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Facebook ‘Rage Against the Machine for Christmas Number 1’ Group Shut by ‘Bug’

Rage Against the Machine - who's track "Killing in the Name" has sparked an online Christmas Number One battle
Rage Against the Machine - who's track "Killing in the Name" has sparked an online Christmas Number One battle

For a number of hours this afternoon, a Facebook ‘bug’ shut down the “RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR CHRISTMAS NO.1” Group that has been making headlines all month.

The Facebook Group, which implores its members to buy Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” rather than X Factor winner, Joe McElderry’s track “The Climb” in the week preceding the Christmas chart, went down shortly after lunchtime today, following a lengthy outage yesterday evening, and remained inaccessible for a period of up to five hours.

This morning, the group had in excess of 700,000 members.

Interestingly, the group became inaccessible and invisible in any Facebook search, nor did the group’s homepage display the standard “page inaccessible” notice which Facebook say should be present when a group is experiencing technical issues. Instead, any user trying to access the Facebook group was re-routed to their Facebook homepage, with no explanation proffered.

It is highly likely conspiracy theories will be rife on the web following the high profile outages – which have not tended to befall other popular groups – including many with the same aims as the RATM Christmas No.1 Group.

The group URL is: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2228594104

Jon Morter, the original founder of the group told The Global Herald:

“the group went down last night in which a member of facebook’s PR team contacted to say it was a “bug”

Later in the evening the group returned as normal, but now it’s gone yet again I do start to be concerned. If anything I have some media interviews coming up and it wouldn’t look particularly good for facebook if they have indeed pulled it. If not anything for the fact that it slows down rapidly our charity donations (£21,000 so far)

I’m awaiting a response once again from facebook and I’d hope it will be a swift one. In the interim, we’ve set up a ‘back up’ group and have already gained 81,000 members as a precaution. (http://bit.ly/thexfactor)”

Around twenty minutes after access to the group was restored, Sophy Silver of Facebook told The Global Herald “we hadn’t removed [the RATM group]… I would imagine this is a temporary issue due to a bug and [the RATM group] should be active again soon.”

There are several copycat Facebook groups and pages, with one Facebook Page on the subject climbing through 18,000 to over 22,000 ‘fans’ during the period of hours the original group was inaccessible. One alternative Facebook page was located at http://www.facebook.com/pages/RAGE-AGAINST-THE-MACHINE-FOR-CHRISTMAS-NO1/197877130755.

There is a backup Facebook Group set up by the original founders in case outages should continue for the rest of this week. It is located at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=37655682127. The Christmas Number One UK Chart being based on music purchased before midnight on Saturday 19th December 2009.

Irrespective of the outages, it must be recognised that there is a real possibility that Rage Against the Machine may well be this year’s UK Christmas Number One. Indeed, one punter has bet over £7,000 on Rage Against the Machine being either Christmas number one or number two to the X Factor winner Joe McElderry, and the current odds of 5-1 (William Hill) on RATM achieving the top spot look long considering the publicity that the “anti-X Factor” campaign has managed to gather to date.

The original creators of the Facebook Group, however, are keen to point out in the ‘info’ section of their page that they are not anti X Factor, and that their primary interest is helping to raise money for the homeless charity, Shelter, for whom they have set up a Just Giving page at the following address: http://www.justgiving.com/ratm4xmas/ at the time of writing, this appeal had raised in excess of £22,000 for the charity.

The very fact that the group has dropped out for several hours – on a website which can usually handle many millions of concurrent users – may well indicate that there is real interest in ousting the X Factor franchise from their strangle hold on the Christmas Number One slot.

Early indications from the online download websites are that this battle is much closer than originally expected, with many sites showing the RATM track as more popular than Joe McElderry’s ballad.

Only time will tell whether the Facebook generation is able to land it’s first Christmas Number One after last year’s narrow defeat.

About Robin Scott

Robin Scott
Robin Scott is co-founder and publisher of The Global Herald.

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48 comments

  1. THE GROUP IS STILL INACCESSABLE

  2. JOE mcelderry al the way that other syuff is crap emo music!

  3. Either way Cowell’s going to make some money. I want Rage to be Xmas number 1 ‘The Climb’ is such a weak song. Article here worth reading and there’s a list of websites you can get the ‘Killing In The Name’ and prices. I think Amazon is the cheapest though.

  4. PLEASE NOTE you need to buy from another service other than amazon! the track needs to be over 40p to count towards xmas number one John. Buy from itunes or 7digital or something.

  5. Typical, people act out against this yearly terrorism and get shut down.
    I can guarantee the bosses at ITV had something to do with that.

    It made me laugh what simon said about it on the radio… Thing is its not about him or the Xfactor really, its a wider focus they are just the name to the face at the moment.
    The face of our biased music industry and the tripe that gets brought out that people are “supposed” to like.

    Its about time a REAL band got some recognition in the mainstream over here, the majority of england is blind to music beyond whats put infront of them by the people making money.
    And Simon Cowell’s comment that it’ll ruin that kids chances is rediculous, he appeared on a contest and won, he doesnt deserve any more than that, he got the quick fix to his desire to sing and he will pay the price in a year or so when we say Joe who? he doesnt need RATM’s help to fade away lol

  6. Yep still no accessible, have to use the other links at the moment. SORT IT OUT FACEBOOK!!!

  7. Come on people! 1,000,000 on the facebook group (I think, because I can’t see it right now) but only 170,000 have bought it! It’s 29p on amazon and pissing in Cowel’s cereal is worth at least double that! Let’s keep going!

  8. Who cares just keep getting the word out! We have the support we need, just keep downloading. RATM are amazing!

  9. THE GROUP IS STILL INACCESSABLE

  10. woooo rage for number 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Go RATM GO!

  12. Editor

    Please note this article was written yesterday – though it appears the event has repeated itself.

  13. I smell a rat! Somebody somewhere probably doesn’t like the power the group is exerting. BUt it’s the voice of a large part of the population who don’t want bad pop drivel at number 1 this xmas. WE WILL NOT BE IGNORED! PUT THE GROUP BACK UP NOW! NO TO THE SUPRESSION OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

  14. The group is down yet again for the second time…

  15. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR XMAS NO.1 !!!
    f**k you i wont do what you tell me!

  16. I think it was sabotage personally! Cowell is threatened by the group as he has made loads of remarks about it already..

    Zane Lowe played KILLING IN THE NAME on radio 1 at 7pm tonight to show his support and he had dubbed in Cowells comments about the group..
    Get over it cowell, Rage are awesome and WILL be christmas number one!!

    x

  17. What a stupid article. Firstly, the admin have acknlowedged a ‘bug’ and is up again now. Secondly, what does it matter if a group shuts down? Its not like 700,00 people who’ve pledged to buy the track suddenly are going to go ‘actually no we wont’ because the groups gone!

    Hurrah for mediocracy!

    • Firstly the site is down still!!! And secondly there are 760,000 members who want more members to join the group, which they are unablt to do if the site is no longer there due to censoring!!!

  18. ITS BACK!! The original group is BACK!

    Don’t forget to buy your copies of Killing In The Name!!!

  19. They may not have taken it dow but it is strange that not only has the page itself gone but all posts on personal pages which contain a link to the group have disappeared too!

  20. If it is a glitch, why has my status update (which featured a link to the group) been deleted aswell?

  21. Come on people! Wake up!

    Facebook groups (other than this one) don’t just disappear. Name ONE time when this has happened with another group. Funny how this one goes off when X factor is on, then again today … its been off for FOUR HOURS or more.

    Instead of arguing about whether this is right or not someone should be asking why Facebook, who can keep a website with 750 MILLION USERS online with no glitches cannot keep a group 1 100th of the size of that online because it looks to me as though they aren’t trying too hard.

    • I know one, similar situation. An MP set up a group PROMOTING video games, violent or not in the whole “No Russian” mission row on Modern Warfare 2. I searched it up to join and it had “magically” dissapeared.

  22. I would love to know where your information has come from for this ‘breaking news’?, considering 700,000 people don’t know what is going on with the group, how do you know?..

    Basically, I think someone from this site has tried to go onto the group, realised it has gone down and then DECIDED that must mean it has shut down?, well it has been going down every day as Facebook can’t handle the amount of traffic.

    Jump to false conclusions before finding out the facts?, ah I love the media.

    Oh well, RAGE FOR CHRISTMAS.

  23. This is BS. Sucks to be The Global Herald when FB’s attorneys read this.

  24. Master of the Universe

    Josh are you a member of staff for FB, if so please F Off, if not get back to ya X factor.
    It is all very convenient that the group has gone down in the final moments of the TV trash.
    Its a possibility that a bung has been passed, more chance of that than the ‘bug’ explanation as there are larger groups running perfectly on the site.

  25. take this article down i say, it being obscenely wrong and whatnot

  26. I find this article very strange . Why on earth would facebook close down a group which is giving them so much positive publicity, regarding both the power of the internet , and their support of Shelter? Facebook have stated that the problems are due to the traffic on the site. Mr Editor , apart from your link to Shelter , one would think that you’re an x factor fan.

  27. Hi there…i’m the founder of the original group.

    Firstly, the group went down last night in which a member of facebook’s PR team contacted to say it was a “bug”

    Later in the evening the group returned as normal, but now it’s gone yet again I do start to be concerned. If anything I have some media interviews coming up and it wouldn’t look particularly good for facebook if they have indeed pulled it. If not anything for the fact that it slows down rapidly our charity donations (£21,000 so far)

    I’m awaiting a response once again from facebook and I’d hope it will be a swift one. In the interim, we’ve set up a ‘back up’ group and have already gained 81,000 members as a precaution. (http://bit.ly/thexfactor)

    i’ll keep you posted

    • Editor

      Thanks for the comment – we also contacted Facebook, who have not (unlike each previous occasion) confirmed this as a ‘bug’.

    • I’m not convinced this is a bug. Why is there no longer any mention of my joining the original RATM xmas No.1 group on my profile page??? It looks like facebook are trying to hide the group to me.

      • I had the url saved for the buy the rage against the machine song. and look what it comes up with when i type in the url
        http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=194432481914&ref=nf
        plus the only other time i’ve been redirected to the home page was when i was trying to access a persons profile without realising they’d left facebook and their profile no longer exists. In all fairness it does look like someone has taken the group offline and it’s not a bug!

  28. It went down for a few hours yesterday too (including not showing up in searches etc), it will be back.

    The official back-up group is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=ts&gid=37655682127

  29. Trust me it hasn’t been shut down, this happened yesterday, it didnt show in searches and then came back. Why would they shut it? Theres groups much more sinister on facebook but its about freedom of speech on there!

  30. yawn!!!! do some research before you publish something like this Spoken to facebook have you? thought not.

  31. Although more likely that the sheer amount of traffic has caused as per previous days please could you mention the official “Back up” group with 85k members at

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=37655682127

    Cheers and a Happy Raging Xmas 🙂

  32. EPIC FAIL, Gremlins on the FB server, Been happening all weekend

  33. Robin, because of the massive amount of traffic the group crashes about once a day and removes itself temporarily. It’ll be up again later today.

  34. It hasn’t been shut down. It’s just gone down because of traffic, just like it has done loads of times. The publicity no radio 1 probably sent the servers over the edge again!

  35. What is this all about? It’s not shut down at all, it is just down because of the huge amount of people visiting the group/page.

    Facebook will have it back up soon as this has happened for the group a fair few times in the last week.

    • the group isnt present in any Facebook searches and it aint showing up anywhere in my profile

      It looks to me like its been shut down??? wtf

  36. This article doesn’t mention the money that this campaign has raised for shelter:
    Over £21,000 so far!

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