On Monday, January 27, 2014, David Tuller published, on Buzzfeed, a well-researched and factual article—”How “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” Obscures A Serious Illness“—on ME/CFS and the government’s efforts to redefine the disease. As of right now, 78,331 people have viewed the article. Also, almost 8,000 people “liked” the article directly from the Buzzfeed site by using the Facebook like button.
Some time last night or this morning, the Facebook share button for this article was disabled by Facebook and Facebook blocked any direct sharing of the piece from the Buzzfeed site. The error message I (and others) received from Facebook when I tried to share the article to confirm the reports of the blocking said, “Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.”
Facebook also deleted all postings of this article shared directly from the Buzzfeed website, which means that the many Facebook conversations about the piece are lost as well.
Everybody who will read the article will agree that is has no content that even comes close to being abusive. It is an entirely professional piece written by an acclaimed journalist, David Tuller, who has been writing for the New York Times and other reputable publications.
I am putting this out there because I am completely flabbergasted by how anybody could have found this article abusive and would have felt the need to shut it down. This is a slap in the face of the patient community and, frankly, it’s unacceptable to abuse Facebook policies in that manner.
Copying and pasting of the article’s URL on Facebook is still possible, but it is important to note that Buzzfeed pays close attention to the number of Facebook shares from its site (as opposed to copying and pasting of the URL, which Buzzfeed has no way of keeping track of) in its determination of whether to feature an article more prominently and also of whether to cover an issue again in the future, something that ME/CFS needs desperately. So, whoever is responsible for getting the article in essence censored by Facebook has done a tremendous disservice to the patient community. It makes one wonder about the person’s or persons’ agenda.