Spam Blocker Blamed For Taking Multiple Catholic-Themed Facebook Pages Offline

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Facebook is blaming a technical glitch for knocking several Catholic-focused Facebook pages with millions of followers offline for more than a day.

Catholic radio network Relevant Radio says on its website that its “Father Rocky” Facebook page went down on Monday and wasn’t restored until late Tuesday night.

In all, more than 20 prominent Catholic-themed pages in English and Portuguese were blocked without any initial explanation given to page administrators, according to Catholic News Agency.

Each of the blocked pages reportedly had anywhere between hundreds of thousands and 6 million followers.

The Father Rocky page was back on line as of Wednesday morning and said a “faulty spam detector temporarily took down” the page.

The shutdown prompted speculation among some page administrators that they were being intentionally censored.

This serves as a wake-up call and we urge all Relevant Radio listeners and Facebook followers to download the free Relevant Radio App as a secure and reliable resource for the daily Mass and inspirational programs,” said a statement from Relevant Radio, which owns Father Rocky.

A Facebook spokesperson apologized for the disruption Wednesday, telling The Associated Press in a statement that all pages have been restored. Facebook says the incident “was triggered accidentally by a spam detection tool.”

The social media giant came under fire last May after a report saying it suppressed conservative views.

In response, Facebook said it would no longer look to news outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Drudge Report to automatically nominate topics for its trending feature.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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