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Press Release from Ryanair Pilot Group

Facebook and Twitter Accounts shut down without explanation.

On the 2nd of August Facebook shut down the Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG) Facebook page.  No warning was provided.  No justification was put forward.  No specific reasons were given.  RPG contacted Facebook requesting details of why the page was removed.

To date, no reasons have been forthcoming. The attached email is the only communication received concerning this extraordinary development. In a further twist yesterday (07th August), the RPG Twitter account has also been taken down unilaterally. Again, no specific reasons have been provided.

 “It can only be assumed from these two exceptional events that there seems to be an orchestrated and deliberate attempt to silence the public voice of the Ryanair pilots” states Evert van Zwol, Chairman of the RPG Interim Council.

“We are dismayed at Facebook’s decision to shut down a legitimate forum used by airline pilots without warning and with the only justification being given that ‘…a third party reported that the content infringes or otherwise violates their rights’. Yet Facebook provides no details on how or what content is considered inappropriate. van Zwol continues: “We are being told that ‘Facebook is not in a position to adjudicate disputes between third parties’; but the RPG is not aware of any such dispute with any third party. Facebook has already adjudicated in this case through its pre-emptive action.”

In a move to highlight both our concerns and determination, we have a new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ryanairpilotgroup2013. van Zwol says – “I am delighted to see the massive support we have received on our new Facebook page in just the last 24 hours.”

“Attempts to suppress social communications are not acceptable in 21st century Europe”, concludes van Zwol. “Freedom of association and freedom of speech are basic human rights that nobody should have to seek from scratch or assert through the media or the courts. It is clear that the pilots of the RPG will not be dissuaded from organising themselves and seeking legitimate expression of their views by these crude and out dated attempts to curtail personal, social and media interaction”.

The RPG comprises more than 50% of pilots operating for Ryanair. The group was formed to provide a channel through which pilots could collectively represent their interests with their employer. Most recently, the RPG conducted a democratic balloting process appointing an Interim Council to support and represent the collective interests of the professional pilot body in Ryanair.

We call on Facebook (as well as on Twitter) to live by its own declared mission – ‘ to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected’. This cannot be achieved by shutting down the pages of genuine groups, on foot of unspecified and unsubstantiated claims, while providing no justification and no right of reply.

For further information see www.facebook.com/ryanairpilotgroup2013.