NI: Dissident republican party launches legal action against Facebook

NI: Dissident republican party launches legal action against Facebook

Darragh Mackin

A dissident republican political party has launched legal action against social media giant Facebook over allegations of “censorship”.

Saoradh, which was set up in 2016 with the support of prominent republican critics of the Northern Ireland peace process, claims that its members “have been banned for simply sharing the Saoradh party emblem”, while others “have been banned or have had pages removed for live-streaming from public events”.

In a blog post, the party said: “It seems clear that Facebook is targeting all material relating to Saoradh and to Irish republicanism in general.”

Solicitor Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law told the Belfast Telegraph that Facebook was setting a “very dangerous precedent” by determining what political messages were acceptable.

He added: “Therefore, our clients have no alternative but to seek injunctive relief to compel Facebook to uphold what is a very basic principle — the right to a political opinion and the right to expression.

“Our clients have grave concerns that there are third parties at play. Given the fact that the police and security service are known to monitor and intercept communications, I think it’s implausible to believe anyone other than the security service would have made representations to Facebook because no reasonable excuse has been given as to why our client’s page has been taken down.”

Facebook confirmed that it had received a letter of complaint from lawyers for Saoradh.

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