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As Facebook Pivots Toward Groups, Crossfit Forcefully Pulls Away

Marketing

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After the unexplained deletion of a community group, fitness brand Crossfit is leaving Facebook and Instagram behind.

According to Facebook’s executives, the future of the platform lies in Groups. But after the deletion of part of their community, it is one that the fitness and nutrition brand Crossfit will not be a part of, the brand announced in a fiery release last week.

CEO Greg Glassman put it simply in his interview with CrossFit blog Morning-Chalk Up: “Facebook doesn’t comport with my community standards for privacy and decency, so we’re out.” The text of their departure release reveals far more intricate and deep-seated worries about the platform (including its photo-driven property, Instagram.)

In their departure letter, Crossfit writes of aiming to act in opposition to a number of “publicly sourced complaints” about the site. Among the grievances listed are its “poor security protocols,” “weak intellectual property protocols,” and the idea that “its business model allows governments and businesses alike to use its algorithmically conjured advertising categories as sophisticated data-mining and surveillance tools.”

Although many may be questioning their use of Facebook and its products for these reasons, there’s something else at play here. In a larger sense, Crossfit repeatedly names a feeling of being targeted for its status as “a contrarian physiological and nutritional prescription for improving fitness and health.” Their most detailed grievance speaks to Facebook and its properties as a “private platform that host[s] public content but retain[s] the ability to remove or silence—without the opportunity for real debate or appeal—information and perspectives outside a narrow scope of belief or thought.” The unexplained deletion of a South-Africa based group called Banting 7 Day Meal Plan, comprised of 1.6 million users who support one another in a low-carb, high-fat diet frequently accompanied by Crossfit-style workouts, was the final straw for the company. Although the group was eventually reinstated (similarly without explanation), the damage had already been done.

Crossfit’s contrarian status, they believe, is at odds with Facebook, a company who by its dominance, gets to “host and oversee a significant share of the marketplace of public thought,” and “thus serves as a de facto authority over the public square.” In Crossfit’s eyes—and many users and individuals would likely agree—”this mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process.” Whether you agree with Crossfit’s stance or not, these concerns over responsibility and transparency are central to many current debates over the platform. And it seems unlikely that the brand will return to Facebook or its associated brands until these issues are better resolved. In the meantime, they appear to still be active on Twitter and YouTube.

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