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Facebook: We Won't Block Wikileaks - For Now

The homepage of with a picture of its founder Julian Assange.
Getty Images

The biggest social-networking site in the world broke with many of its online brethren Monday when it issued a statement saying that it will not ban content from a "fan page" associated with Wikileaks, the controversial repository of leaked confidential documents whose founder, Julian Assange, is currently on the run.

The homepage of with a picture of its founder Julian Assange.
Getty Images

"The Wikileaks Facebook Page does not violate our content standards nor have we encountered any material posted on the page that violates our policies," the statement, which was prepared when ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick started poking around to see which online services may follow the lead of Amazon Web Services and PayPal in blocking Wikileaks. It's a well-crafted statement, however, one which leaves open the possibility that Facebook could change course. All it's saying right now is that at present Facebook does not believe Wikileaks at present has posted content to its page that violates the social network's own terms of service.

Facebook's handling of whether to block controversial and potentially harmful content from its servers has not been without criticism: It has opted not to ban groups pertaining to Holocaust denial, for example, claiming that while it finds Holocaust denial "repulsive and ignorant," that the groups are allowed to stay up if they do not contain illegal material. Wikileaks, obviously, is a different and far more complicated matter entirely: Though many believe Assange could have blood on his hands for leaking documents that could put the U.S. or its allies in danger overseas, with the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee saying that he wants Wikileaks listed as a terrorist organization, Assange has also become a hero for free-speech and government transparency advocates. Special Report: WikiLeaks

It's a status which has only been elevated since the recent Wikileaks document releases and the subsequent attempts by corporations and lawmakers to stop Assange: The Wikileaks page on Facebook has nearly one million followers.

This article originally appeared on CNET
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    Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos. E-mail Caroline.