Independent Media investigating why Facebook’s removed its articles

Cape Town – Independent Media is investigating high volumes of “spam alerts” it has received on Facebook after hyperlinks to articles on its IOL news website were removed by the social network, a spokesperson said on Saturday evening. 

Several Facebook-users on Saturday reported that their posts featuring IOL hyperlinks were removed because the social network considered it to be “spam”.

“We have removed this posts because it looks like spam to us,” an explanation to users by Facebook reads. 

Facebook posts relating to articles about the inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol also appears to be affected. 

Independent Media spokesperson Lutfia Vayej said hyperlinks to news stories originally affected included stories with the titles ‘UKZN Bust Story’, ‘Data disappearing’, ‘Dullah Omar’s name off Pro Zuma March’ and ‘OPINION: Introducing the Business Report Corruption Buster’.

This seemed “to have a ripple effect” on the social network and is now affecting all hyperlinks from the news website, Vayej told News24.

She did not indicate when the issue was first encountered. 

“We’re investigating the matter with Facebook headquarters and are trying to resolve the matter as we speak.”

IOL has since removed the “share to Facebook” function from its website. 

Facebook Africa could not be reached for comment. Itu Morule from Idea Engineers, representing Facebook in South Africa, said the organisation would only be able to respond to a request for comment on Monday. 

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