Facebook Labelled my Medium Blog as Spam and Then Pulled Their Decision

Original article was published by Alex Moltzau 莫战 on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


Facebook Labelled my Medium Blog as Spam and Then Pulled Their Decision

Trying to understand Facebook’s methods for categorising spam after being categorised as spam and then exonerated

In one way I really respect Facebook’s attempt at controlling what is supposed to be posted and what should not be posted on their platform.

However, at the same time I want to tell you about my experience being categorised as spam.

This article has a long title, but I could not think of a short one immediately.

It was kind of hard to grasp.

GIF by Sahlooter on GIPHY

Why Facebook?

Why unknown moderator?

Why unknown algorithms?

I want to consider why it happened, although I do not know the answer (yet).

This article will of course be a series of guesses.

According to Facebook, this is spam.

In fact, my entire Medium account had been labeled as spam.

I wanted to tell my MSc class in Social Data Science as well as my friends about starting a master’s programme in the middle of a pandemic.

Apparently, this was not acceptable for Facebook.

I was not given any explanation as to why.

It simply was ‘against our Community Standards’ on spam.

That is a pretty broad reason.

Alright.

Let me try to investigate why.

Was it the mask?

I have a theory that Facebook has been trying to limit the sale of medical masks.

In March there were huge issues with people selling ‘non-medical’ face masks:

Late in June they have an article that says they allow it (with conditions).

“Advertisers must currently be in good standing to advertise non-medical masks, with a minimum advertising history of four months.”

Since I do not know, this is only guesswork — but did Facebook factor in my use of a ‘non-medical’ face mask when moderating my post?

As you can see my mask has typography on the front. It says “SODAS — Centre for Social Data Science”.

Far-out thoughts went through my mind too.

  • I have written about Facebook and how they govern moderation previously.
  • I have written critical posts about Facebook and its governance.

In my opinion I did these thoughts as constructive criticism and to explore how Facebook works to consider different types of expression.

As well as problems with moderation:

How is relevance ranked?

I would not like to think that this would factor in, and likely it does not, however it makes me pause…

I do not think that would be the reason.

At the same time it is a frightening experience to have an output silenced…

There are some clear guidelines directly from Facebook.