Facing Facebook

I use Facebook primarily to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe. I don’t spend much time scrolling or reading – in fact, sometimes I take far too long to respond even to comments & private messages.

A Wilderness of Peace usually involves politics, news, & other current affairs. For the most part, I’d like to say I’ve been fairly laid back, except in regards to matters I deem to be unjust or scandalous: in those cases I’ve been forthright & uncompromising. I know I’ve said some very strong words about very powerful people. But, I have never advocated violence, harassment, abuse, criminality, or anything that would – for example – breach Facebook’s Community Standards. Such actions are counterproductive to any of the causes I hold dear, and entirely out of my character.

Outside of polling days, I keep politics off my homepage: I set up a dedicated page to that blog for that reason. Every time I write a new post, I post a link on my blog. Yesterday, Facebook did not allow me to do this.

Other readers have contacted me, saying they could not post links either. After a bit of digging, I found some further information: a Facebook friend attempted to post a link, but their message was different from mine: “Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.” I don’t understand why the message I received gave no information as to what was against Community Standards, but the message a reader received more specifically cited abusive content. What is going on?

To have your own website blocked with no explanation, let alone warning, on the grounds of something as serious as abuse is bad enough. But to not know why? With no opportunity to appeal, no route to identify the offending content & remove it, no way to make things right? I recognise that politics can be a tricky subject. But the idea Facebook’s solution to an abusive website (I have to think it’s a mistake, but how can I when I don’t know what specifically was being objected to?) is to simply lock it out without any attempt to contact the site in question?

The page for my Facebook is just called “A Wilderness of Peace.” It lists this blog’s address as the external website. You would think that there would be some method of contacting the page publisher with a short message explaining “this page has been found in violation of Community Standards,” and highlighting and quoting the offending content. That’s how other social media platforms work. Yet I’m completely at a loss as to not only who I’ve offended, but what I’ve written that was offensive – abusive, even.

To be clear: if I did write something abusive, I will not hesitate to remove it and apologise unreservedly. I invite the complainant to contact me via the comments to tell me exactly what they found objectionable, and I will see what could be done. It’s entirely possible that this is an automated service that misread the context of one of my posts – I do include quotations from some truly appalling sources without in any way endorsing them.

But if I don’t know what that abuse was, then what good can come of the situation at all?

5 thoughts on “Facing Facebook

  1. Jim McArthur says:

    Within a few minutes of attempting to share your excellent article (Abusive? Seriously?) I asked Facebook to review the article. Still awaiting the decision.

  2. Jim McArthur says:

    Okay – Facebook won’t let me share this article either.

    • Jim McArthur says:

      Sorry. I should have realised that from your article, but forgot as I’d read it a few hours ago and it was in a queue to be shared/tweeted.

    • Lesley M says:

      Copy and paste…you’ll lose the links and videos but get the text…perhaps a PC will retain links and videos but my iPad would only copy and paste the text.

  3. Lesley M says:

    Facebook wouldn’t let me share your post about the Tory ‘contenders’ for the position of Prime Minister. You are being suppressed and gagged I fear, because nothing at all in that post was remotely offensive or abusive. It was just the truth, and someone or some organisation didn’t like the truth being out there.
    So I copied and pasted to get round the Facebook ban. Lost the links and videos but got the gist out there. More power to your elbow.

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