Meta blocked, then apologized for blocking, a local news organization that published a column criticizing Facebook.

The Kansas Reflector, a nonprofit news org, published an op-ed about Facebook this week that criticized the tech giant for refusing ads promoting a documentary about climate change. The Reflector and its readers soon after realized links from the paper were not working on both Facebook and Threads.

This, of course, led to concerns that Meta was stifling criticism of its platforms. In response to those concerns, the website The Handbasket republished the op-ed under the headline, “Here’s the column Meta doesn’t want you to see.” Links to the site were then blocked, falsely labeling it as spam or malicious, The Wrap noted.

Meta, however, has said this was all a big mistake and that it never intentionally blocked folks from sharing the column. It claimed that a security error was to blame.

“Due to a security error, links to the @kansasreflector were blocked for a period of time,” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone wrote on Threads. “The same security concern mistakenly prompted the blocking of links to News From The States and The Handbasket. The incorrectly applied blocks have now been lifted from all three domains, but it does take time for our system to fully repopulate all the links. This is undoubtedly frustrating and we sincerely apologize to all who have been impacted. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

This all could be a misunderstanding. On the one hand, it’s difficult to believe a tech giant’s explanation for blocking a news organization. On the other hand, Facebook is criticized all the time — even more pointedly than the column in the Reflector — and Meta doesn’t block those news organizations.

No matter what the case, the column is once again shareable on Facebook for those who are so inclined.

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