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'Gut wrenching': Aussie Facebook page with 2.6m likes taken down

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When her Facebook page with more than 2.6 million likes and more than 2.6 million followers was banned without warning, Australian social media queen Jo was left wondering what she had done to incur the wrath of the Silicon Valley giant.

A stay-at-home mother of six children, Jo founded "F--- it: Let's have a beer" six years ago; building up an international following through posting irreverent and expletive-filled drinking-related memes. FILHAB has grown to become one of Australia's most popular humorous Facebook pages, offering an income for Jo through the sale of merchandise.

The Facebook page 'F--- it, lets have a beer' is one of Australia's most popular humour pages on the site.

All that changed at the end of June when Facebook unpublished the FILHAB page without warning. The only explanation offered was a notification in the Facebook smartphone app:

"Your page has been unpublished: It looks like recent activity on your Page doesn't follow Facebook Pages Terms. If you think your Page was unpublished in error, you can appeal and we'll take another look."

Jo spent several fruitless days chasing Facebook for details as to how FILHAB had broken the rules and what it would take to get the page restored.

"I poured my heart and soul into that page for six years and then one Friday it just disappeared," Jo tells Fairfax Media.

"It was gut wrenching, I hit every brick wall possible trying to get some answers."

After Fairfax contacted Facebook Australia on Jo's behalf, it appeared to be an open-and-shut case of posting prohibited content, even allowing for FILHAB's 21 age restriction.

Facebook confirmed that the use of profanity in the page name was not the issue. Instead, FILHAB was taken down after several "instances of significant concern" over a three-month period; including publishing "adult content", "hate speech" and "promotion of regulated goods".

Facebook produced screenshots of pornographic posts published by Jo and another page administrator, insisting that Jo would have been sent a series of escalating email warnings before the page was finally taken down. While many of FILHAB's posts are crude, the posts in........

© Brisbane Times