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Yesterday I was “suspended” from Facebook for 12 hrs. This morning (Thursday 17th Oct. 2013) long after the 12 hr. sentence has expired, I find that I can access my account but I’m not allowed to post because, I’m told, I’ve violated FB’s Community Standards.*

Here is what happened yesterday and it involves two unconnected posts which appeared on Facebook. They were posted several hours apart. The first post was written by me and I was challenging someone who was trying to change the subject of a thread by presenting allegations which could not be checked. The second was a post written by someone else and about which I complained to FB. My objection was genuine but I also wanted to test FB’s attitude to posts of this kind which have become common in Ireland. **

Here’s what I said early in the day and which hours later FB told me violated their Community Standards and warranted my being banned,
“Sandra, It’s always possible to stop a discussion by resorting to a “what about?” It is conservative and prevents reform. Discussion of doctors’ income does not preclude a separate discussion of cllrs’ expenses. However, you cannot make an allegation without at least naming the Cllr because it prevents the figures being checked. Indeed, you should provide a link to the information.”

In the afternoon I submitted an entirely unconnected complaint to Facebook. I complained about a post which suggested violence towards a possible election candidate whose name was mentioned in the thread.
Here’s the post about which I complained in the afternoon,
“Put him in a ward, an intensive care ward.”
Facebook responded saying that this did not breach their Community Standards.

I then posted my complaint together with FB’s response on FB and a discussion ensued about freedom of speech.

Some hours later Facebook informed me that my own morning post (which appears above) was a violation of their Community Standards, that they had removed it and that I was barred from the site for 12 hrs. The 12hrs. have passed and I’m no longer barred but I’m now silenced; I’m not allowed post on FB. I’ve read and reread my words, together with the text of the Community Standards*, and I cannot for the life of me see how it could possibly breach any standard whatsoever.

More interestingly, I’m at a loss to see how my ordinary post could be a violation while the violent post about which I complained could be deemed fine.

I could take all this as a fortunate boost to my street cred; I’m a PhD in my mid-sixties and I’ve been banned by Facebook. Cool or what! I could ask FB to explain but that’s next to impossible. They don’t do phones and one contacts them by filling in on-line forms. However, having filled in the only form that could possibly refer to my suspended account, a message appeared informing me that I had not been disconnected. This morning I had access to a different form and this I managed to send.

It may be a long shot but perhaps someone at Facebook still surfs the net and may find my blog.

_____________________________________________________________
* https://touch.facebook.com/communitystandards?_rdr
** This might be of interest: http://colummccaffery.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/citizens-children-and-social-media-the-problems-arent-new-but-many-parents-are-copping-out/

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2 Comments

  1. I think that post was made by a friend of mine on my wall, I think he meant it as a word play joke , ie election ward, intensive care ward. not all that funny i agree , but knowing the guy as i do for many years and how non violent and usually quick witted he is I took it as a joke as i am sure all those that know him and read it did.
    Im assuming you don’t know him as Im sure if you did you wouldn’t have complained to Facebook .
    It seems ridiculous from what you have written that you where suspended from Facebook, but maybe if you where offended by the post you could have messaged me and i would have removed it for you instead of running to Facebook.

    • Dara, Thanks for that. Whether or not I knew the person would have been irrelevant as I wasn’t reporting it as a credible threat of violence. It wasn’t a matter of being offended (Indeed, I wasn’t offended at all.) and I got the play on the word “ward”. The problem is, that kind of comment is becoming routine on FB and it shouldn’t happen. It was particularly bad in that a potential candidate was actually named on the thread. Some weeks ago I brought another comment to An Garda. That one involved a remark about shooting two public servants whose pictures appeared on the thread. Going that route didn’t give me the opportunity to complain to FB because had they accepted it as valid, they would have removed it, leaving the Gardaí with nothing. This time I reported the post to FB who found nothing wrong with it. That is doubly surprising in that they found an utterly harmless post of mine to have violated their standards.

      Interestingly, I’ve been checking around the web and it seems that reporting ordinary speech as offensive is a common way of silencing people for hours and repetition silences for days.


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