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Facebook temporarily removes Black Market Dudley’s page

The owners of Black Market, a pop-up meeting place for black businesses, were disturbed by the "White Lives Matter" graffiti discovered Tuesday on the side of their building
The owners of Black Market, a pop-up meeting place for black businesses, were disturbed by the "White Lives Matter" graffiti discovered Tuesday on the side of their building(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

The owners of Black Market Dudley, a pop-up market that caters mostly to entrepreneurs of color, expressed frustration Friday after Facebook temporarily shut down their business’s page.

The incident followed controversy over “White Lives Matter” graffiti found scrawled on their business’s outside wall. But Facebook “mistakenly took down the page” for a different reason, said a company spokeswoman, Annie Demarest, in a Friday afternoon e-mail.

“We have republished the page and have apologized to the page owner,’’ Demarest said.

The owners, Kai Grant and her husband, Christopher Grant, said they discovered the vandalism earlier this week and have likened it to a hate crime. Detectives in Boston Police Department’s civil rights unit are investigating, police said.

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On Thursday the couple began getting complaints from supporters that they couldn’t open the Facebook page or it had been taken down, Kai Grant said.

Around 6 a.m. Friday, she said Christopher Grant got a text message alerting them to a post on the Turtleboysports.com blog calling the “White Lives Matter” vandalism the “latest fake hate crime.”

The post said readers of the blog noticed that Google Earth images “clearly show the White Lives Matter ‘Hate Speech’ graffiti in Roxbury was already there in July,” and “we took down their Facebook page for hate speech.”

A Google street view image shows the word “WHITE” in graffiti on the side of the building in an image taken in July 2017. It is unclear in the time-stamped image whether the rest of the words were graffitied then because a fence obscures parts of the wall. The market has been open since June.

Kai Grant said she and her husband learned only Friday that the writings might have been there since last summer, she said.

“We didn’t say when the [graffiti was put] there,’’ she said Friday. “We only said when we discovered it.”

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She said she received notification from Facebook on Friday morning saying that Black Market Dudley’s page was being unpublished “for sharing pornographic content, which goes against Facebook Community Standards.”

Grant said she believes the notice was in reference to a posting she had shared on Instagram – and instantly shared via Facebook — that had a stock photograph of an African tribe including women with exposed breasts. She had used the posting to thank her supporters.

The Facebook spokeswoman did not specify the reason for why it mistakenly took down the page.

The turtleboysports.com blog said it reported the Facebook page’s post on the White Lives Matter graffiti and included what it said was a notice from Facebook saying Black Market Dudley’s page was taken down.

A Turtleboysports blogger, who identified herself only as Abigail H. from Pembroke, said, in direct messages via Twitter to the Globe, that the time-stamped images on Google show the words were written months ago.

“This was clearly done in an attempt to get free advertising for their grand opening [this weekend] and it’’ worked, wrote Abigail H., whose Twitter handle is @TurtleboyNews. She said Facebook’s removal process is arbitrary.

Kai Grant, seated in her Dudley Square business Friday afternoon, said the market, which began last summer, will go on as planned this weekend.


Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.