Facebook has been accused of shutting down ex-Muslim and atheist groups amid claims they were targeted by ‘fundamentalists’ who wanted them closed.
This week the social media company temporarily closed the pages of Atheist Republic, which has more than 1.6million followers, and the Ex-Muslims of North America, liked almost 25,000 times.
It is believed Facebook closed the groups after a flurry of complaints from people taking advantage of the company’s ‘flagging’ tools to falsely report the pages.
This week the social media company temporarily closed the pages of Atheist Republic and the Ex-Muslims of North America page (pictured)
Moderators revealed that the pages, which have since been reopened, were closed for being ‘in violation of Facebook’s community standards’.
Several ex-Muslim and atheist groups have now claimed that Facebook is blocking their pages before investigating complaints, reports Heat Street.
Former Muslims have written an open letter to the social media giant, calling on it to ‘to stop exercising intellectual persecution’ against atheist and ex-Muslim organisations.
With more than 1.6million followers, Atheist Republic is believed to be the biggest collection of online atheists in the world
On Monday the president of the Ex-Muslims of North America, Muhammad Syed, said the company is not doing enough to protect ‘groups vulnerable to malicious attacks’.
In an open letter he wrote: ‘Ironically, the same social media which empowers religious minorities is susceptible to abuse by religious fundamentalists to enforce what are essentially the equivalent of online blasphemy laws.
‘A simple English language search reveals hundreds of public groups and pages on Facebook explicitly dedicated to this purpose – giving their members easy-to-follow instructions on how to report public groups and infiltrate private ones.’
Mr Syed added that the Atheist Republic group has been shut down four times in the last two years and then reinstated.
He believes that there are hundreds of Facebook accounts working to shut down atheist and ex-Muslim public pages in an organised effort- and Facebook is doing little to stop them.
Other groups which have allegedly been targeted include: A Science Enthusiast, the Arab Atheist Network and Radical Atheists without Borders.
Mr Syed said:’Arab atheists, Bangladeshi secularists, and numerous other groups have been under attack for years, as religious conservatives in the Muslim world learn to abuse Facebook’s reporting system to their advantage.’
He is now urging Facebook to create a ‘whitelist’ for groups that are vulnerable to attacks and to penalise accounts that repeatedly abuse the reporting tools.
MailOnline has contacted Facebook for comment.
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