The popular fitness and lifestyle program Crossfit has completely suspended its use of Facebook and Instagram out of concern for the “security and privacy of our global CrossFit community”.
The suspension was announced in a May 23rd blog post posted to the CrossFit Battles section (a section which archives various CrossFit and fitness-related legal actions) of the official Crossfit website titled CrossFit, Inc. Suspends Use of Facebook and Associated Properties. In the post, CrossFit explains that the decision was made due to the suspension of the Banting7DayMealPlan Facebook group (which has since been reinstated) as well as the growing unease with Facebook’s position as a “de facto authority over the public square:
“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. To this end, all activity on CrossFit, Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was suspended as of May 22, 2019, as CrossFit investigates the circumstances pertaining to Facebook’s deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan and other well-known public complaints about the social-media company that may adversely impact the security and privacy of our global CrossFit community.”
As a result of this decision, the respective Facebook and Instagram accounts of both CrossFit and CrossFitGames were deleted, with each individual account having over 2 million followers each.
CrossFit would then provide a list of eight “publicly sourced complaints” concerning Facebook’s increasingly authoritarian and invasive actions:
“1. Facebook collects and aggregates user information and shares it with state and federal authorities, as well as security organizations from other countries.
2. Facebook collaborates with government security agencies on massive citizen surveillance programs such as PRISM.
3. Facebook censors and removes user accounts based on unknown criteria and at the request of third parties including government and foreign government agencies.
4. Facebook collects, aggregates, and sells user information as a matter of business. Its business model allows governments and businesses alike to use its algorithmically conjured advertising categories as sophisticated data-mining and surveillance tools.
5. Facebook’s news feeds are censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists while remaining vulnerable to misinformation campaigns designed to stir up violence and prejudice.
6. Facebook, as a matter of business and principle, has weak intellectual property protections and is slow to close down IP theft accounts.
7. Facebook has poor security protocols and has been subject to the largest security breaches of user data in history.
8. Facebook is acting in the service of food and beverage industry interests by deleting the accounts of communities that have identified the corrupted nutritional science responsible for unchecked global chronic disease. In this, it follows the practices of Wikipedia and other private platforms that host public content but retain the ability to remove or silence—without the opportunity for real debate or appeal—information and perspectives outside a narrow scope of belief or thought. In this case, the approved perspective has resulted in the deaths of millions through preventable diseases. Facebook is thus complicit in the global chronic disease crisis.”
Speaking with Morning Chalk Up, a CrossFit-specific blog, three CrossFit employees, including founder Greg Glassman, gave statements which indicated that the company would rather end their affiliations with Facebook then provide them with future opportunities to abuse collected user data:
Glassman: “What am I going to do? Sell a couple million people down the pike?”, referring to a deal being considered by CrossFit, Inc. to give Facebook exclusive streaming of the CrossFit Games.
Olivia Leonard, Executive Director of the CrossFit Foundation: “In order to entrust a community to an entity like Facebook, you have to believe that that entity acts in the best interest of that community and the individuals in it. I think it’s pretty clear Facebook violates that standard of trust in a variety of ways.”
Brian Mulvaney, Chief Advisor: “Why would we take our community and package it up for sale to Facebook? They can’t take our CrossFitters and package them up for sale.”
CrossFit’s decision is one of the first major protests by a company regarding the seemingly arbitrary deletions and suspensions of accounts, an issue which has become a growing problem for the increasingly untrustworthy social media platform. Jewish activist Avi Yemini was permanently banned from the platform allegedly due to his exposing of the deceptive editing practices of The Jim Jefferies Show. Earlier this month, similarly to the Banting7DayMealPlan group, Facebook deleted the Bounding Into Comics Facebook page without warning, only to restore the page without providing clarification as to why the page was deleted.
The ending of their relationship with Facebook has not spelled the end of the fitness program’s social media presence, as CrossFit continues to operate their Twitter account:
CrossFit, Inc. suspends use of Facebook and associated properties https://t.co/gdRs4nXa9k
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) May 24, 2019
What do you make of CrossFit’s move to severe their ties with Facebook?