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Monday, Oct 02, 2023

Facebook won’t say why it took down then reinstated ‘Reopen California Schools,' group's founder says

Facebook won’t say why it took down then reinstated ‘Reopen California Schools,' group's founder says

Several other Facebook groups with similar political aims were also taken down

Facebook took down, then reinstated a page run by parents critical of school COVID policies but never explained its actions to the page’s administrators, Jonathan Zacherson, founder of "Reopen California Schools" told FOX Business.

Zacherson said his page, which has more than 19,000 members, was taken down Wednesday without warning. Several other Facebook groups with similar political aims were also taken down, he said. By Friday afternoon, "Reopen California Schools" had been reinstated.

The Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square.

"When I opened (the page) back up, I thought maybe there’d be a warning that there was one particular post that drove it. There wasn’t. There was nothing in there that said, ‘Hey, this particular post violated community standards and we took it down.’ There was none of that," Zacherson said. "So I have no idea what caused this or drove this."

Zacherson speculated that the takedown may have had something to do with the Justice Department’s new initiative to combat an alleged increase in violence and threats directed at school boards and other school officials. The policy came after parents attended meetings across the country to speak out against COVID-19 restrictions and the use of critical race theory in curricula.

Socially distanced kindergarten students wait for their parents to pick them up on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles.

The shutdown of the page also happened during a tumultuous week for Facebook, which saw a worldwide power outage and a former employee allege before Congress that the company knew its products were harmful for users, particularly teen girls.

"I really don’t know why this has happened," Zacherson said. "There was no indication on our warnings or alerts that there was any kind of policy or community standards that we were violating. So, I’m really kind of just in the dark here, just left (to) associate it with all the events that happened in Washington this week."

FOX Business has reached out to Facebook for comment but did not hear back before publication. The company told KOVR in a statement on Friday: "These groups were removed in error and have been restored."

Zacherson predicted that last week’s ordeal with Facebook may signal larger implications for the future of political activism and the reliance on the social media platform to organize.

"This drives into a larger picture of censorship and what is in store," Zacherson said. "What if (Facebook) started taking out key individuals and just blocking them? You know, it could totally change the paradigm of political action."


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