Dear Facebook: You’re Being an Asshat

Dear Facebook,

I admit, I'm not your biggest fan user.

Oh yes, I have an account with you and I do pop in to visit now and again.  I don't, however, spend much time with you.  

I have other, bigger, social media outlets.

For instance, I love Twitter!

I've made some great "real life" friends on Twitter.  

Not only that, but Twitter has allowed me to get to know some of my 24 readers and for them to get to know me.  

Twitter is also the new Google.

Sort of.

I ask Twitter questions and I get (fast) answers.

And of course, in addition to Twitter …

There's Twenty Four At Heart.  

My heart and soul are here on 24.  You might say I have an intimate relationship with my blog.  Who knew this little ol' space could become such a huge, important, part of my life?  Twenty Four At Heart is, in many ways, my soulmate.

Maybe that's where the problem came in, Facebook?  Maybe you're jealous of my other relationships loyalties and decided to pout and make my life miserable?

Please let me know when you're over it, and ready to resume a more positive relationship.

Yours truly,

Suzanne/Twenty Four At Heart

You can imagine my surprise when I stopped into Facebook for a peek the other day and was told I'd been reported for linking to "abusive content."

Um, what the hell?

With a little more digging, I was told someone had "reported" Twenty Four At Heart for containing "abusive content" and I was notified I would not be allowed to link to my own blog again.

Now, let's think for a minute …

What would be "abusive content" on Facebook?

Well, an example might be a male pedophile posing as a 12 year old girl and then using Facebook to lure young girls to meet him.  Certainly, I can understand Facebook shutting someone like that down.  Lying about who you are, and representing yourself as something you're not, would be considered abusive content.

I was shocked, absolutely floored, when I began researching Facebook's procedures on reports of abusive content.

If someone reports another Facebook user as abusive, Facebook just BAM! shuts the accused person/website down.  Facebook apparently doesn't CHECK to see if the content by that user is, in fact, "abusive."  Facebook just assumes there's a reason to censor the person, and does.

There is no way to "appeal" the situation if someone reports you for abusive content.

Let's look at a hypothetical example …

Let's pretend I'm a Money Town woman and I absolutely hate that damn chick who writes Twenty Four At Heart.  After all, she makes fun of people like me.  I have plastic boobs, veneers for teeth, a butt implant, a chin implant, cheek implants and enough botox injected into me to last a lifetime.  I make Heidi Montag look like a novice with the number of plastic surgeries she's had.  I tell Facebook Suzanne is posting abusive content, and BAM! she can't link to Twenty Four At Heart ever again.  I'm a liar and a bitch – but Suzanne can't do anything about it so I win.  (I've just put her in the same Facebook category as pedophiles!)

Woo hoo!

Can you imagine how much power this gives to General Asshats, friends/relatives you've had a falling out with, or your exes?  Anyone with a personal vendetta against someone else can create Facebook chaos for you very easily.

I went to Facebook's "Help" link to find out how to correct a bogus report of abuse.

Facebook says:

"If you believe there is no abusive content on the specific website you are trying to post, unfortunately, the web domain that hosts the website has already been identified as abusive."

I'm not convinced the above sentence even makes sense?

The meaning, however, is clear.  You can't do shit about a report of abuse, even if the complaint was completely unfounded.  Someone cried "abusive content" and therefore, you *must be* responsible for abusive content.  Just like that, you're banned from linking on Facebook.

Seriously, Facebook?

Of course, I was very pissed off at this point.  

I researched further by googling people who have experienced the same thing.  I read reports from other Facebook users who were falsely accused of abusive content.  I learned Facebook sometimes arbitrarily removes the restriction without notice or explanation.  (The same way, as a matter of fact, they begin censoring their users.)

Sure enough, about 48 hours later my account was restored back to normal.

Why?

Is it because of the rant I let loose on Twitter about the situation?

Or did my rant have nothing to do with it?  

Did someone look into the situation on my behalf?

I will never know.  

I do know, however, this is a Facebook policy that MUST be changed.  The way accusations of abusive content are handled right now is wrong on so many levels.  

In fact, I think all Facebook users need to be aware of this situation.  

I'm going to go put a link to this blog post on Facebook right now.  

I wonder if Facebook will censor THAT?

© Twenty Four At Heart

17 Responses to “Dear Facebook: You’re Being an Asshat”

  1. Stephen

    A few months ago, my sister talked me into the facebook thing. It’s been ok. Pretty much just a family group of friends with alot of sharing of pics and stories. But,,,,,,,,,,but then there was the whole privacy issue thing. And then they started blocking images of the Gadsen flag which is a symbol of the Tea Party. And then I read a statement about them blocking posts about “state’s rights” and other supposedly controversial issues. Being quite proud of the state of Arizona and our being the tip of the sword lately in regards to immigration issues, I’ve been concerned. I always try to be respectful and considerate of those with opposing viewpoints, but I’m not at all ok with Facebook being in collusion with specific politcal viewpoints and suppressing factual based alternative perspectives. We’ll see.

  2. Kari-Mel

    I hope they don’t block it! I’ve been using FB to catch up with family and friends and it’s been great for me. I hope your situation continues to get better!

  3. Jan

    Some people just need to get a life. My sister recently stepped into the 21st century and got a computer and internet access. She got on Facebook and friended everyone she could find. The next thing I know, she’s ranting on her wall about how the stuff she reads “just makes her sick” and boom – I’m no longer her friend. She won’t return my calls. She won’t respond to my private messages about why. So I blocked her – not only can she not “see” me on Facebook (not even my comments on mutual “friends” walls), I can’t “see” her and it sure makes my life a lot less stressful.
    Moral of this story: Asshat Who Reported Suzanne As “Abusive” – you too can do this. But I guess you wouldn’t get your petty thrill then, would you?

  4. Tami

    Who would do such a mean spirited thing? Such an asshole!

  5. drlori71

    I can’t believe this happened to you. I agree with Sandi – Facebook is the devil. Like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers, I think Facebook’s goal is world domination. They must be stopped! 🙂

  6. Jennifer Kanehl

    Facebook is an angel/devil! I love it and hate it! That is just crazy that you were reported as abusive content. I know they wouldn’t let “The Smart Mama” link up, and she is the wonderful smart woman who broke the story of the McDonald’s glasses with carcinogens on them. Great post, and I love what Jan had to say, makes me feel better about my douche canoe family!!! 🙂

  7. Susan

    I have a friend who works for the State Department over in the former Soviet Union area. Her account was permanently suspended for using a Russian IP address. We guess they thought she was a spammer. No relief for her–we’ve even all emailed in. She had to start a completely new account under a new email and variation of her name. It’s evil but I know I’m addicted.

  8. Jason

    Are you kidding me? This pushes me even further away from an already highly precarious relationship with FB.
    I do not have a Twitter account. Hmmm. If you love it, then maybe I would love it.
    I feel the same way about blogging as you. I feel like FB has stolen the creative mojo from many people.

  9. Jan

    Jennifer – I have two words for my sister: DRAMA. QUEEN.
    Douche canoe. I think that’s now my new favorite phrase.

  10. DuchessOmnium

    Well, I am sorry, but I think what happened was just right.
    Some asshole reported you. Ok, shit happens.
    Facebook quite rightly shut you down. At that stage they didn’t know what was right and what was wrong.
    The shut down was brief. Within 48 hours you were back up and okay.
    Now, from your point of view you lost 48 hours of traffic. That was not good, and you have a right to be pissed off because you are not a paedophile or a pornographer or a con womam or whatever…
    But lets just suppose you were (for a moment) worthy of being reported, and someone reported you to Facebook, but instead of shutting you down, they let you carry on until they had done an investigation. And while you carried on, someone got hurt (or worse).
    I think you are being completely unreasonable. Of course you are rightly angry at whatever twerp reported you. But Facebook is mainly a site for young people, many of whom are very vulnerable.
    I think they took their responsibilities very seriously. You were not seriously harmed and you should lay off. If your kid reported a site (or a person) you would be jolly glad if that person were shut off (temporarily).
    Okay, it isn’t innocent until proven guilty, but no one said the internet had constitutional rights. Facebook has a responsibility to its many teenage participants to take a better safe than sorry attitude. As a mother of a teen I am glad to find they do, even if it cost you two days of trouble!

  11. Carolyn

    Duchess is ridiculous. FB is not primarily teens. Teens use myspace still. FB is more for adults and no one should be able to make false accusations and have them acted on. You aren’t being unreasonable AT ALL. I’d be so pissed if it were me. Whats up the duchess’s butt?

  12. Princesskae4

    The Duchess is 100% right! I absolutely agree that Facebook did the right thing. Her points are so solid, I don’t even have much to add to it – but I will emphasize a couple things.
    1. Yes, it sucks that someone did this – but be mad at THEM not Facebook.
    2. Facebook reacted the right way, someone said the site was abusive. They can’t risk that the person might be making it up, they needed to act immediately. Imagine if they hadn’t and it had really been a bad site and they didn’t shut it down? The entire country would have had a fit! They got you back in 48 hours. Chill out – it’s fixed – focus on the person that did it.
    3. While Facebook does have a large audience of adults – it is open to anyone over 13, which means they need to act like anyone over 13 could be on the site at any point and time. By the way…facebook was also originally started for college kids (some which are under 18) not adults…get your facts straight Carolyn.
    Look, I get it sucks. I would be pissed if this happened too, but the bottom line is that facebook handled this the way that any other company on the planet would if they needed to protect their butts. So lay off facebook and go find the jerk that did this.

  13. Rob

    I’m surprised you got your undies in such a wad (at least when you wear them…)
    Why worry about it? People like you or they won’t.

  14. Christi

    FB has gotten too big too fast and there are a lot of stories like yours out there. When something goes wrong or mistakes are made theres no one to correct them. I’m sorry this happened to you. I’d be livid if I was put into a category w/pedophiles and such too!

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