Hobbit rally organisers cry foul over Facebook page removal

The group behind yesterday's rallies to keep the Hobbit films in New Zealand is crying foul after its webpage was "arbitrarily removed" by social networking site Facebook.

Rally organiser and Auckland actor Mark Harrison said the Facebook page was removed on Sunday for violating Facebook's terms and conditions.

More than 10,000 people had signed up as supporters before its removal.

Mr Harrison said Facebook gave him no reason why the page was taken down, and had not responded to three emails asking for it to be reinstated.

It was a disappointing and unnecessary distraction after all the effort supporters had put in, he said.

The removal could cost the campaign yet more supporters, as the webpage address had been included in full- and half-page newspaper advertisements due to run in the Dominion Post and New Zealand Herald tomorrow.

Mr Harrison said the ads had cost members of the film industry tens of thousand of dollars.

"If Facebook don't sort this out, people will have nowhere to pledge their support. We hope they will hurry up and get back to us."

He estimated up to 5000 potential supporters could be lost.

Thousands of supporters of filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson gathered around the country yesterday to rally against the films moving offshore.

Rallies were held in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Queenstown and Matamata, where the Hobbiton sets have been built.

Mr Harrison said he was "blown away" by the show of support.

"It was a beautiful day and fantastically heartening to see so many New Zealanders giving up their holiday to support Sir Peter."

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



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