Over the past few months, Facebook used us with various types of status updates suggestions, based on recent or popular events. For example, currently, you can post a custom status about the team you’re supporting at Euro 2016 or express your opinion about the referendum that will decide whether the UK should remain in or leave the European Union.
The latter has been observed by British political blogger Jon Worth, who spotted that he was given the option to post a status update “in favour of leaving the EU”, while the other one, related to remaining, was missing.
“People who search for ‘EU’ when they are using our status tool will see a full range of options enabling them to add if they are thinking of leaving or remaining in the EU,” Mr. Worth said. “In your list of ‘supporting’, you can choose Leave.EU but you cannot choose [a pro-Remain option],” he added.
When contacted by The Guardian, in order to find out more details about this issue, Facebook said that referendum prompts were removed from the status updates suggestions list in the meantime, as the vote is considered sensitive. Also, a Facebook spokesperson denied the allegations claiming that the social network is trying to influence, in some way or another, the result.
“People who search for ‘EU’ when they are using our status tool will see a full range of options enabling them to add if they are thinking of leaving or remaining in the EU. People scrolling through the list of activities see options based on what their friends and other people have been using”, the social network’s response was.
When posting a status update in order to support a cause, you could pick the “Leave.EU”, while a pro-Remain option was missing. Facebook claims that this happens because none of the official campaigns, Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe, are listed as “non-profit organisations”.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the option was only available in the UK, while users from other countries couldn’t find it.