CrossFit, the branded workout regimen, deleted its Facebook and Instagram pages earlier this week and explained the reasoning through an impassioned press release. The announcement lists various reasons for the indefinite suspension of its accounts, including accusations that Facebook’s News Feeds are “censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists.”
The issue stemmed from the deletion of a South Africa-based Facebook group, Banting 7 Day Meal Plans, which the company says happened without warning or explanation. The group, which is unrelated to CrossFit but has 1.6 million members espousing the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet like CrossFit’s recommended nutritional regimen, has since been reinstated. But the damage was done, and the deletion was the final straw in addition to CrossFit’s wariness over how Facebook handles user data.
The company describes itself as a contrarian group that “stands steadfastly and often alone against an unholy alliance of academia, government, and multinational food, beverage, and pharmaceutical companies.” It appears that CrossFit regularly finds itself up against the world, as this latest announcement was categorized in a section of the website labeled “Battles.” Its position as a dissenting voice in the fitness industry is why CrossFit believes that it could be a target: “Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.”
CEO Greg Glassman told the Morning Chalk Up, a CrossFit blog, that Facebook “doesn’t comport with my community standards for privacy and decency, so we’re out.” His list of grievances with the social networking site is extensive, but are generally fair criticisms. Below is the list of “publicly sourced complaints” in full, which he believes may jeopardize the security of the CrossFit community:
1. Facebook collects and aggregates user information and shares it with state and federal authorities, as well as security organizations from other countries.
2. Facebook collaborates with government security agencies on massive citizen surveillance programs such as PRISM.
3. Facebook censors and removes user accounts based on unknown criteria and at the request of third parties including government and foreign government agencies.
4. Facebook collects, aggregates, and sells user information as a matter of business. Its business model allows governments and businesses alike to use its algorithmically conjured advertising categories as sophisticated data-mining and surveillance tools.
5. Facebook’s news feeds are censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists while remaining vulnerable to misinformation campaigns designed to stir up violence and prejudice.
6. Facebook, as a matter of business and principle, has weak intellectual property protections and is slow to close down IP theft accounts.
7. Facebook has poor security protocols and has been subject to the largest security breaches of user data in history.
8. Facebook is acting in the service of food and beverage industry interests by deleting the accounts of communities that have identified the corrupted nutritional science responsible for unchecked global chronic disease. In this, it follows the practices of Wikipedia and other private platforms that host public content but retain the ability to remove or silence—without the opportunity for real debate or appeal—information and perspectives outside a narrow scope of belief or thought. In this case, the approved perspective has resulted in the deaths of millions through preventable diseases. Facebook is thus complicit in the global chronic disease crisis.