Has Facebook censored the pages of the railway unions?

Contacted, the social network claims that the restrictions on union publications are the result of a computer error.

“We would like to know what we did wrong, because we are not far from becoming paranos!” Asked by Franceinfo Wednesday, October 23, Fabien Villedieu, delegate SUD Rail, has a sarcastic laugh when discussing the matter that concerns him: publication restrictions affecting three Facebook pages of his union since the start of unannounced work stoppages at the SNCF, on October 18th. A problem that also concerns a page of the CGT Cheminots, as indicated The Parisian, who devoted an article to the subject on Tuesday.

“Sanctions have kept pace with the conflict”remembers Karim, a two-page director of SUD Rail. “On Thursday evening, we began to inform our subscribers that some railway workers would use their right of withdrawal after the accident in the Ardennes.The next day, we relayed the press articles on the movement, our union leaflets … And as soon as we we started to dispute the fact that it was not a strike without notice but the use of our right of withdrawal, we received the first notifications “says the railwayman.

As shown in a screenshot published by The Parisian, Facebook explicitly stated that the union's publications were not “not shared” in the news feed of its members. In short: the only way to follow the news of SUD Rail and the CGT Cheminots was to go manually to their Facebook page. “For the SUD Rail Paris-Nord page, it was even worse”adds Karim. “As soon as we relayed the mail from the Labor Inspectorate who validated the right of withdrawal of railwaymen, the page has been completely blocked “he says.

The administrator of the Facebook pages of the union deplores the silence of the social network. “We immediately appealed this decision, but no explanation was provided to us.It was even more incomprehensible that we are really attentive to the respect of the law in our publications and the comments left on our pages”adds Karim.

At first, you believe in a bug, you are trying to understand. Then you call the colleagues and you realize that your union is not the only one concerned. I want to believe in coincidences, but still!Karim, administrator of the Facebook pages of SUD Railat franceinfo

Contacted by franceinfo, Facebook recognizes an error, and explains that these restrictions were applied automatically after a failure of its systems, which would have considered the publications of the unions as contrary to its regulation. The social network ensures that all the sanctions have been lifted, which the CGT Cheminots confirm on the relevant page. “For the Paris-Nord page, it's fixed, but we have again received a restriction message on the main SUD Rail page”tempers Karim, who attributes this return to normal to the media coverage of the case.

The social network also claims to treat the union pages in the same way as the others, “regardless of their political orientation or the ideas they convey”. An explanation that leaves Fabien Villedieu doubtful. “For seven years now that our pages exist, this is the first time such a thing has happened”sighs the shop steward. “It would not be us to repeat the same blow on December 5, for the day of strike against the pension reform!”


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