook page titled “Catholic and Proud.” It had over 6 million Likes when it was removed by Facebook today without explanation. He had another page titled “Holy Mary Mother of God,” which had around 200,000 Likes and was also removed.
His pages are just two of possibly dozens of Catholic Facebook pages simultaneously removed around the world in the last day or so, including the “Father Rocky” page (3.3 million Likes) and a popular Portuguese-language Pope Francis page called “Papa Francisco Brasil” (3.8 million Likes).
“I’ve worked on the page for over five years,” he told ChurchPOP, “and have put in all I am into it.”
Godwin Delali Adadzie, the owner of another removed Catholic Facebook page “Jesus and Mary,” with 1.7 million Likes, also shared his story with ChurchPOP.
“This page is the joy of my apologetics ministry online. It is like the digital heartbeat of my ministry.”
A Catholic based in Ghana, Adadzie is a popular Catholic blogger and used his page to share his articles. “The page happens to be the most effective means of driving traffic to my Catholic websites and blogs. I am also a blogger and a writer, and in writing, without readers which requires quality traffic, your writing or blogging will be useless.”
Both Alimba and Adadzie had similar stories about how they discovered their pages had been removed.
First, when they tried to log onto Facebook today, they found that their personal Facebook profiles had been temporarily suspended.
“I saw a warning that my account is involved in suspicious activities,” Adadzie explained, “and that I should send a photo for verification. I sent a photograph of myself to Facebook and they send they will verify and get back to me.” Alimba said he had to go through something similar.
“All the other co-Editors of my page Jesus and Mary had the same issue and were required to send their photos.
“After some 5 minutes I tried Facebook again and I was able to access my personal account.”
He still had no indication his Facebook page had been removed until he got a notification.
“I was facebooking/browsing within Facebook and I got a notification just like the normal notifications that comes when someone response to a post of yours. I checked it and it said my page Jesus and Mary has been unpublished.”
When he clicked “Appeal,” he was still given no explanation as to why his page had been removed.
Adadzie says he sent a message appealing Facebook’s decision to remove his page, though he says he still doesn’t know why it was removed in the first place.
“I have no idea,” Adadzie told ChurchPOP. “I have not met anything close to this issue in my ten years of using Facebook.”
Alimba thinks he’s being targeted specifically because it was a Catholic page. “They’ve fought and continue to fight anything Catholic and conservative.”
They both just want their pages back. “This page has meant everything to many people,” Alimba explained. “It’ll be a shame if we’d be left to bear such pains without knowing why.”
Adadzie wonders if Catholics should look beyond Facebook. “I think all the affected pages’ owners need to meet and plan an alternative solution. We are a Church of over 1.1 billion people and we can come up with a better solution.”
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