CrossFit, the branded fitness regime of aerobic exercise, calisthenics, and weightlifting, has deactivated all of its Facebook and Instagram accounts – and shut down plans for live streaming various CrossFit games and events via the social media. Instead, Crossfit plans to shift its Facebook and Instagram audiences of three million over to Twitter and other platforms. The move is one of the largest yet moves away from Facebook in response to the social media’s expanded role in policing and controlling content.
CrossFit’s media or marketing position?
The push for a Facebook withdrawal came after Facebook suddenly deleted, then reinstated, the Banting7DayMealPlan, a South African low-carbohydrate, high-fat FB page with 1.6 million users. The changing status for the page was never explained by Facebook. “Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion,” stated Greg Glassman, head of CrossFit, on the company webpage.
He cited Facebook’s history of data mismanagement and, more significantly, it’s ability to “remove or silence—without the opportunity for real debate or appeal—information and perspectives outside a narrow scope of belief or thought.”
Can a false contrarian be stopped?
On an individual basis, the move dovetail’s with CrossFit’s self-defined position as a contrarian running against the mainstream of the food and health industry. They have had a number of court cases against major food companies and the Center for Disease Control in regards to corporate sponsorship and the role of sugar in health.
From a more global perspective, it also underlines the power Facebook and various social media posts have had in disseminating and promoting fringe beliefs beyond such as the anti-vaccination movement. With the rise of measles often linked to reduced vaccination rates – this is an argument that is not going away.
Scratching that contrarian itch
Earlier this spring, US congressman Adam Schiff wrote to Facebook that misinformation spread by the social media giant could make parents ignore legitimate medical advice on childhood vaccination. “Repetition of information, even if false, can often be mistaken for accuracy,” he wrote. Facebook responded later by stating its would remove groups and pages sharing anti-vaccine misinformation from its recommendations – and also stop allowing advertisers to target people identified by them as interested in “vaccine controversies.”
Stay tuned, stay fit. More developments may follow.