Versace has shut down posting to its Facebook Page after activists covered its Wall with messages protesting the Italian fashion house's use of sandblasting, a technique for giving denim a worn look.
Dozens of messages linking to the campaign appeared on the brand's Wall last month after a petition to stop Versace's "killer jeans" appeared on protest platform Change.org.
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The anti-sandblasting messages on Versace's Facebook Wall have been deleted. The company's half a million Facebook fans can no longer freely post to the brand's Wall, although they can still leave comments on content posted by Versace itself.
Sandblasting is highly dangerous to workers, says Change.org, which hosted the petition on behalf of human labor rights group Clean Clothes Campaign.
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The process requires firing sand under high pressure, and has been known to kill workers in Turkey and Bangladesh. (Turkey banned sandblasting in 2009.) Anyone who inhales large amounts of silica dust can contract a lethal pulmonary disease called silicosis.
Several major brands, including Levi's, H&M and Gucci, have already cut sandblasted denim from their collections.
Patrick McGregor, group director of communications at Versace, told Mashable that Versace's denim is manufactured in Italy in accordance with the country's safety regulations. No lawsuits have been filed in the matter, he said.
Should Brands Let Fans Post on Their Walls?
The incident underlines a broader debate about best practices for brands on Facebook, particularly those in the luxury market.
In a recent survey of luxury brands, researchers at digital think tank L2 criticized Burberry for preventing fans from posting on its Wall. L2 saw that as a sign that Burberry was not yet ready to "abandon command and control."
Fashion brand DKNY, which briefly prevented fans from posting on its Page after a PETA protest, reached a compromise by allowing fans to post freely on its Page -- but keeps their content half-hidden in the "Most Recent" tab on its Wall. Posts by the brand are displayed on the main Wall tab.
That sounds like a decent compromise, but not one Versace is willing to try. For now, Versace fans will only be able to leave messages in the comments sections of Versace's posts, says McGregor.
How do you think brands should handle interactions on their Facebook Walls? Should fans' posts appear on the default tab of a brand's Facebook Wall, or in a separate tab?
This story originally published on Mashable here.