One quick post before I go to London for the weekend.
Today’s Daily Mail carries the story “More than 2.5m Muslims threaten to leave Facebook after four Islamic pages are taken down“. Really? 2.5 million Facebook users all co-ordinated as one? Bearing in mind how long it took for the Guinness World Record group to reach 1,000,000 users, 2.5 million users all coming together in a few days to demand anything seems a bit unlikely.
So have 2.5 million Muslims demanded anything? Well, no. Four pages were closed for spamming. Then someone – presumably an admin of one of the groups – sent another spam message across Facebook claiming to represent 2.5 million Muslims, all of whom were so incensed by the deletion that have threatened to move to Medina.com (a fundamentist Muslim social networking site). Quite where this figure comes from isn’t clear in the Daily Mail report. There aren’t 2.5 million Muslims threatening to leave Facebook, there is one. Fox News claims that this is the sum of the number of fans the pages had… except that that’s just as big a lie. For instance, they take at face value the claim the deleted page http://www.facebook.com/Rassoul.Allaah (now deleted, obviously) had 1.6 million fans, making up the bulk of this 2.5 million. In fact a quick peek into Google’s cache shows it had 6 fans. Glad to see hard-hitting investigative journalism isn’t dead.
So the net result of all this is that an obscure social networking site got some free advertising, Facebook got a chance to act tough (this story comes the day after they announced the Paedophile Panic Button, after all), and the Daily Mail and Fox News get yet another chance to portray social networks as an ill thought out flash in the pan, and all Muslims as an unthinking hivemind who complain whenever they don’t get their way (the right wing press’s favourite representation of any oppressed minority). Good job.