News February 17, 2021

Melbourne’s The Night Cat has Facebook page banned

Melbourne’s The Night Cat has Facebook page banned

Melbourne venue has had its page disabled over what management suspects is a false connection to a far-right movement.

In a statement, venue management said The Night Cat’s page was disabled by Facebook in late January for “breaching community standards”. Some administrators of The Night Cat Facebook page also had their accounts disabled, which in turn meant they lost access to the respective business pages they were managing.

There was no opportunity to review the decision, and as it stands now, The Night Cat’s Facebook page will be permanently deleted on February 27.

“As a live music venue struggling to regain financial stability after a pandemic, this is a near death sentence,” a statement from the venue read.

“[The] majority of the venue’s shows are advertised, promoted and purchased on Facebook. The Night Cat’s largest online audience is on Facebook and has been built over the 20+ years the venue has been in existence.

“The only info provided on Facebook’s end was that all accounts had violated the community standards in some unspecified way – so severely that none were eligible to request a review of the decision.”

Management suspects the move from Facebook had something to do with the venue hosting an event by Melbourne band Tim Wolf and the Boogaloos. The term ‘boogaloo’ – while mostly known as a genre of Latin music – is also the name for a far-right extremist movement in the US. Members of the band used the venue’s Facebook ad account to run promotions for the show, which took place on February 5. The band’s Facebook page has also been disabled.

As The Guardian reported last year, Facebook had previously taken measures to remove ‘boogaloo’ groups on its platform. It is not confirmed whether the word ‘boogaloo’ had any connection to Facebook’s reason to ban The Night Cat.

“What’s clear is that this is a mistake. What is not clear is why Facebook does not have a clear line of communication open so that these mistakes can be reversed,” managers have said.

The Night Cat is now requesting members of the public contact Facebook and ask them to reverse the decision.

“We have until February 27 before The Night Cat page is permanently deleted forever and with it, all the loyal followers, employees and events that helped build it into the community that it is today.”

Facebook has been approached for comment and clarification.

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