Although Facebook is "The Social Network" and it facilitates communication by others, the company is a notoriously lousy communicator. Despite all of the company's advanced technology it is nearly impossible to reach any of its 10,000 employees when a problem--even a serious problem--arises.
Many complaints to Facebook are dealt with by robots, and a robot is often an unresponsive judge, jury and executioner. Serious problems are allowed to fester and hurt victims for a month or more, yet people who cause no real harm are punished immediately and severely, with no opportunity to appeal.
1. Back in 2010 Facebook published libelous and threatening posts about me.
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There was a phony and dangerous petition aimed at having me put on the Connecticut registry of sex offenders. The petition was signed by a non-existent Mike Josephs and signed by seven non-existent supporters, and several real human beings who were scammed into supporting the cause.
'People' signing the petition called for my caging, castration and killing; and my Facebook friends were notified of the petition.
I complained to Facebook immediately, and frequently, pointing out that false identities were used in violation of Facebook policy, and the attack page had copyright violation, libel, lies and calls for violence.
In 2010 Facebook took more than a month to remove the false statements about me--but Facebook's reaction in August, 2015 for words I did not write was instantaneous.
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2. I am the "administrator" of more than a dozen Facebook discussion groups. Most members of my groups are very well-behaved, but sometimes there are trouble-making trolls who must be ejected.
I did exactly that on August 13th, 2015. Group members supported my decision and the troll soon disappeared--not just from my group, but from all of Facebook. I thought that was the end of it, but no.
On August 15th I was unable to use Facebook and I got a series of useless and infuriating messages. The posting quoted below was NOT posted by me. It is NOT written in my writing style. It was apparently written in response to my post about ejecting a troll from the group.
Then came the trouble. I was blocked from all access to Facebook for 24 hours, and then blocked from posting for 24 more hours.
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Apparently, somewhere in Facebook, Thomas Moore said "fuck you" to me. I responded with an appropriate (but mild) "fuck you, too."
The "f-bomb" is common in nearly every 21st-century medium, except maybe in the newsletters of religious institutions.
I did not commit libel. I did not threaten anyone. I did not show nude pictures or pictures of violence. I did not offer to sell drugs, brag about a bank robbery or advocate mayhem or the violent overthrow of anything.
I questioned my punishment and got a meaningless robotic reply:
- In the challenge to my exile I pointed out to Facebook that that my wife recently had a traumatic brain injury, is in the hospital with pneumonia, is awaiting throat surgery and I was recently diagnosed with heart trouble. Relatives and friends expect medical reports from me via Facebook and get very concerned when I am incommunicado.
- I use Facebook to communicate with a doctor.
- As a group administrator, one of my duties is to remove abusive content, but if I'm locked out, I can't do it.
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4. On January 8th, 2016 a man, disguised as a woman, posted a lengthy, racist, pornographic excerpt from a book he wrote, in a group I operate for authors. He violated an important rule of the group (don't promote your own books).
I criticized him for violating the rule and for being a lousy writer, using language milder than what he used.
- "Lmfao you nothing but a fucking white hater that's cool bye"
- "All this bullshit just because one violation to a virtual group wow grow the fuck up its only Facebook"
- "I think its just that you don't have no self confidence so putting others down and acting like a kid with all this bullshit name calling makes you feel more like a man than so be it."
- "kindly just stat up off my statuses." [I have no idea what that means, and he refused to translate it.]
He complained about my criticism and I was kicked out of Facebook for a week.
I think this is unjust, unproductive, unkind, damaging and silly.
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5. A few days ago I responded to an attack by Trump-supporter Adam Avinbruch, who accused me of being a Nazi. I posted the photo shown below. This photo has been posted a great many times on Facebook and elsewhere.
With no warning at all, I was suspended from FB for 30 days for violating "community standards." I violated nothing! I wonder if the censor bot thinks Trump is raising his middle finger, not his index finger.
I am appealing but am not optimistic.
FB was recently accused of manipulating its "trending" news items to suppress pro-conservative items. Is the company over-reacting by punishing people who post anti-Trump photos?
Terminator image from FanPop.com