Swedish writer and blogger Katerina Janouch has been banned from Facebook for seven days for sharing an article about freedom of speech and Tommy Robinson, a British activist effectively banished from both Facebook and Instagram, the news outlet Nyheter Idag reported.
The article was penned by journalist Madeleine Rönnqvist Lilja and first published on Janouch's website Katerina Magasin on 10 March. After eleven days, her account was blocked.
"When I went to my Facebook page, I was greeted by a message that I was temporarily blocked because I had shared an article about Tommy Robinson", Janouch explained to Nyheter Idag. "I wrote 'Today it's Tommy Robinson, tomorrow it may be you'. And then I got blocked for it. You can't make this s**t up", Janouch said.
Janouch said she didn't quite understand the punishment she called "absurd".
"The article is about freedom of speech, titled "Tommy Robinson's 'Case' is Ours". It's not an accolade to Robinson. Although I believe one should be able to both hail and reject a person without being blocked. And I don't mean just Tommy Robinson personally, but generally speaking", Janouch explained.
By her own admission, she contacted Facebook and got the answer that "tributes or support" for Tommy Robinson were forbidden. This implies that she violated community standards. Facebook's stated policy is to purge "hate organisations", their leaders or prominent members from the network and weed out all support for them.
According to Janouch, Rönnqvist Lilja's text about Tommy Robinson rather reflects on free speech and how people with "uncomfortable" and "unpleasant" views may end up silenced from social media. Among other things, Rönnqvist Lilja wrote that many critics of Islam are portrayed as right-wing extremists, stigmatised as Islamophobes, and get their social media accounts shut down.
"The issue is whether questioning the British state's handling of Tommy Robinson constitutes support", Janouch said.
Janouch also argued that Facebook lacked a coherent, consistent policy.
"At the same time, Daesh* terrorists have been able to use Facebook and spread their message", she argued. "Being a terrorist is not reason enough for a ban. But writing a piece on Tommy Robinson is. This is very arbitrary and nasty".
Janouch argued that every single ban of this kind will put off more users, prompting them to leave.
Tommy Robinson is an anti-immigration activist and former co-founder of the movement English Defence League, who was sentenced to prison for his live reporting outside of a court during a headline-grabbing grooming gang scandal.
Czech-born Katerina Janouch (originally Kateřina Janouchová) is a Swedish author, journalist, and children's writer. In Sweden, she first rose to prominence as a contributing sex advisor in a number of Swedish newspapers and a writer. In recent years, though, she has emerged as a critic of Sweden's political establishment, criticising its perceived onslaught against freedom of speech.
* Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/the Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia