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Alberta premier accuses Facebook of censorship over temporary site restriction

Meta, which owns Facebook, says Smith was never blocked from posting
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks to delegates at the Global Energy Show in Calgary, Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is selling her rail car restaurant in the southern part of the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says she’s free to post on Facebook again, a day after she publicly accused the social media giant of censoring her.

However, Meta, which owns Facebook, says Smith was never blocked from posting and access to her site was temporarily limited for reasons of security, not censorship.

“Happy to report, my page is able to post on Facebook again,” Smith told her Twitter followers on Thursday (June 15).

“I hope this is the last time it happens.”

A day earlier, Smith announced on Twitter that she had been blocked from posting and attributed it without evidence to censorship.

“Big tech and government censorship is becoming a danger to free speech around the world,” Smith tweeted on Wednesday.

“My Facebook account has been banned from posting content for a ‘few days.’

“As the premier of a province of 4.6 million Albertans — if they can prevent me from communicating with you, imagine what they can do to any one of us. Regardless of our political leanings, we must all stand against censorship.”

On Thursday, Meta spokesman David Troya-Alvarez disputed Smith’s assertions.

“There were no restrictions placed on the premier’s (Facebook) page. One of the page’s administrators faced restrictions, but that did not impact the underlying page’s ability to post content,” said Troya-Alvarez.

Troya-Alvarez did not respond to questions about why the account was suspended, but Smith posted the Facebook message sent to her on Wednesday that stated it was done “for security reasons.”

The Meta site also states it will remove content deemed to be misinformation that risks causing violence or physical harm to people or threatens to help undermine the functioning of government or public processes.

Smith’s office declined to answer questions over why it believes Smith was being blocked due to censorship issues rather than security concerns or what evidence her office relied on in coming to that judgment.

— with files from Ritika Dubey

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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