Facebook has been under fire lately for shutting down “exercise groups” on the social media site. The group in question, called “No Meat Athlete”, was a popular low-carb Facebook group that had over 250,000 members. The group was shut down on March 30, after it posted a link to “How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off” by Annette Marie, a dietitian and the author of “The No Meat Athlete Handbook”
The Wednesday evening after the New Year’s holiday, I received a message from Facebook informing me that I had been banned from the non-profit Facebook group, The CarbSane Solution . (I’m not a member of the group, nor has the group ever had access to my Facebook account.) Facebook cited criminal activity in the group, but I digress.
Despite Facebook’s significant presence on the Internet, the site has been criticized for its role in promoting obesity. In the past few years, a number of Facebook groups dedicated to fatties have appeared, each one purporting to provide a support network for those who have been shamed for their weight.
When Facebook abruptly shut down a large South African low-carb support group with 1.65 million members, accusations of censorship, malicious assaults, and even conspiracy theories against low-carb diets flooded social media channels and low-carb networks.
Bunting’s 7-day meal plan group on Facebook has been closed.
Following a widespread uproar, Facebook reinstated the site within 48 hours.
Rita Venter, a low-carbohydrate diet advocate from Cape Town, established the main diet advocacy organization Banting 7-Day Meal Plans a few years ago. Venter writes on his Twitter profile, “I established this group to discuss what has helped me lose weight and get healthier.”
Bunting refers to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) or ketogenic diet in South Africa. The community offered recipes, low-carb information, support, and motivational pictures of low-carb dieters’ before and after success stories.
Were these success tales too good to be true for Facebook? Is it true that an anonymous panel of scientific experts determined that the organization was spreading false information?
Nobody is aware. We just know that Facebook will go live on the 14th. May delist the group’s platform abruptly and without notice or explanation. He vanished from the scene, leaving his 1.65 million followers perplexed and perplexed as to why this occurred.
Venter said in a tweet that her Banting 7-Day Meal Plan group had been the victim of a deliberate shut-down campaign: We’ve been contacted a thousand times in the past two weeks, with messages claiming that we provide medical advice. We don’t and haven’t done so in the past…. Who is it that is attempting to suppress the LCHF?
On Twitter, a fury has erupted. Thousands of individuals have spoken out against the arbitrary censoring, while others have defended Facebook’s policy of suppressing ostensibly nonscientific material.
According to Kevin Bass, a well-known Twitter commenter, Facebook took the correct choice by stating that the organization promotes anti-vaccination material as well as low-carb diets.
Venter replied to Bass on Twitter, saying, “We are not anti-vaccine.” I have four adult children who have all had their vaccinations. We are a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (LCHF) support group. I’m not sure where you got your data from. It’s not right.
On Facebook, a new support group for Bunting was created almost quickly, but hundreds of supporters also came out against the unfair deletion. On the 16th, at 17:30 GMT. Facebook, on the other hand, has reinstated the old group. Great news, after all the pressure and your amazing support, Facebook has restored our group!!!! restored, said Venter on Twitter. I can’t express my gratitude enough for all you’ve done.
What is, nevertheless, the most essential story? Is this a sign that low-carb diets may be subjected to fact-checking by mainstream experts who will pronounce judgment on the diet’s scientific validity?
In recent years, Facebook has been under fire from a variety of quarters, including the United States Congress, for its extensive propagation of fake news. Facebook’s community standards now include a strategy to fight the spread of fake news, which includes limiting the dissemination of material that has been shown to be incorrect by independent fact checkers.
But who are these fact-checkers who decide what is and isn’t true?
Last month, Facebook established a collaboration with Science Feedback, a self-described unbiased group, to become an independent third-party reviewer of Facebook material. According to the business, it reviews and analyzes Facebook postings for scientific veracity using a network of specialists.
Who are the authorities? According to the organization,
Each of the reviewers in our study has a PhD and has recently published papers in prestigious scientific publications.
Science Feedback collaborates with Facebook to fight disinformation, according to a report
Science Feedback explains what it will do to ensure that Facebook remains factual:
We ask expert specialists to evaluate the key claims of the post, picture, video, or article and publish a review of the piece when we discover viral stories that claim to be based on science – presently in the fields of climate and health. We also have the option of reporting information [on Facebook] that we think is incorrect or misleading.
This procedure, which is being carried out by unnamed specialists, should worry us all.
Don’t get us wrong: we support a low-carbohydrate diet based on science. This is critical to our mission. For all of our leaders, we have an evidence-based policy. We are aware that although the internet provides a wealth of free information, most of it is dubious. Websites often attempt to sell a product or medication to those who support them, or advocate a program to those who fund them. Claims, on the other hand, must be founded on solid scientific data, which is exactly what we are aiming for.
Many public health authorities, on the other hand, have failed to embrace the mounting evidence of a low-carb diet’s health advantages. The prospect of scientists being able to shut Facebook groups is frightening. That is not how good science works; it is subject to questioning, discussion, and debate.
Thankfully, Facebook immediately fixed the problem. However, we must be alert and watch for indications of such alarming behavior in the future.
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