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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Facebook says MSN and The Guardian write obscene stories

Today I woke up like any other day. I took a shower, made coffee and sat down to check on what new form of censorship facebook was going to impose upon our Facebook page and me

To my amazement, facebook deleted our facebook page in the middle of the night. We had over 11,000 likes.

Why? Because of a link from MSN that I posted 21 months ago. That is correct, 21 months ago. The link was almost 2 years old. Facebook sent me an e-mail in the middle of the night saying that my post of the MSN link was obscene. That means Facebook is telling the world that they have to protect Facebook followers from MSN's obscene stories by deleting the link and me.

Does Bill Gates know MSN writes obscene stories? What is even more amazing is after 21 months, the MSN link is no longer active, so you couldn't even read the original obscen story even if you wanted too.

This came on top of yesterday my getting a warning and a deletion of a post and link from The Guardian. Again Facebook said that we violated community standards and posted obscene material. This is The Guardian link:

Apparently The Guardian writing about people sleeping naked in bed is extremely obscene. They wrote, "There was another thing that prompted this train of thought – a YouGov survey apparently shows that 21% of people aged 60 and over wear nothing in bed, compared with 6% of 18- to 24-year-olds." Further the Guardian dared to upset social mores by showing a picture of a man's bare shoulder getting a tattoo and a woman's bare shoulder.

In January, Facebook banned me from posting for 30 days for sharing a a nudist cartoon saying it was pornographic. I appealed 3 times and never heard back from facebook. Now a friend posted this SAME cartoon, had it deleted, appealed and facebook agreed with him that it was funny and not pornographic. What gives?

Facebook says we violate community standards. Who's community? MSN is one of the most popular websites on the internet. Obviously they thought the story they wrote was newsworthy and did not violate community standards. And The Guardian is one of the most respected newspapers in England.

Sometimes it feels like facebook is out to get nudists. Maybe we should all wear tin foil hats everytime we power up our computers to see if our accounts are still open?

I am in very good company. Here are examples of Facebook censorship:

Facebook says they don't allow the promoting of violence and hatred. Yet, they allow sites such as "I hate Israel" and "I hate America." these are still up. Facebook found itself recently having to explain why it had censored images of women breastfeeding yet allows beheadings to remain on its network.

Time and time again, Facebook has demonstrated startling double standards in what it chooses to remove and they block and ban first without contacting you. Back in Jan 2011, film critic Roger Ebert's Facebook page was disabled because of allegedly “abusive comments.” A number of Facebook users had flagged his page as “abusive” after he wrote a tweet critical of Ryan Dunn, an actor who died in a drunk driving accident. If it wasn't for the fact that Ebert was famous and wrote about this, he never would have gotten his FB page reinstated.

The New Yorker Magazine in Sept 2012 had their facebook page temporarily banned by what they called Nipplegate. An artist used two dots for nipples on a female cartoon character. This was enough for facebook censors to ban them. Of course when the New Yorker wrote about this banning, media around the world covered the story and Facebook was a laughing stock. They had to publicly apologize to the new Yorker. Here's the link to this story:

Do you remember when facebook had to publicly apologize for banning a photo of a dolls nipples?

Or how about in March 2013 when Facebook censored an art piece on the Facebook page of the Jeu de Paume, the famous Paris Art Museum. As CNET wrote: "Some might find that describing Facebook's policy toward breasts as lunacy would be insulting to lunatics.
The company explains that it is merely a medium like any other and therefore follows certain standards.
Yet the amount of sheer hate which Facebook allows on its site -- the company defends it as "free speech" -- might boggle certain reasonable minds and certainly wouldn't grace The New York Times.
From Holocaust Denial groups to "I Hate Those Indian Muslims Who Love Pakistan," the company insists that it may personally find such groups repellent, but defends their right to express extreme views.
Yet a highly respected museum is unable to post precisely the sorts of images that highly respected museums house on a regular basis."

Finally you can see the "pornographic" picture of Mary Clare in front of a computer. This picture was deleted maybe 3 years ago and my account was deleted shortly there after. I am on maybe my 3rd or 4th facebook account. Why? More bare skin is shown on prime time TV than in this photo. Obviously this photo is NOT pornographic.

People say Facebook is a private company. If you don't like their weird, unevenly enforced censorship rules, just go somewhere else. And increasingly, people are abandoning Facebook in droves. But, Facebook is a monopoly. With over a billion members, Facebook is the place to go to when you want to make public comments.

Saying "if you don't like Facebook, don't use it" is like telling Rosa Parks, if you don't like sitting in the back of the bus, then walk or start your own bus company. Not realistic or practical.

Facebook is the place to be. They have a responsibility to free speech. What they allow and censor does matter as there is no alternative quite like them. They hold an important place in everyday society. They help shape the world around us. They have a duty to protect free speech, not censor what they don't like.

And promoting violence instead of human beauty is one of the worst affronts to society.

And in case you think our nudist resort Terra Cotta Inn is some sleazy operation. In November, 2013 we received a Best of the Valley award from our local newspaper, the Desert Sun for being the Best boutique hotel in the whole Palm Springs, CA area. This is on top of the Los Angeles Times newspaper writing a 2/3 page feature Sunday travel article about us in December 2012. We are a very wholesome business. I am even a past president of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce.

My advice to Facebook is unless something is deemed to threaten life, contact the user before deleting. Give them 48 or 72 hours to respond. Give them a week to respond before deleting their account. And answer your customers. I have sent in countless appeals to facebook over the years and only ONCE did they respond to me.

Sadly, now I'm forced to have to show how facebook treats small businesses (and yes I have advertised with them). They should be ashamed of themselves for saying MSN and The Guardian violate community standards and write obscene stories.

Facebook, please give me my account back and stop using a magnifying glass and censoring my account all the time.

11 comments: said...

We've read a number of varying accounts over the years on how FB receives reports and evaluates them. These explanations are only hearsay since FB does not officially divulge HOW they make their determinations as to whether something is suitable or not.

Your experience, and ours, and many others indicates that there IS no responsible evaluation system in place.

The only explanation we've heard that makes sense is that reports are processed by a computer program which cannot distinguish between legitimate content and improper postings, resulting in unwarranted suspension and account closings.

Appeals are usually ignored; perhaps that same program randomly selects a percentage to forward for human appraisal and rejects the rest. Who knows?

That's the only explanation that makes any sense since porn and violence abounds on FB yet innocent postings are found to be obscene.

Of course, the powerful can cause enough fuss to get a response from FB, but most of us aren't the NY Times!

Good luck on your appeal; the next time we're kicked off we may just stay off. FB is a powerful promotional tool, but it's also a big headache!

Dan Speers said...

Perhaps some enterprising lawyer will see things like this as an opportunity to start a class action lawsuit.

DW Gastelum said...

So much truth in here. Do you know if any way for others to contact Facebook on your behalf? I mean obviously we could send email, but if there were a hashtag or keyword or something similar that people could use in their emails, and other, more public statements, it might help generate pressure.

Dick Springer said...

Facebook's community standards are those of Muslim women in Morocco. They don't have to be paid much to review Facebook posts and they can be counted on not to let any nipples through. They still allow bare faces to be shown by shameless women though.

Paul said...

It looks as if FB has hired a few thousand more poor people in Morocco and places like that (
I also suddenly received warnings of inappropriate content, my user image was removed and all that kind of shyte.

FB is more and more becoming unattractive for people like us.

Good luck, I hope you can get your page and reputation restored.


Tom Mulhall said...

I don't know how to contact facebook because they want it that way.

Bill Bowser said...

While I think the treatment you've received from FB is deplorable, it is there system which they should be free to operate however they like. You joined thinking you were going to be treated fairly without having an agreement of exactly what that meant. I have refused to participate in those sorts of websites because users are completely at their mercy. They make and enforce the rules as they see fit.

scoutniagara said...

I too, had my primary account banned for two years or more, for posting an inappropriate photo. They couldn't tell me what the photo was about or who complained, but the only one it could have been, was one of me on a beach with my Bare Necessities' ship in the background, cropped ABOVE0 my genitals.

Tom Mulhall said...

Bill, I agree facebook can do what they want with their site. But it is the largest social media site in the world. Saying if you don't like it go elsewhere is like telling Rosa Parks if you don't want to sit in the back of the bus, walk. Not practical. I don't like facebook, but it is a necessary evil to mainstream nudism. Not being on it means nudists are 2nd class citizens.

Bill Bowser said...

It may be the largest social media site in the world, but you are not empowered to make or change the rules. As I said, it is their system, and they can run it however they like, unlike a public transit system. Nudist have long been second class citizens because they refuse to fight for their rights.

Bill Bowser said...

Even the largest social media site should be free to be as autocratic as they wish, or would you prefer some government bureaucrat dictating regulations of conduct on social media websites? I assume you agreed to their terms of use when you signed up. I also assume that if I visited your B&B I would have to abide by your rules, even if I thought they were unfair. Fab is nothing like a public transit system that is obligated not to discriminate against anyone (except perhaps nudists). If you use and depend on FB then you'd better abide by their ambiguous rules. Nudists have always been second class citizens because they refuse to stand up for their rights.