FaceBook algorithms sending people to FB "gaol"

Airbnb is not unique in using an opaque algorithm to remove people from their platform, with no right of appeal. Facebook has banned me for two “offences” involving words not pictures: (1) I used the word “Poms” when talking about the English Test Cricket team (that was labelled racial vilification) and (2) in the context of security not permitting drink bottles through, but permitting me to wear a pair of shoes with heavy metal heels, I said that the shoes were a far bigger risk as they could easily kill someone. THAT became a “threat to kill” in FB-land. Because it was a second offence I was banned for much longer than the first occasion. I am admin of a community group, and also run a small business through FaceBook. The stint in FB gaol caused huge problems. I tried to appeal the decision but all I got was the equivalent of “noted”. And yet, they are willing to display plenty of other content that I would consider soft porn or violent.


Welcome to the Community @killerheel

A few months ago I reported some full on crotch shots being shared and the complant was dismissed as meeting their community standards. An appeal to that was also dismissed, no worries apparently.

A mate got 30 days for sharing a post FB recommended to him! He was banned and the offending post in its original form was never censored.

With the numbers of users and numbers of posts it is not surprising it is out of hand as well as off the rails in many ways.


The trouble is we have become dependent on FB.


I run a art community page, and was blocked twice for re-sharing paintings from other pages which had classical style demure nudes. This sort of art is deemed acceptable under the Community Standards, but this did not matter. To make matters worse, the images were not deemed inappropriate on the pages I shared from. I expected that if an image (or text) were deemed inappropriate then all antecedents would be deemed thus; clearly it is not so. There is a great deal of randomness to the whole process. One just never knows when or why the system will lock on.

Each time I submitted the appeal form many times, and never once got an answer. You only get a response from Facebook if you are someone who can effect the usage of their app. So unless you are a powerful politician, very rich, or very famous, expect to be ghosted, just as you were.


Weekly I hear of similar stories of folk being banned by FB or FB disallowing some posts (considered by many as harmless) yet were caught out in the past hosting ISIS and other nefarious groups pages.

And yes, I get that many in AU are addicted or hooked onto FB. I suggest that is their (the users’ problems).

As is said often by the squillionaires of Silicon Valley, in the context of FB, Twitter, Google etc: “if you ain’t paying for the product or service, dude in that case you ARE the product or service. So stop your whining”.

While I don’t suggest we wholesale ape China and Russia in everything they do, their banning of or heavily restricting of Big Tech, is noteworthy for the many crimes facilitated by such services are nowhere near the problem - if they are a problem at all - that they are in the “enlightened” West.

Breaking News: if FB and Google were shut out of AU, we’d still survive and even maybe develop our own services as China has with WeChat (in lieu of FB’s WhatsApp) and Weibo (in lieu of FB & Twitter).


I was warned that I might get banned when I suggested that “someone should shoot Putin” a few weeks back (inciting violence). I’m still there but have few friends, and the ones I care about, I see or communicate with, quite regularly. I think I could unfriend most and they would not even notice.

I’ve been spending more time on Twitter and reddit than facebook in any case.


I once thought that futuristic novels about mindless consumers of information, goods and services who lived for whatever the powers that existed then would dole out to them were fiction.


Not all of us, but one does get that feeling of missing out every time FB rears it’s moniker.

Something those of us who do not have a Facebook account will likely get over with less stress than those who do and loose access.

Perhaps there are some who feel access to FB is now a basic human right. Would FB be proud of that achievement? There are even those who look upon the ‘I’m not on FB’ response as though one has a deadly infectious disease.

“Out damned spot, out, I say”.


Based on the quality and presentation of many of our locally developed web sites and app efforts that is not something I would look forward to.

Users are attracted to the look and feel more than what they don’t see, at least until they meet with the reality it doesn’t work right. On the other hand it could cause a lot of people to quit social media, perhaps an intended consequence of your comment?

The best outcome would be if such a project forced the quality and standards to increase. Stepping back to see that Australians are over weighted in political campaign tacticians in much of the western world I would not expect any more of an outcome than business as usual trailing by 5-10 years while the FB’s with critical mass have moved along or morphed. Once the ‘it’, MySpace anyone?

A reality is many people, myself included, have become overloaded in ‘social options’ and to change one’s behaviour (eg platform) requires the entire personal ecosystem to do so together. Most social media consumers are not techies and are disinclined to try moving on unless everyone they know is of the same mindset with the same ‘destination’ agreed.


Not all of us. I created an account initially over a decade ago, but saw no value in it and walked away. A few years ago I created another account, but saw that the places was a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and asked that my account be deleted.

I have been considering opening a new Facebook account with a ‘spare’ email address, not connecting to anyone I know but simply for the things that people sell on the site - but so far have not decided that I have a good enough reason to do so.

I do have a Twitter account, and post maybe every six months. Again, most of the stuff on there is junk.


My children live in 3 different countries. I admin a group which is an immensely positive contribution to our community. FB is for me an excellent resource despite all the bad ways people use it. My complaint though is that it is so big that an algorithm decides if my posts are acceptable and there is no right of appeal. I mean seriously does anyone know an English person who would consider the word “Pom” racial hate speech??? But that word got me banned. My Pommy friends think it is pretty funny.


Given it’s frequent use in the commentary surrounding the Gentleman’s sport of Cricket, FB need a right good rogering. Being upset at not winning the cricket and being a Pom is not about racial vilification. It’s just about having a not so good cricket team and being unable to change nationality to suit. It’s a well accepted nickname which this UK publication sets out to explain.

I’ve a collection of past and present friends who willingly label themselves ‘10 pound poms’. I’m sure that there are many contemporary self references in population publications that would uphold the usage.

What next for World El Presidente Mark Zuckerberg and his ‘kangaroo court’? Will ‘potato head’ also join the list of banned language? Hasbro will be much put out.

‘Spud’ could soon follow!


The Internet is our friend when considering such questions.’

That said, many of us know people who are nicknamed Pom.


precisely. I used it in reference to said cricket team.

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Not sure I agree. Many Poms call themselves Poms (my parents were ten pound Poms and called themselves that). Even “Pommy bastard” can be a term of endearment in most circumstances (cf “you old bastard”)!


precisely. I used it in reference to said cricket team.

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Yes. That is the problem you need to fix. At the very least, for the community group, I would recommend having a deputy or 2IC, so that when you are in gaol, the group can continue. For the business, you should have your own web site (and you should also separate your Facebook business from your personal musings, which seem to be getting you into trouble). You could also have your own web site for the community group, rather than accepting free hosting from Facebook, and getting their rules along with it.

Both of the things that got you penalised seem trivial to minor. You have my sympathies on that. However Facebook is under significant pressure from governments and other panic merchants to “do something”. So expect more of it, particularly once mooted legislative changes come into force.

Plan accordingly rather than being reactive.

That is only to install their local equivalents, which are directly answerable to the Chinese government, for enforcing censorship and carrying out surveillance.

Australia should not develop our own platforms. Those platforms would have all the same problems.

LOL. Biden must have heard you. Regime change.

Exactly. The network effect. Critical mass.

Leftie media like the Guardian might not be the best source on the internet however. :wink:

It is as well to remember

  • offence is taken not given
  • the mood of the times changes (and that article is more than 15 years old) - undoubtedly would be even more intolerant today

I figure that if even The Guardian says it’s not offensive then the likelihood of a culture war is minimal.


Ok, I take your point on the big pluses that FB offers users compared to sites nowhere near as sophisticated. That said, users (ie those who partake of the product and pay nothing for it) (a) should understand that they are really the product; (b) that if FB changes T&C or as it did previously, excommunicates AU accounts (leaving users dumbfounded and unable to reorganise their online world, be it work or private life), then it’s just “too bad” and that demands via vulgar lobbying of governments by “concerned citizens” (eg Mum’s groups or Big Businesses) keen to regain what they previously enjoyed at no cost, will fall on deaf ears.

The over reliance on FB for social media apes the over reliance on one country for foreign students and as a market for most of our raw materials. If all of one’s eggs are in one basket, in time some will break.

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I have a business FB page and a business website, and my community page has 2 other admins. So proactive is my middle name. I was really bitching about the inconvenience and lack of a fair trial before imprisonment, with no right of appeal, along with the fact that if you want to promote there is really no escape from mainstream social media. I am surprised no-one has mentioned Kafka yet!!

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