Facebook has shut down a page used by desperate soldiers seeking support for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – leading to fears it is putting lives at risk.
The social media giant closed Fill Your Boots UK (FYB UK) after claiming its content, which included discussions with mentally ill soldiers who were considering ending their lives, breached ‘community’ guidelines.
Soldiers suffering from combat induced traumas after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would post ‘cries for help’ on the page on an almost daily basis according to its founder, ex-paratrooper Alfie Usher.
FYB UK would then issue SOS messages, asking other veterans to rush to their aid.
But last week the page was dramatically shut down without warning after an exchange of messages between Mr Usher and a former soldier who threatened to kill himself in reaction to the deaths of two of his soldiers who were blown up by Taliban bombs in Afghanistan.
Mr Usher believes the conversation might have triggered an automatic block on the page.
He told moderators in a series of phone calls and emails that the page provided a lifeline for troops with mental and emotional disorders, but they still refused to unblock it.
Last night Mr Usher, 30, said: ‘Facebook’s actions have put soldiers’ lives at risk. Guys use the page to express feelings which are really troubling them.
‘They’re desperate for help. It is very hard for them to discuss issues relating to their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan with their families.
‘They’d rather talk to people they meet on FYB UK who have probably experienced the same thing.
‘I tried explaining this to Facebook but they just ignored me. I don’t think they realise the consequences this could have.’