• France's news in English

Rights group slams Facebook for Muhammad weekly censorship

AFP · 4 Nov 2011, 17:31

Published: 04 Nov 2011 17:31 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Rights group Reporters Without Borders slammed Facebook on Friday for threatening to terminate the account of a French weekly whose offices were firebombed after publishing images of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

RSF noted with irony that Charlie Hebdo's staff could no longer edit comments on its Facebook "wall", including those inciting violence, while the "enemies of freedom of expression" could continue to post hate messages.

"Facebook has just discovered opportunely that Charlie Hebdo 'is not a real person', something that breaks the site's rules," RSF said in a statement, citing a message in French from Facebook.

"The content that you have published on Facebook has been deleted for breaking (Facebook) rules. Postings with graphic, sexually explicit or excessively revealing content are banned," it quoted Facebook as saying.

"This message is a warning. Another infraction will result in the account being terminated."

Charlie Hebdo -- which on Wednesday published a special Arab Spring edition with Muhammad on the cover as "guest editor" saying: "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!" -- has the offending cover as its Facebook profile picture.

"We can only regret a position that says the enemies of freedom of expression are right and which leaves us perplexed as to the social network's real motives for closing the account," RSF said.

"The newspaper can no longer either add or block outside comments, be they hateful or threatening, as the page's administrator cannot deactivate outside contributions," RSF said.

"It is extremely worrying to notice that the social network seems to fall on the side of censorship and restricting the freedom to inform," RSF said, noting that Facebook had already closed the pages of several dissidents.

Story continues below…

Facebook shut down the page of Michael Anti because it was a pseudonym of Chinese political blogger Jing Zhao, while the Facebook group "We are all Khaled Said", named after an Egyptian blogger killed by security forces, was closed because the group's administrators didn't use their real names.

"If Facebook closes Charlie Hebdo's page it would have far-reaching consequences for journalists, bloggers or internet activists, who may in future censor themselves," RSF said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available