Surprising word Facebook banned
FACEBOOK has been accused of censorship after it banned the word Brexit from being used to promote a comedy show.
The social media giant has been trying to be seen as proactive in weeding out political messages being used on its platform after a backlash from several governments and Facebook users over Russian interference - especially during the 2016 US presidential election.
But the censorship accusation has come after English comedian Matt Forde was told the name of his new show 'Brexit Through The Gift Shop' couldn't be used to promote the show which he will be taking around the UK this year.
Forde told The Sun: "There's no way around this other than not using the word Brexit" because the word breached Facebook rules about political issues "of national importance".
The furious comedian said he couldn't believe the company allowed firms to use the private information of millions of users, yet barred him from advertising his show.
"I'm flattered that they think I'm a greater threat to their users than the collapse of global democracy...I've never been censored before, and I've worked for the BBC. I never thought that in 2019 I'd have my freedom of speech restricted".
Facebook denied it had banned ads using the word Brexit, but conceded users would have to register before they could possibly be authorised to use the word.
"Anyone who wishes to run political ads can do so if they complete the authorisation process, and we welcome Matt to try this himself at facebook.com/id.
"We introduced this requirement to bring more transparency to political ads on the platform, which goes further than anywhere else that allows political advertising in the UK," a Facebook statement said.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is spending today in Northern Ireland trying to drum up support for her withdrawal plan from the European Union. Mrs May plans to speak to business leaders and will also meet with Democratic Unionist Party chief Arlene Foster.
Mrs May relies on the support of the DUP to govern as her Conservative Party doesn't have a majority in the House of Commons.
The prime minister hopes to win political support for a solution to the question of how Britain can leave the European Union next month without the need for a hard border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
A backstop agreement set out in the withdrawal plan is unacceptable to many British MPs who see it as unworkable. The reason is the backstop - in its current form - keeps Northern Ireland in the EU single market for goods, and the whole of the UK forms a "single customs territory" therefore eliminating the need for border checks and controls.
But by doing so, it treats Northern Ireland differently than the rest of the UK, something the DUP can't accept, while pro-Brexit MPs, fear being trapped in the new customs territory for years without being able to leave or strike new trade deals of their own.
The issue threatens to torpedo hopes of an orderly Brexit on March 29.
Mrs May is seeking substantial changes to the plan she agreed with the EU. There was a glimmer of hope today she may be able to achieve that when a senior EU official said the EU could offer a legal guarantee the UK wouldn't be trapped in the backstop.
MPs on a Brexit select committee were told the official, Martin Selmayr, offered a legally binding assurance. That would allow Mrs May to say she had secured a major concession from the EU to her plan that was heavily defeated in parliament last month.
But it is still far from certain if the plan would get through parliament after pro-Brexit MPs on the committee still refused to say if the concession would be enough for them to actually vote for the plan.
Mrs May has set a deadline of February 14 for parliament to vote on her new plan, or be able to vote on what steps to take next if one hasn't been reached or it is again rejected.