R18+ Advocate Group Performs Vanishing Act

Followers of pro R18+ rating group Grow Up Australia might have noticed some odd things happening on Facebook lately. Nearly 37,000 members don’t just disappear overnight. Or do they?

Grow Up Australia’s Facebook group, almost 37,000 members strong, was taken down yesterday for a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use. With no word on what the actual violation was, the group’s admins set up a temporary fan page while attempting to contact the social networking giant.

A full day later, and the original group is back, albeit with a few less members. It’s still unclear whether this was a knee-jerk reaction to a complaint, or if anyone else was involved (specifically, those whose surnames begin with “A” and end in “tkinson”), but group creator Aaron Percival is adamant no offensive material was posted by the admins.

“None of our staff would violate the Terms of Use,” says Percival. “We can only speculate, but we think someone might have made an inappropriate post and [Facebook]reacted to it.

“In a way, they’ve admitted to making a mistake by re-instating it. But we don’t really feel that Facebook is that much at fault, they obviously need to take down inappropriate content. I guess it’s one of those things where we’ll just never know.”

Grow Up Australia’s website states that “very rarely, an inappropriate comment would be posted by one of the members, however our group administrators have always been vigilant in moderating the group and removing any inappropriate posts or content.”

Grow Up Australia isn’t our only pro R18+ group, but has been effective in marshalling support for bringing our video game rating system in line with other forms of media. Through a partnership with EB Games, over 16,000 submissions were gathered – a large chunk of the 55,000 total – for the government’s public consultation on the issue.

Change will still require a consensus by our Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, who will discuss the matter when they next meet in April. But a sneak peak on January 28th revealed that just 11 out of 1,084 submissions were opposed to the new rating.


    55,000 submissions is a fantastic effort but I think it will be in vain. Atkinson has already made it perfectly clear he won’t change his stance on the issue and without his approval we won’t have an R18 rating.

      The SA state election is this Saturday, this is going to be our best chance of beating Atkinson.

      Even if the paper has a landslide amount of submissions supporting an R18+ rating, if Atkinson still dissapproves it'll never happen.

      Vote Liberal to ensure Ranns government is gone and Atkinson is replaced by a rational person.

      Unless his govenment is noted out over the weekend, of course. Which is definantly on the cards from what I've seen on the news.

      As I've said to someone who said this before -

      There are many state elections this year, and those politicians facing re-election think they may lose votes because there are 55,000 people willing to make a submission to the government about videogames, they will pressure Atkinson into changing his mind on this matter.

      Most are not as safe a seat as Atkinson.

      It is our job to make them realise this by constantly reminding them with letters and phonecalls.

    Facebook doesn't allow 'inappropriate posts'? I'm not really a facebook user but I've seen a lot of offensive comments on there and cannot imagine them actually attempting to police all those profiles. Perhaps just because this is a higher profile group they may take it more seriously, but I'd be more inclined to believe somebody made a complaint. And I can't think of many people that would complain about any comments people made...

    On a different note, Junglist? Really? I didn't know he posted for Kotaku. Good to see you Junglist, hope to see more posts from you in the future.

      Yeah, there's no one at Facebook that's actually actively moderating stuff looking for ToS violations. Someone has to have actually registered a complaint.

        That's how it works in World of Warcraft, and honestly, that's how it works in real life too. 99% of law enforcement is after a complaint, whether is someone calling the police or an alarm going off. An alarm is just an automated complaint machine.

        And, +1 to the good to see you Jung, I knew you wouldn't stay down for long. Pip pip and all that.

    Good to see you @ Kotaku Jung. Hope all is well man :P

    On another note, can someone please donate some web design time to http://www.refused-classification.com/ ?? I am half tempted to do it myself--that site is dreadful, but providing a handy service.

    "11 out of 1,084 submissions were opposed to the new rating". Great! The perfect ammunition for Atkinson to argue that the submissions are bias, and the only people who submitted was all of us "dangerous" gamers. He will no doubt argue that this does not represent the decent (non-gamer) Australian public.

    Great to hear from you Junglist - miss you on GG... however Hex is much better on the eye! :P

    Oh, come on - the group comes down immediately prior to the South Australian election? Is there any reasonable interpretation OTHER than that Michael Atkinson's attempted to silence political criticism through legal threats?

      That would almost definately be the case, considering the disgusting law banning freedom of speech (by banning anonymity) on SA Politics, that he passed.

        You mean that law that he said would be re-pealed, and no-one would be prosecuted under it, and then he went and sued some guy for $20k for calling him a crook?
        I've never looked forward to an election as much as i have this one.

    Didn't one of the guys from G4C say the Labor Party was getting sick and tired of Atkinsons crap and they were going to tell him to pull his head in or something?

    Seems about time he should be told this...

    It's scary to think.. It's quite easy to make a complaint and have a website blocked these days. And it's going to get easier once Conroy gets his Australian Christian Lobby backed internet filter legislation passed.

    We may have R+18 games available to be played by Australians. You just won't be able to look at their websites.

    While 11 out of 1084 doesn't seem many, you can bet that they aren't by individuals like the majority of the remaining 1073 "for R18+". The 11 are likely from lobby groups that will have a greater sway with the AG's. Like it or not - that's politics.

    does atkinson have a website? .... lets complain!

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