Fact Check

'Unstoppable' Banned by Facebook?

Is Facebook blocking links to the web site for Kirk Cameron's film 'Unstoppable'?

Published Jan 6, 2014


Claim:   Facebook is blocking links to the web site for Kirk Cameron's film Unstoppable.


Example:   [Collected via Facebook, January 2014]

There is a rumor going around that Facebook is blocking a link to the Kirk Cameron film "Unstoppable", supposedly claiming that the content is "spammy", "abusive", "unsafe". Any truth to the rumor?


Origins:   Unstoppable is a documentary film hosted by Kirk Cameron (best known for his role as Mike Seaver on the 1980s TV sitcom Growing Pains) and made in partnership with Liberty University which was released for a single-night screening in theaters on 24 September 2013. Inspired by the death of friend of Cameron's who passed away from cancer at the age of 15, the film was described as an effort to provide an answer to the question of "Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?":

In Unstoppable, a brand-new documentary, Kirk takes you on a personal and inspiring journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raiser in faith: Why? Kirk goes back to the beginning — literally — as he investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives ... and our eternities. Reminding us that there is great hope, Unstoppable creatively asks — and answers — the age-old question: Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?

Unstoppable was the focus of a brief controversy back in July 2013 when Facebook began blocking the posting of links to the film's official web site and trailer, labeling them as "abusive and unsafe" content. In response, Cameron posted a plea on Facebook calling upon his fans to ask the social network to stop blocking such links:

Calling all friends of Faith, Family, and Freedom! Facebook has officially "blocked" me and you (and everyone else) from posting any link to my new movie at UnstoppableTheMovieDOTcom, labeling the content as "abusive", "unsafe", and "spammy"! I can't even write the real link here, or Facebook would block this post too!! Try to post it yourself and see! We have been officially shut down by Facebook and unable to get any response from them. This is my most personal film about faith, hope, and love, and about why God allows bad things to happen to good people. What is "abusive" or "unsafe" about that?! Please help us encourage Facebook to unblock our website soon by sharing this post with your friends so more people can see this transparent, faith-building project.


Facebook soon rectified the situation, maintaining that the film site's domain had previously been associated with the sending of spam:

A spokesman for the world's largest social networking site has clarified the reason for the brief censorship of Kirk Cameron's "Unstoppable" movie website.

Michael Kirkland, communications manager for Facebook, [said] that links to the movie's site had been briefly blocked due to a mistake in their anti-spam system.

"From what we can tell, the address purchased for the movie was previously being used as a spam site and it hadn't been refreshed in our system yet," said Kirkland.

"We were in direct contact with Kirk's team on this and reversed the block as soon as we confirmed that the address was no longer being used for spam."

Soon afterwards, a trailer for Unstoppable was also blocked from viewing on YouTube, with users who attempted to access it seeing instead a message stating that "This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content." YouTube also soon reversed course, without offering any public explanation for why access to the trailer had been blocked in the first place.

Although the Unstoppable Facebook issue was a brief one that had been rectified six months earlier, renewed rumors that Unstoppable links were still (or once again) being blocked on Facebook circulated again in early 2014, in conjunction with the film's release on DVD.

Last updated:   6 January 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.