A Facebook Page and group which were called “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” have been pulled from Facebook following protests, and the eventual banning of Facebook in Pakistan. In turn, a number of Facebook users decided to join new versions of the groups
, but I’d expect those to be pulled eventually as well. Administrators of the new groups are claiming “Free Speech”, however the Pakistani government doesn’t seem to view things in such a positive light.
Numerous controversies have sprouted up over the years over drawings of Mohammed, including a Danish cartoonist who sparked backlash in multiple Arab countries after drawing multiple cartoons of Mohammed for a book cover. The debate over whether or not images of Mohammed should be drawn have raged on for years, but when Pakistan banned Facebook due to groups which posted such pictures, the debate was reignited. One group, succeeded at attracting over 100,000 members and more than 11,000 photos of Mohammed.
While Facebook obviously hopes Pakistan will restore access to the site, it’s difficult for the company to constantly monitor groups which post Mohammed cartoons. Facebook most definitely has a team to filter through any offensive photos, however images depicting Mohammed have never been on the ban list. It will be interesting to see if Facebook decides to ban remaining groups and pages (like this one and this one).
For now it appears as though Facebook would prefer to block the groups for the purpose of cultural sensitivity rather than engage in a free speech debate. Do you think Facebook should have pulled such Pages and groups? One interesting note is that Facebook has yet to pull the large Facebook Page which calls for the death of Obama.
Facebook has reached out to us to let us know that they did not removed the group. While we’re not sure why it disappeared, we’d assume the creator of the group decided to pull it. We’ll update when we hear more information.