Facebook has suspended a U.K.-based pub’s social-media account over “racist or offensive language,” a report claims.
In Nov., Lee Garrett, the manager of the 175-year-old Blackcock Inn, received a message from Facebook, saying that his account had been suspended for “racist or offensive language,” he told The Independent in an interview. Garrett has since been unable to log into the account and all of its posts have been removed, he says.
The pub is located in a small village named Llanfihangel Talyllyn. According to Garrett, whose family took over the pub a dozen years ago, in the 175 years the company has been in business, there had been no complaints about its name until now. He added that the name is derived from a black cockerel—a male chicken—and nothing else.
Facebook (FB), like other social networks, has a strict policy on user accounts. While the company makes clear in its Terms of Service that users should have the right to freedom of speech, it reserves the right to remove postings or accounts that may negatively affect others.
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The world’s largest social network has removed all kinds of potentially offending content in recent years, including images of murder victims, illegal content, and even a “feeling fat” emoticon. While it hasn’t been confirmed by Facebook, it’s possible the company did in fact suspend Garrett’s account for violating one of its regulations.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suspension.
For his part, Garrett argues that the Facebook page is a “lifeline” for his business and the small village. He says that the Facebook account brought business to his bar that may otherwise be lost.
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Exactly why Facebook may have suspended the account is unknown. Garrett revealed that he had created a personal Facebook account for the company. It’s possible that, since it was a personal page and not a business page, Facebook may have mistakenly believed it was indeed conveying “racist or offensive language.” It’s also possible it was a mistake.
Regardless, Garrett has found a solution: He opened up a business page on Facebook under the exact name of his business. So far, it’s operating normally.