More than twenty Catholic pages were blocked by Facebook for unknown reasons in and around July 17, 18. Photo/Pexels

Facebook restores blocked Catholic pages, citing malfunction

By  Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News
  • July 19, 2017

DENVER, Col. – Facebook has restored more than 20 Catholic pages in Portuguese and English that were blocked yesterday, citing a malfunction in the system.

In a statement to ACI Prensa, a Facebook spokesperson said, "The pages were reestablished. The incident was a malfunction of the spam detection mechanism in our platform. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Between the night of July 17 and the morning of July 18, Facebook unpublished at least 25 pages - 21 in Portuguese and four in English - without giving an explanation to page administrators.

The blocked Catholic pages each had between hundreds of thousands and 6 million followers.

Hours after CNA and other media published a story about the blocked pages, around 1 a.m. in the morning July 19, all blocked pages had been returned to normal.

In statements collected by ChurchPop.com, Carlos René, administrator of the page "Papa Francisco Brazil," said that the page was available again "without notification. I just realized that it was already on the air."

So far, Facebook has not given any explanation of the blocking or restoration of the page. The owners and administrators of sites such as "Father Rocky," "Catholic and Proud," and "Jesus" and said they simply realized that their pages had returned after seeing their accounts were back online.

In 2016, Facebook came under fire for allegedly censoring trends to news deemed "conservative."

On that occasion, Mark Zuckerberg rejected the allegations of censorship, and met with conservative U.S. leaders to assure them Facebook's neutrality.

In the past, user accounts have also been inadvertently blocked on Facebook due to system glitches, or numerous complaints against the page in a short time period. In these cases, Facebook restored the accounts after reviewing their content.

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