The popular sport/exercise program/physical therapist’s goldmine has exploded across the world over the past decade and its rise can be correlated with the emergence of centralized social media platforms like Facebook and image sharing services like Instagram.
Or in other words, bragging that you “hit Fran so hard you met Pukie the Clown” is much more efficient when you can force it on your co-workers or high school friends, and compensating for a lack of parental affection is greatly empowered when you can share semi-nude pictures to an audience of thirsty creepers itching to slide into your DMs.
But in a statement released on their website Thursday, the corporate organization behind CrossFit took action in response to Facebook disabling a popular CrossFit-associated group:
Recently, Facebook deleted without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan user group. The group has 1.65 million users who post testimonials and other information regarding the efficacy of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. While the site has subsequently been reinstated (also without warning or explanation), Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.
Facebook and its properties host and oversee a significant share of the marketplace of public thought. To millions of individuals and communities across the world, Facebook and its properties remain the platforms where ideas and information are exchanged. Facebook thus serves as a de facto authority over the public square, arbitrating a worldwide exchange of information as well as overseeing the security of the individuals and communities who entrust their ideas, work, and private data to this platform. This mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process.
It’s worth noting CF is explicitly taking a principled stance on this; the group in question wasn’t directly affiliated with their brand. What’s also notable is that this may be the first instance in which a (reasonably) major brand essentially de-platformed itself. De-platforming is a contentious issue these days, with the line between freedom of speech and private ownership particularly murky when it comes to arguably monopolistic services like Facebook and Twitter; so large that denying service in the form of suspensions, bans, or account deletion, can be easily perceived as a form of censorship.
It remains to be seen whether this move will result in meaningful change with regards to censorship, or blow up in the face of the sport and its participants. Or maybe it’ll just reduce the number of avoidable injuries.