The time Facebook blocked me from posting and lessons learned

So, I’ve returned from an 8 day posting hiatus imposed upon me by the goliath that is Facebook. What follows are my thoughts, not necessarily cohesive, on these last eight days.

About 8 days ago, I shared a previously recorded live video (via the URL) to two forums I maintain on Facebook. Ironically (IMHO), the video was about How to Download A Copy of Your Facebook Profile. (Somebody tell me that isn’t ironic.) Seconds after sharing this video, I went to respond to someone in one of the forums on an unrelated post and was told something to the effect of “Sorry, you can’t do that.” Further investigation revealed I had been restricted from posting to or joining FB groups due to “using the system in a way that was suspicious, even if you didn’t intend to.”

Was it the FB live video I shared?

Was it the number of posts I’d made during the day?

I am still not sure.

I also received a notification that the post(s) I’d just made were potential spam (again, the irony given the nature of the video). I was offered an opportunity to dispute this and did. The system agreed: they were not spam. However, this did not lift the restriction.

I was presented with the option to appeal the restriction, which I did, asking for human assistance, as well. No such assistance was forthcoming (I know, I am but one of 1 BILLION users). However, the part that galled me (equal to the system agreeing I didn’t spam but still restricting me) was that when I appealed the decision (and apparently lost), the restriction was extended.

I experimented with this and there seemed to be a direct correlation to the “appeal”, followed by an extension of several hours for the ban. This was, as I may have mentioned, quite galling. Offer me the opportunity to appeal a bad decision, then penalize me for doing so? Bad form, Facebook. Bad form.

Overall, there are a couple of lessons I learned from this:

  1. Be extremely careful with your posts. There is no appeal to the Gods of Facebook. I tried. I was penalized for it. Research into this issue showed the appeals are entirely based on algorithms with no human intervention. I think Facebook has something of an obligation given their power to make this process less…clinical.
  2. Appealing to the same Gods results in extensions of the ban. This is perhaps the most galling part of this 8 days. That they penalize you for appealing is just…aggravating.
  3. No humans apparently work for Facebook. See above.
  4. We are the product, not the consumer. This experience showed me we are data, not people, to this platform. I don’t believe myself to be special but I have given Facebook a lot of my time and attention. I am going to work on lessening this.
  5. My business is more reliant on this platform than I am comfortable with. I interact with people on Facebook; it’s what I do and a large part of how I generate new business and maintain my existing business. I have to work on that.
  6. It was kind of nice not being able to post as I was then not compelled to.

More to follow, I just wanted and needed to get this out there. For fear of the Gods of Facebook, I shall not be sharing this to their platform.