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CrossFit suspends Facebook and Instagram accounts

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A month ago, CrossFit, Inc. posted a scathing blog entry outlining why they made the decision to quit Facebook and Instagram.

I first came across CrossFit back in early 2007 when I was looking for new ways to improve my fitness. Their fitness programming was a breath of fresh air. Most workouts were based around either long cardio workouts such as running or traditional gym workouts with weights and machines.

CrossFit successfully combined the two into a short intense workout which gained popularity very quickly.

I was a fan immediately and followed the WODs (workout of the day) as closely as possible and watched the early CrossFit stars emerge.

CrossFit, Inc. is very strong-minded. Their press release cites several reasons for their abandonment of the Facebook platform.

Quote

Recently, Facebook deleted without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan user group. The group has 1.65 million users who post testimonials and other information regarding the efficacy of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. While the site has subsequently been reinstated (also without warning or explanation), Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.

Facebook and its properties host and oversee a significant share of the marketplace of public thought. To millions of individuals and communities across the world, Facebook and its properties remain the platforms where ideas and information are exchanged. Facebook thus serves as a de facto authority over the public square, arbitrating a worldwide exchange of information as well as overseeing the security of the individuals and communities who entrust their ideas, work, and private data to this platform. This mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process.

CrossFit, Inc., as a voluntary user of and contributor to this marketplace, can and must remove itself from this particular manifestation of the public square when it becomes clear that such responsibilities are betrayed or reneged upon to the detriment of our community. Common decency demands that we do so, as do our convictions regarding fitness, health, and nutrition, which sit at the heart of CrossFit’s identity and prescription. 

They also expand on this and believe that "Facebook collaborates with government security agencies on massive citizen surveillance programs such as PRISM", "Facebook, as a matter of business and principle, has weak intellectual property protections and is slow to close down IP theft accounts." and "Facebook has poor security protocols and has been subject to the largest security breaches of user data in history."

It's certainly a bold move.

CrossFit does have a legacy forum system which dates back from its early days which gets some use still.

I think that investing in that community platform through modernisation along with a solid community building strategy could pay dividends in them taking back control of their conversation without fear of falling foul of any heavy-handed moderation beyond their control.

Modern community platforms like ours have plenty of tools to automate basic moderation, encourage more engagement and work well on mobile devices.

CrossFit, Inc join Lush Cosmetics as high profile brands that have taken themselves off Facebook completely.

Do you think we'll see a resurgence of owned-communities?

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