Facebook apologized and reversed course after supporters of an Ethiopian activist, whose page it had blocked, flooded CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Valentine’s Day photo with comments.
Zuckerberg on Wednesday had posted a picture of himself and his older daughter sharing pizza on the roof of the company’s headquarters with the caption, “Lunch date with my Valentine.”
While some Facebook users responded with warm wishes, the post was quickly filled with comments calling on the company to unblock the account of Jawar Mohammed, an Ethiopian who lives in Minneapolis and is followed by more than 1.2 million people, according to his Facebook profile.
A user with the account name Brook Michel, for example, whose profile says he is from that country’s capital of Addis Ababa, posted this:
“Dear Mark you are violating the right of expression by blocking #JawarMohammed prominent human rights activist with followers of more than 1.2 millions..He is the voice of more than 100 million Ethiopia, # UnblockJawarNow or #BlockUsAll.”
The comment got 168 reactions, putting it on top of the comments section for Zuckerberg’s Valentine.
And there were many other posts like it.
CNBC late Wednesday counted more than two dozen comments with identical or nearly-identical wording that were posted within two hours of Zuckerberg’s Valentine photo.