I have had my share of being blocked for 24-hours on Facebook and it recently occurred again when a post declared that all refugees should be left to die as it was the will of nature and God and all that. It was an UGLY post. I did the usual: post a derisive meme in response. In this case it was a man in the 1950s pointing his young son’s attention toward something in the unseen distance of the frame, and emblazoned with the words: “Look Son, An Idiot.” What else can you say to such calls for violence, which just fan the flames of hate and exacerbate a dire situation.
My reply didn’t stop there, because I believe that such words need to be faced down. Left alone, they only help build extremism, giving it weightier merit for those who already believe the sentiments behind the things said, but also those who remain uncertain waiting to be swayed with the tide of public opinion. I was one of many who jumped on this disgusting excuse for a human being, showing that there are still those who are not willing to let irrational hatred stain our world with still more blood. I can’t tell you if any of them got the axe from Facebook. But, I was reported for the ironic statement I made in return. Perhaps the original poster was reported, and, then somehow reported others on the post in retaliation. Oh, honey. Nobody has time for that. In fact, I can’t even get back to the post to see if his statement calling for the murder of thousands still stands. I can only guess it was removed. Because of that, if he was reported and his comment taken down, he would not be able to return to the post either. That means, someone else, likely someone who supported his sentiment, did the reporting. I regret not having a screen-capture of the post to share! That said, I have lots of other screen-caps of things said to me online, which were not all deemed worthy of being taken down by Facebook, as my ironic post back to a man calling for the euthanization of all Syrian refugees, explicitly children. (You can also check that link to see screen-caps of items sent to me by other users and reports I’ve made that have been okay’d by Facebook but violate their standards.)
That said, Facebook does have access to these posts. I’m not an idiot to believe that all of this stuff ever gets permanently deleted, considering they need to keep records for the FBI should someone end up missing or murdered. This very reasoning to keep records has been brought up in the past. If you follow the news, or you can google it, Facebook posts have been key evidence in several crimes since it began. On top of this claim to not have the information, representatives (0r are they all bots?) claim that they supposedly cannot reverse a 24-hour ban ruling from their automated bots, which are used to assess the language of a post. And that, folks, is how they support the trolls.
Each, individual post is assessed without context.
The reporting function, mainly overseen by ‘bots,’ doles out judgment incapable of examining the nuance of each statement. I can’t even reply back to them that this was a mistake or appeal the decision (you can but it doesn’t go to anyone, it’s collected as feedback). There is no recourse. Nor, do they want to listen, if you access the help section, which is impossible to navigate. To Facebook, their users are all instantly assumed to be a bunch of pubescent whiners, and their requests and rebuttals are ignored.
I reiterate, the bots ban anyone who is reported, regardless of why, the tone or any other nuance a bot cannot understand as it’s made of algorithms and binary. All anyone has to do is click on the post to hide/delete it, and then select report post. If a post is reported as spam, the person is automatically banned for 24 hours without looking into the matter. If the post is reported for inappropriate content, it is analyzed by a program and the person is banned for 24 hours (0r more depending how many times a report has been filed against them). The problem here is that human speech and communication is not just letters on a page that flatly mean what they say. Facebook seems to think that this is the case, as their bots are programmed for word searching, and any and all emotional nuance or conversational anomalies are ignored. Is it possible that they farmed their customer service and reporting mechanism out to a third party, one that employs people for peanuts and uses non-native speakers? Why would these people care at all? I’d imagine I wouldn’t if I were paid $0.50 an hour, but that is a whole other human rights issue. Considering the Facebook policy on online abuse, it wouldn’t surprise me if this third party scenario is exactly the case, mixed in with programs and bots.
This practice of utilizing bots to manage human communication allows bullies to stalk and harass their victims unhindered, virtually shutting down anyone they have fixated upon. What this spells for victims of in person or virtual stalking (and other harassment) is zero access to your Facebook account, cutting you off from the outside world in a lot of cases. This is exactly what bullies and stalkers are attempting to accomplish.
Facebook further warns the target that if they continue to breech protocol, they could have their page permanently disabled, turning a ban that lasts 24-hours from the time you try to sign in (not from the time they assess the comment, so technically the ban is much much longer than 24-hours) to permanent. This is the ultimate goal of harassers. Trolls, above all, think this is great and are very adept at using your words and the rules against you to get there.
Trolls and bullies are notorious for opening up dummy accounts from which to harass others, until those people have their carefully cultivated pages put in the dumper. Anita Sarkeesian comes to mind, among many others. And, Facebook doesn’t care. Have you ever tried using Facebook’s help section to deal with such a situation (or any situation on Facebook)? What a joke that is! Let’s put it this way, I dumped Yahoo as my web host for the same structure. Basically, this is a work around to not having a customer service staff. The site is free, after all, unless you pay for ads (and don’t let me get started on how much of a scam that deal is, unless you’re a major corporation like Verizon).
Don’t you know that Facebook is stalking around looking for fake accounts? In fact, I do. I have a friend who has had his shorts yanked up a few times for portraying himself as his re-enactment persona so people will recognize him from the meets, and I know of transgender and religious figures who want to keep their personal identity a secret, as their lives are at risk with that information out there. Facebook has been shutting them down and outing them, at the request of none other than the trolls who report them. It creates a very dangerous situation for many people.
Doesn’t the troll page get reported? Are you kidding me with that question? They rely on you and me to report them, and how the hell are we supposed to know that Susie Smith isn’t Susie Smith when Susie Smith has all the details filled in? Or, why would I report a page using a pseudonym, when this could be someone who requires that for their safety? They might be ass holes, but I am not willing to do something that might get them physically harmed. Those I have reported as being scams and fakes, I am told that they’ve looked into the report and the page doesn’t violate their terms of service. So, fat lot of good their policy does here. But, that’s what you get when bots run the show and you rely on a public reporting that is easily abused.
Aside: By now you probably want to know what I said that got me banned. I warn you, not one person has been able to decipher why the bot agreed with the person that I was supposedly harassing or how I had violated policy. They were able to read the irony of my statement—irony being a commonly used debate device to throw an opponents own logic back at them, in order to show how ludicrous an idea is and discredit their stance.
What I wrote: “Mrs. C…. should have been euthanized but hindsight is 20/20.” This was my written, ironic response to the original post calling for the deaths of thousands of Syrian refugee children because the son of Mrs. C felt that we should discriminate against a group of people for being brown, Muslim, and running for their lives. The last time we allowed such blind hatred, 6,000,000 million people died. Yet, we look back with remorse and messages of never forget to salve our lies and betrayal of all those people who suffered for our prejudice and complacency. It appears we HAVE forgotten. We’re more interested in curbing irony than violence, to uphold a call for hate than a call to reason through ironic device. Oddly enough, I don’t think anyone would mind saying that someone should have killed Hitler’s mother before she gave birth to him, as his life resulted in the end of so many, and the mass destruction of Europe, the shame of Germany and so on. But, yeah, I’m a horrible person for pointing out that C’s mom could have been the end point of him ever being able to call for the murder of innocent children and people seeking a safe refuge from terrorism, because of his Mein Kempf.
The video on this page is a lecture on irony. I recommend paying close attention to minute 16 and 22, to understand the style of debate in which I was engaged—highlighting the absurdity of C’s call to murder children so he can feel safe, by stating that it’s as just to have murdered his mother to prevent his birth and subsequent call for murder of children. And, sadly, there are those who don’t think facing C’s rhetoric with anything is necessary, because that just feeds a troll, and yet silence was embraced in 1937 up to about 1941 resulting in the empowerment of dangerous bullies.
Back to the point:
Let’s put this into some other context. Facebook policy disregarded a post I reported several years ago comparing a black child to a gorilla as racist—nothing wrong with that post according to the Bot. I had two death threats earlier this year—a-OK here, too. On numerous occasions, I have been harassed with some of the most disgusting things said to anyone. I don’t bother reporting it anymore because Facebook will tell me it doesn’t violate their policy. In addition, People were trading child pornography and others were sharing explicit videos from YouTube—this is just fine by Facebook standards. None of this violated their policy and I was left, time and again, wondering what kind of standards they do have. Obviously, bigotry and bullying is okay.
Is it okay because it’s the reality of what Facebook agrees with? Instead of bots being behind it all, are there staff members who review these, and their personal judgment is the ruling? Who are these people? I ask these questions because a more recent incident resulted in retaliation by Facebook against me. I will get to that in a moment, but this IS the message I am getting from several years of experience with reporting posts and being reported for my posts. The logical supposition here is that Mark Zuckerberg’s company thinks it’s chill to call for the euthanasia of Syrian children and to liken black people to apes. Men’s rights groups still rain down terror on anyone using #feminism. And, child porn is all right by them, unless you force them to remove it by ganging up with a lot of reports. My conclusion, and this has been whispered about by many groups who have been subjected to the slant: Racism/Sexism is alive and well in the actions of the website. I cringe when they call Zuckerberg a liberal. Or, is the man asleep at the wheel?
About the 24-hour ban: should you manage to reach out to customer service, you get back a message that Facebook can’t reverse the ruling. This has lead me to ask other questions, which insinuate a stratification of services from Facebook. For instance, how then do celebrities cope with being banned constantly? Or, is their page flagged with a DNB (Do Not Ban) algorithm the bot can skip over them with? I assume that there are quite a few turkeys out there who fixate on celebrities (just read through the comments on any of their posts. You’ll meet quite a few depraved people) and report their posts for being spam or offensive constantly. Yet, the little folk, once again, are presumed guilty until proven innocent and no sentences are ever commuted. Sound familiar? Happy to take your money but provide no service (I’ve paid for ads, so I have invested in this machine). Don’t forget the threat to watch your step. Like you can when ass holes are out there clicking on your comments reporting you because they’re trying to get you banned, because the irony of that post called out their hypocrisies and pure evil attitudes for what they are. Facebook helps them out by burying you.
The best anyone can do is reply back to the ruling. How do you do this? It’s not easy! They make it very hard to contact them at all. So, when you try to post after such a ruling is brought down, this option comes up: if you believe this is a mistake. Read the text box that comes up letting you know you don’t have privileges to post for the next 24 hours, and that link is located in that box. I’m absolutely sure this goes absolutely no where. Remember, they can’t reverse the ruling, and this is what I clicked on to hear this every time I have had a post reported. Because Facebook doesn’t want to chat with its users, they are at the mercy of trolls and bullies. (When I replied to this pop up about being blocked for the Mr. C incident, I disclosed that I planned to write this article. I also followed up by creating a meme illustrating the facts and my conclusions and sharing it widely-see above).
On December 17, I was notified that I would be banned again, for three days this time. My crime? I didn’t do a thing wrong. I was commenting on the Christmas Card issue. You know, the image where the man and his son are so happy they have bound and gagged Mom and the the two sisters. (Did you know that Zuckerberg had this picture banned because of public outcry, but why? As it doesn’t violate any standards? See the arbitrary standards now?) Many are arguing about how this perpetuates abuse. As a person who often writes about and has survived abuse, I totally understand this argument. Do you remember that image I shared above? The one with the woman cowering, the text reading that women deserve equal rights (and lefts)? I posted that image along with text explaining how I had reported it in the past and Facebook found it did not violate their standards. Once again, what standards? The caption I wrote was: I know what you mean, (username redacted). I reported this image on one occasion but was told it didn’t violate the standards. What standards, you have to ask? More than twenty four hours later, in the middle of the day on the 17th, I get locked out of my account again.
What can you do? You can contact Facebook, they give you links, or go through the help. This is what ensued…
I told them that I would continue to open the case until I was heard by a real person. I woke up this morning to find that I had now been banned from using chat, as well, which I had been able to use up until this point, for the remaining 13 hours of the ban. No response on my last inquiry either. Facebook had retaliated against my legitimate complaint.
This on the heels of Zuckerberg claiming to support Syrian refugees and wanting to put a stop to the rhetoric calling for their abuse and murder. This after he banned the “Christmas Card.” This on the heels of the birth of his daughter, he ignores the further abuse of victims of violence. His team double-downed on my being silenced, adding in their additional retaliation. What kind of message does this send to victims of violence? It tells us that we have no right to speak back. And, do you really think that this dis-empowers a troll? In fact, this is exactly what they’re looking for. Thanks, Facebook, for helping out the trolls.
Facebook Bots are the tools of trolls used to control the rhetoric online, as well as rein terror for the titillation of it, and Facebook isn’t doing a damn thing about it. All of the suicides and destruction done to people through social media stack up on this company’s proverbial policy shoulders and they come back with: we’re sorry for the inconvenience our non-sentient bot has caused analyzing the words of your post, as it is incapable of detecting sarcasm or whit, but we cannot reverse the decree of your banning. Translate that to: Sorry, sucker. We couldn’t care less. Free app. Live with it.
Well, that is fine so long as we the people see through the charade of Mark Zuckerberg campaigns to promote tolerance of Syrian refugees and pro-feminist spots, because he now has a daughter and wife that magically changed him. There is a lovely article out there about how giving millions away also is just a tactic of the wealthy to curry public favor (something else I’ve discussed at length and comes as no surprise). So, Zuckerberg and others are no longer able to fool the masses.
Like I mentioned above, I assume celebrities and other notable persons are subject to the same rules (please taste the sarcasm in that statement), and therefore should be unable to run a Facebook page effectively because the bots are responding to all those butt-hurt reports from the trolls. Yet, there they are, functioning just fine. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure they can reverse the ruling. Doubly sure they don’t give a rat’s ass to do so for anyone who isn’t a notable person.
Facebook, it appears, is on the side of the troll. Indeed, it is NOT the first time and this will continue until we demand that they assess the issue appropriately. In the meantime, the rest of us must sit it out as we’re retaliated against and silenced for bringing up truth.