I’m currently banned from Facebook for 24 hours, and it’s one of the two worst days of the year for me. Today, my oldest daughter, who committed suicide, would have turned 30. I’ll get through it. The excitement of a new car helps, although I am still mourning my Wrangler. It sucks, though, because I really like talking to people today. Social media really helped in the days, weeks, and now years following her death. Having friends online that I could post something and would start a conversation like we were somewhere together was huge for me during that time.
What got me banned? I posted a link to my review Stupid White Men by Michael Moore and I got flagged for hate speech. Seriously. It wasn’t my first infraction. I got “warned” earlier this year on a comment I made on an African-American’s repost of a news article about all the white people who call the police on black people just being themselves. I said “I hate white people” and got a warning for hate speech.
P.S., I’m white. White as you can get. I’ve had my DNA done and yup, all white. Not even a little North African in there like what comes in on my kids’ DNA from their father. Nope, all white, all European.
There’s no appealing these decisions. It’s done by a bot. In their notice, Facebook claims the reason there is no human review has to do with COVID. I call bullshit. I am a vacation rental reservations, sales, and IT person for a company in Florida. If I can work from home, people can do that work by reviewing what a bot flags at home. Mark Zuckerberg is just trying to have his cake and eat it too by saying he’s not tolerating hate speech, but not really dedicating any money to it.
My friend Alex Diaz-Granados, whose blog you might have seen me link to, went through something similar. He was posting links to his other blog on Facebook and got flagged for posting spam. We think there was a specific person who might have been reporting him for posting the link in a certain group that he and I managed, but there was no appealing this to anyone – he was simply notified by Facebook he wouldn’t be allowed to post any links to his blog on Facebook anymore, and there was no appealing it. That was devastating to his hit counts, which is why he started the new, WordPress blog.
The only good thing to come out of it, was I was inspired to start my own WordPress blog, and here we are.
The lack of humans working at Facebook reviewing reported or flagged content is a serious issue and a big problem. I see plenty of real hate speech all over the place that never gets removed because it doesn’t fit what the bots are coded to look for. Reporting it is useless. A bunch of us in a Disney group reported the group for all of the hate speech going on in it, and nothing was done. We were told they didn’t meet the standards for hate speech when it’s all there, it’s just not in certain trigger words.
This is nothing new, of course. As I researched trying to see if there were lists anywhere of phrases to avoid, I came across news article after news article citing how minorities were being victimized by the hate speech algorithm and yet white people were being protected. Here’s just one:
Business Insider is a pretty reputable source. My personal opinion is Facebook chose to court certain groups of people, knowing that’s where the profit was while trying to give themselves plausible deniability.
Unfortunately, with my friends on Facebook and my business, leaving Facebook isn’t an option for me. If there were a serious alternative, I’d take it in a minute. The support I’ve gotten on there from my friends through the years has been invaluable to me.
It sucks that it’s today of all days that they banned me.