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02.07.2024 / Press releases /

AI moderation silences migrant cleaners’ union, shuts down Facebook and X/Twitter accounts

  • United Voices of the World (UVW) is facing a troubling AI-driven crackdown on our digital presence. Both X/Twitter and Facebook have taken unprecedented actions against UVW’s accounts, silencing our voice and hindering our efforts to advocate for workers’ rights
  • UVW had over 20,000 followers on X/Twitter and 13,000 followers on Facebook prior to the social media platforms deleting and unpublishing the accounts which were used to amplify the voices of low-paid, migrant and precarious workers and to mobilise support for their struggles for dignity, equality and respect
  • These decisions erase a decade of predominantly Black, brown and migrant worker’s voices. As a grassroots union which represents some of the most marginalised workers in the UK, UVW relies on social media to access supporters across the country and in the broader international labour movement.

United Voices of the World (UVW) union has lost our X/Twitter and Facebook accounts in recent months, after automated moderation tools suspended the accounts, without warning or explanation. Operating on a shoestring budget and unable to pay for social media accounts, UVW has been unable to access human support to resolve these issues. UVW had used the social media platforms to rally support for our actions and raise tens of thousands of pounds to support the strikes of predominantly migrant workers.

Facebook has abruptly unpublished UVW’s page without any prior warning, reason, or right of appeal. When searching for our page, it is now impossible to find. Facebook’s only justification for this action was a vague statement that “United Voices of the World goes against our Community Standards,” with no specific examples provided. This has resulted in the loss of a treasured archive spanning over 10 years of UVW’s work and activities, which was documented more comprehensively on Facebook than on any other social media platform.

In early January 2024, X/Twitter deleted UVW’s account. Despite there being no justification for this deletion, X/Twitter has refused to reinstate our page, leaving us without a crucial platform to share our message and engage with our community. These actions by Facebook and X/Twitter appear to be part of a broader crackdown on UVW. We are in the process of appealing the decision to unpublish our Facebook Page but are concerned about the precedent these actions set for the future of digital campaigning. UVW remains committed to seeking justice and visibility for our members and will continue to fight against this unwarranted suppression of our voice.

Petros Elia, general secretary for United Voices of the World, said:

“Facebook has decided, out of the blue, without reason, warning or right of appeal to “unpublish” UVW’s page. Now if you search for it you won’t be able to find it. All Facebook has stated is that “United Voices of the World goes against our Community Standards”. They’ve cited no examples needless to say because they don’t have any. We have lost a treasured archive of over 10 years of action – which documented our work in more detail than any other social media platform. And over 13,000 followers. This stinks of a corporate crackdown on UVW and we’re trying to appeal. However, given Twitter’s decision to delete our page a few months ago (losing over 20,000 followers) and refusal to reopen it despite there being no reason not to, it is worrying that the same might happen with Facebook. Silencing our union is yet another example of the structural racism and stamping on working people our members experience every day. What’s happened to our accounts shows the need for the workers’ movement to move away from corporate-owned social media platforms. If you want to support our members’ struggles, join our Solidarity Network where you can hear from us directly.”

For more information contact the UVW comms team.

Jim: 07749 765264
Cristina: 07548 759340 Isabel: 07706 987443

E-mail: comms@uvwunion.org.uk 

Notes for editors

United Voices of the World is an anti-racist, member-led, direct action, campaigning trade union and we exist to support and empower the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly BAME and migrant workers in the UK. We fight the bosses through direct action on the streets and through the courts and demand that all members receive at least the London Living Wage, full pay, sick pay, dignity, equality and respect.

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