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Facebook just banned me for ‘hate speech’ for criticizing Russian-owned ‘FaceApp’

Just a couple of hours ago, I made a post on my personal Facebook page regarding everyone who is using the “FaceApp” app. I haven’t used it myself, but from what I understand, you upload a picture to the app and it edits the image to make you look a few decades older.

Most users of the app probably don’t know that the app is owned by a Russian company. So I made a post about it:

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I shared the post into my 48,000+ member discussion group The Science Enthusiasts with the caption “Damn Russians gonna steal our elections again”. Clearly a joke, right?

Not according to Facebook. They banned me from posting on my personal account for a month as a result.

It’s worth noting that the original post itself was not removed by Facebook – just the share. The only logical conclusion from this is that the original post itself was fine, but the comment joking about ‘Russia stealing our elections’ is not okay.

And because I know people will comment about my OP – yes, I know the owner has said that they don’t sell any information to third parties, that data they save is deleted within 48 hours, yadda yadda yadda. Okay, sure. Because no execs have ever publicly lied and, to his credit, simply handing over the data technically isn’t selling it. Either way, it’s not worth it to me, but you do you.

Oh, and there’s this:

To make FaceApp actually work, you have to give it permissions to access your photos – ALL of them. But it also gains access to Siri and Search …. Oh, and it has access to refreshing in the background – so even when you are not using it, it is using you. (Forbes)

This isn’t the first time I’ve been in Facebook jail.

Facebook has banned me for making a meme that mocked Nike (during the Kaepernick/Nike meme event of 2018). They also banned me for a month for posting this meme earlier in 2018:

Not counting my current ban, my most recent stint in the Facebook slammer came when I posted a holiday-themed meme that made fun of Nazis. Yes, Facebook banned me for a month because I made fun of Nazis. The horror.

At this point, I honestly don’t know what is or isn’t going to get me banned by Facebook. Their “Community Standards” are so vague and inconsistent that you can easily find videos of people dying (like this one here – NSFW, obviously, but that doesn’t stop Facebook from keeping it on their platform and running ads on the same page, meaning they’re directly profiting from it), but if you make a joke at the expense of Nazis, or even make a joke at the expense of Russia, you get banned.

Joking about Russia meddling in our elections – an actual thing that occurred in 2016, 2018, and will happen again in 2020 – is considered “hate speech” by Facebook.

I guess we’ll ignore the fact that Facebook allows charlatans to freely use their platform, harming untold numbers of people. We’ll ignore that Facebook We’ll ignore that Facebook has failed to remove white supremacist groups from their platform. No, instead they need to deal with the scourge that is people making a joke about a very real thing that happened and is continuing to happen.

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I don’t get it. I really don’t. This is why I’ve all but stopped posting much of anything on my personal page – I’m in constant fear of the most mundane post getting me banned from posting for a month.

To be honest, I’m not all that upset about being unable to post, it’s more that I’ve relied heavily on Facebook messenger to communicate with my friends and family because it’s just so damn convenient. I guess I have to change that. If you’re a friend or family member of mine and you’re reading this, you know how to email me, so feel free to email me your number and we’ll text just like we did back in the old days. The bonus is Facebook will lose out on ad dollars since we won’t be using their platform for messaging.

Thankfully, due to my moderator team, we’ll still have posts go out to aSE and all the other Facebook pages we run.

Appeal

I was able to appeal the ban, but if history is any indicator, it will likely take about 48 hours before Facebook actually reviews it… If I’m lucky.

The notification itself let me click a button to “appeal” it, but I also had the option of filling out a form to appeal it. Here’s what I wrote:

And here’s what happened when I hit “send” –

The system works!

I also have countless posts that Facebook declared to be “spam” that have been in review since June.

In these two posts, one is making fun of racists, while the other was an article criticizing an anti-abortion legislator in Texas. Somehow, without explanation, Facebook considered these to be “spam”, removed them from public viewing, and placed them into purgatory for the foreseeable future.

These next two include one of Megan Rapinoe after the USWNT won the World Cup, and the other is a meme about mosquitoes.

I have no faith that these will ever actually be reviewed by a human person.

People like Alex Jones are a threat to the public at large. That is why Facebook banned them. They spread demonstrably false information as if it is true, such as the PizzaGate conspiracy, or the Sandy Hook ‘false flag’ conspiracy. If you don’t understand the difference, read one of the many articles I’ve written addressing it. It’s really not that complicated. So please, spare me the “FaCeBoOk iS CeNsOriNg ConSeRvATiVeS” trope.

I imagine that my current ban will be reversed (this will be the 3rd time this year alone), but that doesn’t undo the inconvenience it causes. I can’t even text my kids, since they use the Messenger Kids app (and it’s linked to my account) – so I guess I’ll have to look for another app that isn’t owned by Facebook.

For now, please consider following me on Instagram (owned by Facebook, ugh, I know) as @aSciEnthusiast or on Twitter as @aSciEnthusiast. You can also check out *all* the many, many other projects I’m involved in on the ‘About‘ page of this site, or even on my patreon.

Thank you for your support!

Edit: Just today, these memes were all flagged as “spam” by Facebook and removed from the pages. Something is broken with Facebook.

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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