Home Industry Strategy Facebook shuts down pro-R18+ game rating group

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Social networking giant Facebook appears to have shut down the group on the site belonging to Grow Up Australia, a lobby organisation campaigning for a R18+ classification scheme to be implemented for video games in Australia.


Social networking giant Facebook appears to have shut down the group on the site belonging to Grow Up Australia, a lobby organisation campaigning for a R18+ classification scheme to be implemented for video games in Australia.

On its own web site today, Grow Up Australia claimed Facebook had taken the group down because it violated Facebook’s terms of use. The organisation posted a picture on its site of Facebook’s notification (above).

“While an R18+ [rating] for computer games may be considered a controversial issue, we don’t believe that any of the content provided by the administrators of the group in question could be deemed to violate the terms of use,” said Grow Up Australia in a statement. “Very rarely, an inappropriate comment would be posted by one of the members, however the administrators have always been viglant in moderating the group and removing the inappropriate posts.”

Facebook’s Australian public relations agency declined to comment on the issue when contacted this afternoon.

Grow Up Australia said it agreed that Facebook needed to actively remove groups that violated the terms of use, however it felt the social networking giant had incorrectly judged the Grow Up Australia Group. “Currently, we are attempting to contact Facebook in regards to the issue, in hope to restore the group to its previous state,” it said.

GameSpot Australia, which appeared to have first reported this story, noted that the removed Facebook group had contained more than 10,000 members (update: Grow Up Australia this afternoon said it actually had almost 37,000). Grow Up Australia has created a new Facebook group — but it only has 232 members at the time of publication.

The news comes as Facebook has come under increasing pressure from a number of parties in Australia to clean up its act. Ironically, most of the pressure so far has been aimed at encouraging the social networking giant to remove posts from its site that some have considered offensive.

For example, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh wrote to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in late February, appealing for help in blocking offensive material from being posted on memorial sites for Queensland girl Trinity Bates.

Shortly after, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would investigate an idea being promoted by Sunrise and independent senator Nick Xenophon to setup an online ombudsman to deal with such complaints. He said it was obvious which material went too far, and rejected any criticism that it was draconian to address offensive online material.

Image credit: Grow Up Australia

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