‘The Hunt’, what? Facebook objected to article about cancellation of R-rated film

Special to WorldTribune, August 12, 2019

Editors’ Note:

Facebook sent two anonymous messages to the editors of WorldTribune.com Sunday saying that it was blocking distribution of the article headlined: Studio cancels release of ‘The Hunt’ after Trump blast: ‘They create their own violence’.

Scene from the trailer for ‘The Hunt.’ / Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures announced on Aug. 10 that it has canceled the release of “The Hunt”.

The violent R-rated film, which depicted liberal elites hunting “deplorables”, had been scheduled to hit theaters on Sept. 27.

Entries about the film on both the Universal Pictures web site and Wikipedia were suddenly removed early Monday.

The first Facebook message noted that “Your post goes against our Community Standards on nudity or sexual activity.”

The article featured a head shot of an actress from the film but there was no evidence of nudity or sexual activity in the presentation. The photo was replaced and WorldTribune requested a review.

Facebook immediately responded with a rejection stating that WorldTribune‘s “content was removed by Facebook for going against our community standards.” Facebook’s reference to “nudity and sexual activity” had been removed from the second message.

“It would appear that Facebook simply did not like the article for reasons known only to Facebook,” noted Robert Morton, senior editor.

The cancellation of the film was the subject of hundreds of articles. WorldTribune‘s article was unique in that its headline quoted a tweet by President Donald Trump. The full tweet, quoted in the article, included the words “true racists.”

In a statement, Universal Pictures said: “While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film.”

Facebook did not respond to followup questions from WorldTribune editors about precise reasons for banning the article including Universal Picture’s commercial ties to Facebook or influence on the social media monopoly’s decision.