Facebook downs ‘Boycott BP’ page – by accident, it says

BP says it had nothing to do with the sudden removal of a ‘Boycott BP’ page from Facebook – it was all Facebook’s fault, it says.

The Boycott BP page is just what you’d expect: it calls for beople to stop buying BP products worldwide until the oil giant has satisfactorily sorted out the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The group says it has more than 700 members.

Facebook says the site was removed because of a technological error, and has been restored. BP has also denied having anything to do with it.

But that’s not enough for Public Citizen, one of the campaigning groups behind the boycott.

“Facebook and other social websites have become the public squares of the Internet – places where citizens can congregate as a community to share their opinions and voice their grievances,” says Greg Beck, the group’s attorney.

“Facebook’s ownership of this democratic forum carries great responsibility. At the very least, Facebook should provide warning and a reasoned explanation before destroying a large and active community.”

He suggested that the page had been removed on the grounds that it could cause confusion.

“Nobody could be confused into believing that a page named “Boycott BP” is run by BP itself. People have a right to criticize a company by name, and BP has no right to stop it,” he says.