Facebook won't stop Wikileaks as status update numbers soar

Facebook sees Wikileaks fan numbers soar, users share thoughts on the whistleblower through status updates.

By , Staff

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    Facebook has let Wikileaks remain and the online community seems thankful. Facebook users have been writing status updates about Wikileaks so feverishly that Facebook's results page can barely keep up. The official fan page has increased its fan numbers so much that it is now ranked fourth on Facebook.
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Though the whistleblower website Wikileaks has been dropped by Visa, MasterCard, Amazon, Paypal, and even its domain host and Swiss bank, it can still count on Facebook...for now.

While many are trying to put a lid on the Wikileaks operation by closing its accounts and limiting its access to funds, others have chosen not to hinder the organization that the US government has accused of illegal activity.

While the US government has stressed that the publishing of classified documents is illegal, and even looking at the documents is illegal for some, operating fan webpages for an organization that participates in such activity is legal.

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With a recent redesign allowing for Twitter-like queries of community status updates, Facebook users have seen a flurry of chatter about Wikileaks. These status updates have gained attention and helped shoot the document-sharing website's fan page up into the fourth position on the Facebook leaderboard.

A NUMBERS GAME

While companies like Amazon and EveryDNS shut down Wikileaks.org and several other domains, individuals began hosting mirror sites and at last count Wikileaks was mirrored on 335 sites across the internet.

Just as the attempts to shut down Wikileaks websites ultimately drew enough press to attract friendly mirror hosts, the continued attacks on Wikileaks, and legal moves against founder Julian Assange, have built up an army of sympathetic fans on Facebook. With a worldwide community of over 500 million highly active users, that's nothing to shake a stick at. While the official Wikileaks fan page has almost 1 million fans and several unofficial Wikileaks fan pages have thousands of "likes", Allfacebook.com reports that it could only find one anti-Wikileaks Facebook page which only had 851 "likes."

Despite, or perhaps because of the supportive Wikileaks chatter amongst Facebook users, Facebook said it would not take down WikiLeaks' official Facebook page.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes emailed the Los Angeles Times saying, "The mere existence of a Wikileaks fan page on Facebook doesn't violate any law and we would not take it down just like we don't take down other pages about controversial topics. We’re continuing to monitor the situation."

Now that Julian Assange is in custody in the UK and is hinting at unlocking an "information bomb" there is sure to be much more for Facebook users to talk about. Stay tuned here.

RELATED: WikiLeaks 101: Five questions about who did what and when

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