As of Monday evening, a Facebook group called “The Idiocy of Donald Trump’s America” has abruptly disappeared with no explanation why. At the time the group disappeared, membership totaled over 74k people.
Group administrators, Evan Obrentz and Matt Mountain, were as shocked and bewildered as the members. Neither received any warnings from Facebook about the group in the past. They also haven’t received any word from Facebook as to why the group has disappeared.
After the group disappeared, administrators say that they tried sharing the group’s hyperlink to each other via Messenger, and Facebook gave them a warning saying: “This content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe: whitespeach(dot)com. Please remove this link to continue.”
Here’s a screenshot of the warning below:
Whitespeach is a white nationalist “news” site which focuses on conservative fake news.
It remains unclear at this time as to whether any links to the Whitespeach site were in the Idiocy of Donald Trump’s America group. It’s possible that a group member shared a link to the group as a discussion starter. It’s also possible that someone shared a link to the group in order to report it and have it deleted. Some members have speculated that the latter could have been done by Trump supporters or even Russia.
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The group administrators say they don’t believe that Facebook did this purposefully in an attempt to silence them. They believe it’s either a glitch or a hack. Both admins believe the group will likely be restored when the error is discovered, but it’s difficult to get in contact with Facebook’s staff.
Administrator Evan Obrentz says “It’s a shame that this happened. We have a great admin team that works hard to remove fake news links and other problems that plague groups. We have a lot of members who spent a lot of time in the group and now feel lost without it. We’re hoping we make contact with someone at Facebook who can get this straightened out or at least explain to us why our group is gone.”
Administrators promptly reported the situation to Facebook staff but have yet to receive a response.