Facebook censorship issue raised by Raoul Moat page

Thu 15th of July 2010, filed under Social Media

Facebook will not take down page

A fan page set up on Facebook to commemorate the life of killer Raoul Moat will not be taken down, authorities at the social media website have announced.

The networking portal has come under fire after pages began to appear showing sympathy for Moat, who committed suicide during a police manhunt over the weekend.

Facebook has released a statement claiming that while the pages may be "distasteful", there is no reason to "stop a debate from happening". It said:

"Although the page and its contents are clearly distasteful to some, users are expressing how they feel about a public figure, or in the comments relating to the police, a public institution, so it is within the terms of use of the site as it is an expression of personal opinion."

Strong opposition

The wave of sympathy that has accompanied Moat's demise has left some people feeling bewildered, particularly prime minister David Cameron.

Addressing MPs at Prime Minister's Questions, the leader said that he could not understand any compassion for Moat, calling him a callous murderer who wreaked havoc in his community.

Similarly, Kelly Stobbart, half-sister of Moat's ex-girlfriend Samantha, called the tributes to Moat disgusting. She questioned how anybody could praise a man who acted in the manner Moat did towards innocent people.

This isn't the first censorship row Facebook has been embroiled in this year. Just last month, a group calling for the release of US political prisoner Richard Palmera was shut down by the website and the personal accounts of the group's administrators were disabled. The issue arose days after questions were posed about Facebook's implementation of a new privacy policy.

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