Facebook is facing questions after around 25 popular Catholic pages were apparently blocked before reappearing without explanation on Monday and Tuesday.
Of the pages reportedly affected, 21 are based in Brazil while four are English-language. Their owners say they received no prior warning, and only realised when they tried to access them.
One of the biggest pages, Papa Francisco Brasil, has nearly four million followers. Before it was restored, its owner, Carlos Renê, told ACI Digital: “The only notice from Facebook was a message at the top of the page saying ‘Your page has been unpublished’, giving an option to contest this, which I did.”
He said he was “mobilising lawyers and trying contacts within Facebook”.
Kenneth Alimba, who lives in Nigeria and administers the ‘Catholic and Proud’ Facebook page, which has more than six million followers, said it was “extremely heartbreaking” when the page was removed.
He told the website ChurchPOP: “I’ve worked on the page for over five years and have put in all I am into it.” He said the removal was “too horrible”.
Meanwhile, Godwin Delali Adadzie, a blogger based in Ghana who owns ‘Jesus and Mary’, a page with 1.7 million followers, was also a victim.
“The page happens to be the most effective means of driving traffic to my Catholic websites and blogs. I am also a blogger and a writer, and in writing, without readers which requires quality traffic, your writing or blogging will be useless,” he said.
All the affected pages have since been restored, but questions are being raised as to why all those affected appear to be Catholic in nature. There are so far no reports of non-Catholic pages being taken down and restored.
Facebook has so far not given any explanation.