Update: Facebook has reversed itself over this censorship, but I maintain that whether the censorship was algorithmic or human, it was intentional either way. Details in my new post.
Last November, I made a brief post to Facebook about Mastodon. Mastodon is an open-source and open social network, which is decentralized and all about user control instead of corporate control. I’ve blogged about Mastodon and the dangers of Facebook before, but rarely mentioned Mastodon on Facebook itself.
Today, I received this notice that Facebook had censored my post about Mastodon:
Wonder with me for a second what this one-off post I composed myself might have done to trip Facebook’s filter…. and it is probably obvious that what tripped the filter was the mention of an open source competitor, even though Facebook is much more enormous than Mastodon. I have been a member of Facebook for many years, and this is the one and only time anything like that has happened.
Why they decided today to take down that post – I have no idea.
In case you wondered about their sincerity towards stamping out misinformation — which, on the rare occasions they do something about, they “deprioritize” rather than remove as they did here — this probably answers your question. Or, are they sincere about thinking they’re such a force for good by “connecting the world’s people?” Well, only so long as the world’s people don’t say nice things about alternatives to Facebook, I guess.
“Well,” you might be wondering, “Why not appeal, since they obviously made a mistake?” Because, of course, you can’t:
Indeed I did tick a box that said I disagreed, but there was no place to ask why or to question their action.
So what would cause a non-controversial post from a long-time Facebook member that has never had anything like this happen, to disappear?
Greed. Also fear.
Maybe I’d feel sorry for them if they weren’t acting like a bully.
Edit: There are reports from several others on Mastodon of the same happening this week. I am trying to gather more information. It sounds like it may be happening on Twitter as well.
Edit 2: And here are some other reports from both Facebook and Twitter. Definitely not just me.
Edit 3: While trying to reply to someone on Facebook, that was trying to defend Facebook, I mentioned joinmastodon.org and got this:
Anyone else seeing it?