Earlier today, the Facebook group People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie was removed by Facebook. The group has been around since the early days of the protest (Dec. 2008) and as of last week had almost 6,000 members. A cached version of the group can be seen here.
This is the email we received today:
From: Facebook (generic notification email)
Date: Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:38 PM
Subject: Facebook Warning
To: (personal email redacted)
If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at http://www.facebook.com/help/?topic=wgroups.
The Facebook Team
One of our staff members contacted the Facebook team with the following:
To whom it may concern:
The group is one of many protest groups on Facebook. It does not advocate anything “hateful, threatening or obscene”, it is simply advocating for greater diversity in movies and pointing out a glass ceiling in casting in one or two specific films. We are not “attacking any individual or group, nor are we advertising a product or service.”
In advocating for fair representation in media, our group has always striven for the opposite by fighting discrimination. Other facebook groups similar in purpose to “People Against Racebending: Protest the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie” exist without any repercussions, such as Boycott Transformers 2 and Boycott Dragonball.
Recently, the group has been harassed by trolls, and has received “hateful, threatening or obscene” posts about Asian Americans, or about the protest, on the wall. Administrators have tried to monitor these attacks diligently and Facebook users who have repeatedly posted inflammatory language on our group have been banned. We hope that Facebook did not misconstrue the hate speech left on our wall by the people harassing us, as a product of our supporters.
Facebook’s FAQ writes that “Any content that is obscene, violent, malicious or otherwise offensive will be removed.” We have no idea as to how the entirety of our Facebook group could be considered to meet this criteria, particularly given the precedence of similar discrimination-in-movies protest groups on Facebook.
Please explain why our group is removed and outline any steps we can take to see it restored.
As of this writing, we are still awaiting a response from the Facebook team.
We are getting closer to the release of the movie and we need the support of the greater community now more than ever. This is a setback, but we will continue to spread the word about how The Last Airbender created a glass ceiling when it erased the ethnicities of its Asian and Inuit characters and cast white actors to play lead characters of color.
If you and/or your friends were members of the Facebook group (or even if you weren’t), please stay in touch with us by joining our Facebook Fan Page or our LiveJournal Community. You can also follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter.
We will share whatever we learn with the Racebending community and let you know if there are any steps we can take to restore the group.
EDIT: We’re still trying to figure out the best way to contact Facebook. YOU can start by going to Facebook’s Groups Suggestion page and asking them to look into why we were deleted.