Facebook temporarily banned users from posting reports by an immigration watchdog analyzing federal statistics that show immigrants in general, and illegal immigrants specifically, are taking a big share of new jobs that come open in America, according to the group producing the reports.
The giant website cited an "error" causing the ban and apologized.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank relied upon by immigration critics, said Monday that the posting of four recent reports on jobs and immigration had been barred by Facebook.
"When a Facebook user attempts to post or message these reports, a message appears stating, 'Your message could not be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive,'" said the group.
A test by Secrets found the same results Monday. The message said, "Warning: This Message Contains Blocked Content: Your message couldn't be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive."
But after Secrets raised the issue with Facebook, a spokesman said the ban was an error and that the reports will be allowed to post.
"This was an error and they shouldn't have any issues sharing the links now," said a spokesperson. "An error in our system that helps block bad links on Facebook incorrectly marked some URLs as malicious or inappropriate. We've resolved the issue and apologize for the inconvenience this caused," added the spokesperson.
Facebook and founder Mark Zuckerberg has taken a position in support of immigration, which has become a top issue in the GOP presidential primary race.
The center said that by barring four reports from being posted on Facebook, now among the top news sources for America, the website is censoring information key to the immigration debate and the drive by some in Congress to expand immigration. The reports that are banned are based on federal statistics, including the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Steven Camarota, the center's director of research and the author of the reports, said in a blog post, "The poor job market is one of the most important issues confronting the country. It is extremely troubling that Facebook would block studies that simply report government data on how immigrants and natives are faring in the U.S. job market. These reports have received a good deal of attention from various media outlets and have been discussed by members of Congress. It is absurd to suggest they are 'abusive.'"Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.