Facebook Rep. Apologizes to Brazilian Bishops Conference About Page Bans

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Christopher, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

A representative of Facebook contacted the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) and apologized for the temporary removal of dozens of Catholic Facebook pages, many of which were based out of Brazil, according to a statement by CNBB.

Here’s the full statement by CNBB (translated from Portuguese):

“On July 18th, a Facebook spam detection tool was responsible for accidentally taking down several Roman Catholic pages in Brazil and abroad.

“The person responsible for Communications for Facebook in Brazil, Cesar Bianconi, contacted the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) to explain the incident.

“”We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience,” said the Facebook spokesman, stating that all pages have been restored.”

ChurchPOP previously reported that dozens of major Catholic Facebook pages, in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, were suddenly removed from Facebook yesterday morning without explanation, causing serious concern for their owners. The incident sparked outrage among Catholics around the world, who demanded the pages be restored and an explanation be given.

Yesterday evening, all of the pages were restored without explanation.

This morning, ACI Prensa, one of our sister Catholic news agencies in Latin America, received the first explanation from Facebook for the incident: “The pages were restored. The incident was accidentally caused by a spam detection mechanism on the platform. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

While we are glad the pages have been restored, ChurchPOP remains skeptical of the official explanation, since it appears that only Catholic pages were affected worldwide, which seems unlikely if the problem was a software glitch.

One Portuguese-language website claims that excessive use of the word “Amen” (“Amém in Portuguese) in comments is what triggered the spam tool. However, many other pages, including non-Catholic Christian pages, receive lots of comments with “Amen” and remained unaffected..

Read more on this story:

– Facebook Gives Official Explanation for Page Removals. But Does It Make Sense?

– All Banned Catholic Facebook Restored by Facebook Across Languages

– “Extremely Heartbreaking”: Owners of Banned Catholic Pages Speak Out

– A Catholic Purge? Facebook Removes Big Catholic Facebook Pages Worldwide