November 17th Protest Against Rising Fuel Prices: Why Events have Disappeared from Facebook

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Calls for a Block against Fuel Increases removed from Facebook

Internet users cry out for “censorship” and “conspiracy” after the disappearance of Facebook events dedicated to blocking on Saturday 17th November, 2018. What really happened

Here is the conspiracy theory again. Grumbling around rising fuel prices in France … and demonstrations called  ” national block against the rise in fuel prices” abound throughout the hexagon, with a date in mind: Saturday 17th November, 2018 . A petition for the lowering of fuel prices passed the milestone of 500,000 signatures on Monday 29th October.

Day after day for a week or so, Facebook events are flourishing everywhere in France (more than  200,000 people are particularly interested in Paris ), but some of them disappeared from radar without warning. It was enough to revive … the theory of conspiracy. On social networks, Facebook and the state are seen pell-mell accused of censorship and “conspiracy” by Internet users, especially in Toulouse.

Several Facebook events about fuel protests have disappeared
Several Facebook events dedicated to the blocking of Saturday, November 17 have been removed at the end of last week, prompting a new theory of conspiracy (© Screenshots Facebook)
Comments removed from Facebook posts about fuel protests
Some comments … do no comment after the disappearance of events dedicated to the blocking of November 17 (© Screenshot Facebook)
For some Internet users, facebook events like in Toulouse because they were "too embarrassing" (© screenshot of Facebook)
For some Internet users, facebook events like in Toulouse because they were “too embarrassing” (© screenshot of Facebook)



Events missing in Toulouse, Rodez, La Rochelle

Since the publication of an article on Actu Toulouse Wednesday, October 24 announcing a demonstration in Toulouse Saturday, 17th November,  two Facebook events dedicated to this blockage in the Pink City (which had thousands of interested or registered), have successively disappeared: the first Wednesday,  which had more than 11,000 people interested (and 16,000 hours just before his disappearance), and the second Thursday 25  which posted several thousand. Administrator deleted the second event in Toulouse, Thomas Leroyer says:

“Facebook sent a message to the creator of the event, indicating that it had been reported by multiple users, and was being verified. It was removed in the process, not even an hour later.”

At the same time, other events have disappeared from Facebook, including Rodez (Aveyron), as explained by our colleagues Center Presse . Or in La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), as indicated by  France Bleu La Rochelle. Events where there were also registered or interested thousands of Internet users, who are wondering about these sudden disappearances … And on the web, some people report attempts to Facebook, the state, or both, to “Extinguish the popular revolt”. So who removes these events? And why ?

Screenshots are looping over social networks after the Facebook blocking of Saturday, November 17th disappeared
Screenshots are looping over social networks after the Facebook blocking of Saturday, November 17th disappeared (© Screenshot de Facebook)
"We will not be intimidated" say Toulouse on Facebook, after the disappearance of events dedicated to blocking, thus cultivating the conspiracy theory
“We will not be intimidated” say Toulouse on Facebook, after the disappearance of events dedicated to blocking, thus cultivating the conspiracy theory (© Facebook screenshot)

Have organisers contacted the prefecture?

First, a little reminder of the rules. Create a facebook event, it’s going fast; organising a public event, however, is something else. Because any public demonstration must be declared in prefecture. It should be remembered that in case of wild event,  the civil and criminal liability  of the organisers is committed … The Haute-Garonne prefecture said on Wednesday, “To date, no statement has been made in the prefecture for this concerning the blockage of 17 November 2018 “. On Friday evening, the prefecture said  “only one person contacted the prefecture the day before yesterday (Wednesday, Ed.) to find out how to declare an event in the context of rising fuel prices “.

The prefecture indicates that it “did not contact anyone”

Since the people indicated as “organisers” are clearly indicated on each “event” facebook, has the state requested the removal of these events to the social network, as Internet users claim? Or did he  contact organisers to get into the nails, or even to suppress events on their own?



The Haute-Garonne prefecture tells us that it ” did not contact anyone, nor did it take any action to remove any event created on social networks”.

Asked about the disappearance of the four events mentioned above (in Toulouse, Rodez and La Rochelle), Facebook France assures for its part that ” the State did not ask their  suppression  “. And the social network to ensure: “This is not how it happens! “.

Facebook claims to have conducted “no action”

That said, Facebook can indeed remove these events on its own, especially if they do not respect its scrupulous rules . Or if some users make insulting, defamatory, or forbidden remarks. But here too, the social network denies having acted: “There has been no action from Facebook on the pages indicated”.

Internet users denounce a "censorship Facebook" after the disappearance of events dedicated to the blocking of Saturday, November 17, the social network is defending itself
Internet users denounce a “censorship Facebook” after the disappearance of events dedicated to the blocking of Saturday, November 17, the social network is defending itself (© screenshot of Facebook)

According to Facebook, the removal comes from users

If neither the State nor Facebook has demanded the suppression of these events, is it the work of the creators of the events themselves? Facebook, for its part, maintains that the four events thus suppressed were the result of ” actions of their administrators: deletion of the event” for three of them and “deletion of the user account linked to the event” for the fourth.

Now they create … facebook groups

Still, in the fourth city of France, those who want to protest against the rise in fuel prices Saturday, November 17 found the parade to get around the problem: lack of event, they created not one, but  three groups facebook here,  and  here and here too . Thomas Leroyer explains:

“The events are removed by Facebook, it is hoped that the groups will have a better life. We have created three groups in Toulouse, at least, if one of them is censored, we can fall back on the other!”

The directors of these groups must meet to define the follow-up to their movement and coordinate their actions in Toulouse.

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