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.

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