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MySpace: No place for Atheists?

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UPDATE: The Cleveland Plain Dealer covered this on Jan. 31st, 2008: MySpace deletes hacked Web site for atheists and agnostics.
UPDATE: The group was partially restored on Feb. 1st, 2008

Contact: Bryan J. Pesta, Ph.D., [email protected]

Atheists & Agnostics GroupMySpace Deletes Largest Atheist Group in the World.

Cleveland, OH.- Social networking site, MySpace.com, panders to religious intolerants by deleting atheist users, groups and content.

Early this month, MySpace again deleted the Atheist and Agnostic Group (35,000 members). This deletion, due largely to complaints from people who find atheism offensive, marks the second time MySpace has cancelled the group since November 2007.

What's unique in this case is that the Atheist and Agnostic Group was the largest collection of organized atheists in the world. The group had its own Wikipedia entry, and in April won the Excellence in Humanist Communication Award (2007) from the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University and the Secular Student Alliance.

"MySpace refuses to undelete the group, although it never violated any terms of service," said Bryan Pesta, Ph.D., the group's moderator. "When the largest Christian group was hacked, MySpace's Founder, Tom Anderson, personally restored the group, and promised to protect it from future deletions."

"It is an outrage if Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and the world's largest social networking site tolerate discrimination against atheists and agnostics-- and if this situation goes unresolved I'll have little choice but to believe they do," said Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain of Harvard University. News Corporation, Murdoch's global media corporation which also includes Fox News, purchased MySpace in 2005.

"My personal profile was deleted as well, and despite weeks of emails to customer service, plus a petition signed by 500 group members, MySpace won't budge. I think these actions send a clear message to the 30 million godless people in America (and to businesses whose money was spent displaying ads on our group) that we are not welcome on MySpace," said Pesta.

For a Wikipedia article on the now defunct atheist and agnostic group, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_and_Agnostic_Group.

For links to Pesta's defunct group and profile, visit http://www.MySpace.com/aiffb.

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