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:
- 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.
- 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.
- No humans apparently work for Facebook. See above.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.