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Culture Beat / May 29, 2019

CrossFit Dumps Facebook After Deplatforming

The social-media giant’s attempt to regulate speech is only creating more problems than solutions.

The popular lifestyle and exercise company CrossFit permanently pulled its Facebook and Instagram accounts last week following the social-media giant’s deletion of a user group that posted testimonials and information about its low-carb, high-fat diet. In an official statement, CrossFit explained its reasoning: “Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.”

The statement further noted, “Facebook … serves as a de facto authority over the public square, arbitrating a worldwide exchange of information as well as overseeing the security of the individuals and communities who entrust their ideas, work, and private data to this platform. This mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process.”

CrossFit is by no means a politically conservative company, but the fact that its promotion of a unique dieting regimen that may have run counter to popular opinions got it flagged by Facebook’s censors serves to once again highlight the social-media giant’s issue with free speech.

Many conservatives have argued that Facebook is a private company and is therefore free to set its own rules governing its product. There is some truth to that. However, as our own Christy Chesterton observed years ago, it is we the users who built Facebook and it would not exist otherwise. In other words, while Mark Zuckerberg created the platform, it exists merely to provide a service to users, who are 100% responsible for creating content. After gaining a near monopoly of the social-media market, Zuckerberg now seeks to unilaterally change the rules as if the content on Facebook’s platform suddenly belongs to him. Facebook aims to control the very speech that allowed it to become the world’s largest social-media platform.

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