CrossFit, the popular fitness and lifestyle program, permanently suspended its Facebook and Instagram accounts this week after Facebook deleted one of its large pages. The company cited a long list of concerns with Facebook, including the platform’s habit of censoring and removing user accounts “based on unknown criteria.”
CrossFit, Inc. suspends use of Facebook and associated properties https://t.co/gdRs4nXa9k
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) May 24, 2019
CrossFit calls itself a “a contrarian physiological and nutrition prescription for improving fitness and health.”
In a strongly worded statement, CrossFit said they decided to leave the platforms after Facebook (which owns Instagram) deleted “without warning or explanation” the Banting7DayMealPlan group. The group discussed and shared recipes of the low carb, high fat diet popular with CrossFitters.
Recently, Facebook deleted without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan user group. The group has 1.65 million users who post testimonials and other information regarding the efficacy of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. While the site has subsequently been reinstated (also without warning or explanation), Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.
Facebook and its properties host and oversee a significant share of the marketplace of public thought. To millions of individuals and communities across the world, Facebook and its properties remain the platforms where ideas and information are exchanged. Facebook thus serves as a de facto authority over the public square, arbitrating a worldwide exchange of information as well as overseeing the security of the individuals and communities who entrust their ideas, work, and private data to this platform. This mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process.
CrossFit, Inc., as a voluntary user of and contributor to this marketplace, can and must remove itself from this particular manifestation of the public square when it becomes clear that such responsibilities are betrayed or reneged upon to the detriment of our community. Common decency demands that we do so, as do our convictions regarding fitness, health, and nutrition, which sit at the heart of CrossFit’s identity and prescription. To this end, all activity on CrossFit, Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was suspended as of May 22, 2019, as CrossFit investigates the circumstances pertaining to Facebook’s deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan and other well-known public complaints about the social-media company that may adversely impact the security and privacy of our global CrossFit community.
CrossFit listed eight major concerns it has with the company:
1. Facebook collects and aggregates user information and shares it with state and federal authorities, as well as security organizations from other countries.
2. Facebook collaborates with government security agencies on massive citizen surveillance programs such as PRISM.
3. Facebook censors and removes user accounts based on unknown criteria and at the request of third parties including government and foreign government agencies.
4. Facebook collects, aggregates, and sells user information as a matter of business. Its business model allows governments and businesses alike to use its algorithmically conjured advertising categories as sophisticated data-mining and surveillance tools.
5. Facebook’s news feeds are censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists while remaining vulnerable to misinformation campaigns designed to stir up violence and prejudice.
6. Facebook, as a matter of business and principle, has weak intellectual property protections and is slow to close down IP theft accounts.
7. Facebook has poor security protocols and has been subject to the largest security breaches of user data in history.
8. Facebook is acting in the service of food and beverage industry interests by deleting the accounts of communities that have identified the corrupted nutritional science responsible for unchecked global chronic disease. In this, it follows the practices of Wikipedia and other private platforms that host public content but retain the ability to remove or silence—without the opportunity for real debate or appeal—information and perspectives outside a narrow scope of belief or thought. In this case, the approved perspective has resulted in the deaths of millions through preventable diseases. Facebook is thus complicit in the global chronic disease crisis.
CrossFit, with its 15,000 affiliates and millions of followers, is one of the more high-profile companies to have deleted its accounts in response to what they see as Facebook’s unfair and biased practices.
Reason’s Nick Gillepsie saw CrossFit’s move as a hopeful sign:
“If more high-profile individuals, companies, content creators, and accounts take similar action, it’ll be a more libertarian outcome than the government regulation increasingly supported by both liberals and conservatives,” he wrote.
That’s a pretty big “if.”
Because if not, it is business as usual for Big Tech, which means Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube continues deplatforming politically incorrect accounts with abandon.