Facebook page dedicated to abolishing TV licence forced off internet

Over 25,000 people ‘liked’ page that gave advice on how to get out of paying to watch television. But were they acting in civil disobedience or was it a sign of society’s breakdown?

A Facebook page showing people how they can avoid paying their TV licence – by giving advice like “Unsubscribe from your media licence: It’s easy and safe!” and “Save nearly 2,500 kroner per year!” –  has disappeared from the social media universe as quickly as it appeared.

Over 25,000 people had liked the ‘Afskaf Licens’ (Abolish licence fees) Facebook page in the past few months, but as of today it has been taken off the network, for violating its terms of use, according to Afskaflicens.dk, a website set up for the same purpose.

TV licences (known nowadays as 'media licences') cost just over 2,400 kroner and must be paid if a household is in possssion of a device – television, computer, smartphone or tablet – that can receive DR content, whether they use those gadgets to view DR’s services or not.

Afkskaf Licens did not indicate whether Facebook had stated why it had taken down the group's page, but criminal justice expert Trine Baumbach said their message amounted to an encouragement to break the law, which is itself an illegal act. She said though, that it would be hard to make a case out of a Facebook page.

“A case like this is usually be too small for prosecutors to bother with, but if someone reports it to DR, they could decide to press charges,” Baumbach told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

DR declined to comment, given that it had not had the chance to review the Facebook page.

There are a number of other Facebook pages dedicated to allowing people to vent frustrations about licence fees, but Mogens Jensen, the culture spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne, said a line should be drawn when they begin encouraging people not to pay it. Such an act, he said, amounted to “a breakdown of society”.