Shell to Sea, the campaign group opposed to the construction of the controversial Corrib gas pipeline in the west of Ireland, has reacted with dismay after its Facebook account was suspended yesterday.
The group said its Facebook page, which is used to inform supporters of events and to post press releases about its campaign, was disabled around lunchtime.
It said no information on why this had occurred was offered other than a message saying that the organisation had breached Facebook’s terms and conditions.
Attempts by the group to contact the social networking website to find out why the account had been disabled were unsuccessful, the group said.
"Alternative forms of media like Facebook, YouTube, and Indymedia are very important for keeping people informed what is happening regarding Shell's attempt to foist a production pipeline and refinery on the people of Co Mayo,” said Shell to Sea spokesman Terence Conway.
“Important aspects of the issue, such as the Government's giveaway terms for Ireland's natural resources, are often left out of reports in newspapers, radio and television; and in reporting the campaign, the mainstream media are often less than impartial. Using internet sites such as Facebook has allowed people to hear our side of the story,” he added.
A spokeswoman for Facebook told The Irish Times that the company was investigating the disabling of the organisation’s page. She added that users can find their accounts suspended for a number of reasons including posting too many messages.
Facebook users do have the right to appeal in instances when their accounts are suspended.
Tánaiste and Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment Mary Coughlan yesterday announced that the popular social networking website is to establish its international headquarters in Dublin.
Established in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is one of the world's most popular social-networking websites, with an estimated 100 million people signed up to the site and membership growing by around 250,000 every day.
According to a recent report from the Irish Computer Society, the use of Facebook has more than doubled in Ireland during the last 12 months. An estimated 308,000 Irish people now use the website, up from 131,600 last October.