UPDATE: What's that they say about the squeaky wheel? The Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook page has been restored, as of this afternoon. BLM tweeted the image of a message from Facebook saying its appeal had been reviewed, and the page could be republished; in the same tweet, the outfit claims some personal pages affiliated with the page are still blocked.
The story of Jeff Rothecker, the St. Paul Police Department cop who advocated running over protesters, is enough to piss off anyone with a moral code. But it was especially upsetting to the folks from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. After all, Rothecker's offensive Facebook posts were telling motorists they could get away with running over supporters of Black Lives Matter whenever they shut down the streets.
As of today, Black Lives Matter says its account, with its many thousands of followers, has been suspended by Facebook, and organizers blame the social network's move on BLM's vehement calls for Rothecker to face punishment.
The Black Lives Matter page disappeared this morning. In a tweet making the news public, BLM posted a message from Mark Zuckerberg's networking juggernaut indicating that it was unpublished because "content posted on [its] Page doesn't follow the Facebook Terms and Community Standards." The note also tells page administrators they can appeal the decision, but, first, should think long and hard about "removing any violating content" from its newsfeed.
"Please keep in mind," the message warns, "that if your appeal is denied, your Page will be permanently deleted."
Soon after posting that image, the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Twitter account said personal accounts affiliated with its page were also being frozen. It seems they are appealing the deletion of their Facebook page, but publicly, rather than directly to the second most-used site on the internet. "Whose side is Facebook on?" they ask. "A cop that advocated for running over protesters, or BlackLivesMatter-MPLS?"
No word on what the posts that tipped the Facebook scale actually entailed. And we've had our own criticisms of BLM's use of its account. But at the moment, this looks like a bizarre form of censorship for a highly public, widely followed page.
No doubt, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis was posting things that were making people uncomfortable. That's the whole idea.