Secret-sharing website Wikileaks is at it again, tweeting allegations against people who have pissed them off. Previously, it was Robert Gates, whom they called a "liar". Tonight, it's Facebook, which Wikileaks claims deleted its 30,000 member-strong fan club.
However, a visit to Facebook.com/wikileaks shows that the "Official Facebook Page" of Wikileaks is up. So what's the big deal? It appears the page that was deleted was a user-run fan page, which Wikileaks tweeted about earlier this month:
Visiting the link there leads nowhere now.
But the most interesting Facebook-Wikileaks episode occurred in 2008, when Wikileaks was sued by Swiss bank Julius Baer over posting stolen documents relating to one of its clients. In the course of the trial, Julius Baer subpoenaed an officer of a Wikileaks Facebook page, mistaking him for an officer of Wikileaks itself. According to Network World, Julius Baer's lawyer sent the following to the guy—a Stanford student named Daniel Matthews:
Wikileaks lists you as an officer of the company on its Facebook page. As an officer of a defendant in this action, my client is entitled to serve you a copy of the summons and complaint pursuant to Rule 4(h)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Since Julius Baer wasn't able to get hold of a real Wikileaks employee—scattered worldwide as they are—some random Stanford student had to go to trial on their behalf in a high profile lawsuit. (He was listed as the "Stanford representative" of Wikileaks on the page.) He was not pleased. And the possibility of Facebook users being sued simply for belonging to groups probably gave Facebook headaches, too. (The suit resulted in Wikileaks being shut down for a bit by a judge, before the bank ultimately withdrew their case.)
It's possible that, having been burned by this previous episode, Facebook is looking to head off any other possible legal complications for its users. That, or Facebook is WORKING FOR THE CIA.
Update: Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes responds:
The disabled Wikileaks page was flagged as an inauthentic Facebook page and its fans will be migrated to the authentic page soon. The administrator of the inauthentic page violated our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, particularly Section 12.2, which states: "You may only administer a Facebook page if you are an authorized representative of the subject of the page."