HOME > SOCIETY > CRIME > Facebook restores world’s biggest page for Atheists after outcry

Facebook restores world’s biggest page for Atheists after outcry

Facebook has restored ‘Atheist Republic’, by far the biggest page operated by the Atheist community on any social media network, after it was shut down using ‘mass reporting’ by religious people.

The move followed a big outcry among atheists and free-speech advocates online.

The page was taken down about 24 hours ago, and remained inaccessible to the general public for much of that time period.

However, the associated Facebook group by the same name was functional and accessible.

The Atheist Republic page was being used by over 1.6 mln Atheists to communicate, and is only one of the several such minority-oriented pages that have been targeted by religious believers via ‘mass reporting’.

Under Facebook’s ‘community guidelines’, if enough people flag a page as being harmful or promoting violence or containing illegal content, the page is automatically hidden without any manual intervention.

There are several groups on Facebook whose sole purpose is to shut down the personal accounts, groups and pages of those who are critical of major established religions (see picture below).

Once a page is restricted, the moderators and administrators have the option of submitting the decision for a manual review, and several pages have been resuscitated as a result of the appeals process.

The Atheist Republic page was reportedly started by Armin Navabi, who is of Iranian origin, and was being managed by a group of moderators including Allie Jackson.

“I’m simply in tears,” Jackson said. “Every single day, we have helped numerous atheists.. now, without proper reason, without care, they remove us.. they have cut off our reach to the community we’ve spent years growing.”

She said that for over 6 years, Atheist Republic administrators have had their personal Facebook accounts banned and their posts removed “because people have harassed us over content they didn’t like.

She said Facebook knows that the platform’s algorithms are abused by people and organized groups.

But “they blame us for not following terms of service, or community standards, while the people harassing us get rewarded for organizing complaints over content they disagreed with.”

In addition to pages, groups too can be shut down by mass reporting.

However, since membership in groups can be controlled by the administrators unlike in case of page — which is visible to everyone on the Internet — reporting a group in a co-ordinated attack is more difficult.

Believers in God have, however, successfully targeted groups too, such as the Freethinkers Group of India, which was taken down six times.

Many religious people find the idea of people not believing in their religion abhorrent, especially since the non-believers often create posters and articles that question their beliefs.

“The page that has oppressed me for four hideous months is no more,” claimed a user in another group. 

“Atheist Republic has been removed from Facebook.. I’ve gotten (sic) justice for being emotionally violated by that evil page,” he added.

On the other side, many fans of the page are equally distraught at the ‘taking down’ of the page as well.

“Religious fanatics are organizing together and mass reporting secular pages, taking advantage of Facebook’s reporting algorithm to shut freethinkers down,” complained Ali Rizvi, a Canada-based doctor of Pakistani origin.

Paradoxically, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was earlier listed as an atheist himself, though he recently said he was no longer ‘anti-religion’ as he used to be.

Follow ULTRA.news
Radio Jockey steps down after supporting Muslim girls for dancing Radio Jockey Sooraj of 98.6 FM, a Malayalam Radio station in Qatar, has announced that he is stepping down from his role at the station following a social media outcry over his comments supporting three Muslim girls who danced publicly at an AIDS awareness function in Kerala....
Supreme Court refuses to stay Padmavati The Supreme Court again refused to stop the movie Padmavati, urging the Central Board of Film Certification to do its job.It rejected a public interest litigation today filed by a Delhi-based lawyer."We are not going to prejudge the issue," said the court today.It poi...
Subramanian Swamy lashes out against threats to Deepika Padukone, Sanjay Leela Bhansali BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has come out strongly against right wing activists making violent threats against artists involved with the film Padmavati, saying that he could approach the courts if such threats continue."In a democracy, everyone has the right to protest, but ...
Good Hindu women didn’t dance – Hindu Janajagruti Samiti on Padmavati Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, an online organization that aims to bring back ancient Hindu rules in India, said it "won't tolerate" mistakes in films, referring to errors in the film Padmavati. It did not specify what action it plans to take.Joining the protests by Rajput organi...
JNU students fined for cooking biryani in office after ABVP campaign The administration of the Jawaharlal Nehru University has fined its students Rs 6,000 for cooking and eating biryani in the administrative block during an overnight protest in June.The move, however, has taken a political turn as the action follows a campaign by the Akhil Bh...
Kerala Love Jihad: Ashokan says he’s not anti-Muslim Akhila and Ashokan (right)Ashokan Mani, who has accused the Popular Front of India of trying to kidnap his daughter into Syria, today said he had no problems with his daughter converting to Islam or marrying a Muslim.Ashokan, who has been asked by the Supreme Court to pr...
Love Jihad Case: Supreme Court wants Fadiya to speak The Supreme Court today asked the government to produce Fadiya, previously known as Akhila Ashokan, before Nov 27 in the controversial 'Love Jihad' case from Kerala.In the petition filed by Fadiya's ex-husband Shafeen Jahan, the court came to the conclusion that it would nee...
UP Madrasas to teach NCERT Science, Maths textbooks Madrasas in Uttar Pradesh state of India will soon start teaching from science and maths textbooks printed by the NCERT, deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma said today."Madrasas will teach using NCERT text books. The board has started preparations," Sharma said today.Sci...
No decision on Sabarimala Temple Entry for women, referred to constitution bench Gender activists and others waiting for today's Supreme Court judgment on the entry of women into Kerala's Sabarimala temple were slightly disappointed today after the court refused to rule one way or the other, instead referring the matter to a constitutional bench.The benc...
Sex with wife below 18 years will now be rape – SC Police stop a child marriage in Purba Medinipur, West BengalThe Indian supreme court has held that sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 18 years will automatically qualify as rape, even if the woman is the wife of the accused.At present, it is considered rape ...
High Court upholds Godhra train conviction, reduces sentence The Gujarat High Court has upheld the conviction of a special court that found 31 people to be involved in a conspiracy to commit the arson attack on the train.However, eleven death sentences were commuted to the life terms. The victims or the kins have been ordered to be co...
KERALA LOVE JIHAD: Supreme Court asks why Fadiya can’t make her own decisions The Kerala 'Love Jihad' case saw a twist today with the Supreme Court making pointed observations while hearing the appeal against a decision by the Kerala High Court to annul the marriage of a Hindu girl who converted to Islam.The court observed that it will examine the que...
Twitter doubles ‘word limit’ to 280 characters After years of debate, micro-blogging website Twitter is testing a higher word limit for some of its users, including some in India.Users, particularly active ones with large following, have been pleasantly surprised to see the limit of 140 characters relaxed as of today mor...
CPIM activists attacked for arranging Hindu-Muslim marriage in Kerala Injured CPIM worker DileeshTensions are on the rise between the ruling CPI-M and the Social Democratic Party of India in Ambalapuzha in Kerala after Left activists were attacked, allegedly for arranging the wedding of a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl.The SDPI is second only...
Eight dead in Haryana after Ram Rahim convicted of Rape Supporters of religious leaders Ram Rahim have gone on rampage in Panchkula in Haryana after a court there convicted him of rape.At least eight people have been confirmed dead in Panchkula and over a hundred injured.According to various media outlets, the supporters have ...
Riots in Haryana after Ram Rahim convicted, 3 dead Supporters of religious leaders Ram Rahim have gone on rampage in Panchkula in Haryana after a court there convicted him of rape.At least three supporters of the guru have been shot dead by the police so far.UPDATE - The number of dead has reached eight and injuries are i...
Islamic missionaries arrested for ‘creating tension’ between groups A group of 39 Islamic missionaries have been arrested for door-to-door distribution of religious pamphlets that said, among other things, that people who worship multiple Gods will burn in hell.The volunteers of 'Mujahid Wisdom Global Islamic Mission', who were distributing t...
Liquor shops in Kerala start installing token system Kerala's snaking long queues in front of its liquor shops -- the state's only source of alcohol after bars were banned in 2014 -- are almost as famous as the backwaters and beaches, but some relief may be on the horizon for hapless liquor buyers.As there are only about 340 li...
Republic TV’s 5-star Facebook ratings disappear mysteriously Tens of thousands of five-star ratings given to Arnab Goswami's Republic TV mysteriously disappeared over night, pushing the rating on the channel's official page to a low of 2.1 stars out of 5.0.It is not clear why the ratings were removed.Over the last three days, the c...
Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV gets derated by Malayalis Republic TV, the channel launched by Arnab Goswami -- the former editor of Times Now -- has come in for a barrage of criticism on social media after Malayalis took offence to what has been portrayed as repeated attempts by the channel to tarnish the reputation of the state.Th...