UPDATE: 3.00 pm Monday 4th February
Thanks to a friend who passed our case on to a friend of his who works for Facebook, I have now discovered that we were hacked. A politically motivated hack without a doubt, and as other pro-Leave groups are experiencing difficulties, the hacking may be far and wide.
From Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns.
I ask the question because Facebook closed down the page for Leavers of Britain recently. Lucy Harris, the founder of Leavers of Britain, told me that she submitted a request for a review but then they locked it down permanently. She then kicked up a fuss and got it back. She shouldn't have had to kick up a fuss, but if you have ever tried to contact Facebook you will know how unresponsive it is.
Just over a week ago, I got a message via Facebook that a video of a speech by Julia Lopez MP I had posted on Better Off Out's (BOO) Facebook page had broken its rules. It asked me to contact them. I thought that was strange because although all footage on parliamentlive.tv is protected by parliamentary copyright, you are permitted to use the material as long as you abide by the terms and conditions. I had. And the content of Julia Lopez's speech hadn't broken any rules, either.
When I used the link provided to contact Facebook, the antivirus protection software on my computer told me it wasn't safe to proceed. "It's a scam", I thought, and didn't proceed. On Wednesday this week I discovered that my personal Facebook account had been disabled. I also found out that both The Freedom Association's (TFA) and BOO's Facebook pages were unavailable. I can only assume the reason all three are out of action is because I shared the video posted on BOO's page on TFA's page and my own personal page. To be honest, I can't remember as it was a few weeks ago, but it is likely that I shared the post in that way.
I contacted Facebook's help centre on Wednesday evening by putting my name on an online form and sending Facebook a scanned copy of my driving licence to confirm my identity. I heard nothing back from them. I did the same yesterday, and once again a reply has not been forthcoming.
I then found out from Lucy Harris that you can't speak to a human. Facebook doesn't want to communicate with you or let you fight your case. It just ignores you. Facebook's help centre is about as unhelpful as it gets.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. Never have been. Never will be. But it does seem strange that Facebook has shut down the pages of two Leave supporting groups of late. It may be a coincidence. It may be a cock up on behalf of Facebook, but as they have not replied to my attempts to get my account restored and the pages for TFA and BOO back online, I feel that all I can do is publicise what has happened in the hope that Facebook will respond.