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Facebook shuts down group after members made jokes about attacking fictional characters

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Facebook shut down a fan group for The Archers, a British fictional radio show, for breaking its Community Standards. The platform took issue with members of the group threatening violence against fictional characters.

The Archers is a soap set in a fictional village called Ambridge. It is the longest-running soap opera in the world, having been broadcast since 1951, The Mirror reported.

Fans in the group have made threatening comments against some characters, saying things like they would like to see some characters “burned on the village green,” given “a full-on battering,” and “a kick in the plums.”

Another fan wrote: “A lot of slow-burn storylines at the moment. Bring on the napalm for fucks sake.”

These comments were flagged by Facebook, whose automated moderation system cannot tell the difference between threats of violence to fictional and real people.

Administrators of The Archers Appreciation Reborn group told its members: “We are getting increasing numbers of warnings about posts threatening violence.

“It matters not that we are discussing fictional characters. Members are still posting about ‘things’ they’d like to do to Ambridge residents.”

The original group, The Archers Appreciation Group, was removed for similar reasons.

The group’s founder wrote in the group that “FB might close this forum like they did its predecessor. If that happens I won’t resurrect it a 3rd time.

“So, enjoy this group, but also take responsibility for its continued existence.”

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