Facebook Is Censoring People For Mentioning Open-Source Social Network Mastodon

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:

Facebook censoring a post

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?

Edit 4: It is far more than just me, clearly. More reports are out there; for instance, this one and that one.

92 thoughts on “Facebook Is Censoring People For Mentioning Open-Source Social Network Mastodon

    1. Obviously a filter caught it.

      Isn’t it odd that they are filtering mentions of a competitor? As I mentioned, it’s not just me.

  1. Disable your Facebook account.

    Remove Facebook app from all devices.

    Facebook is the world’s biggest spy machine, and stupid as we are, we continue feeding it information.

    That’s why people leave Zuckbook by the droves, and that’s why Zuckbook freaks out, and starts censoring.

    Censoring is a sign of weakness.

    Make Zuckbook hurt more.

  2. @jgoerzen Also, since I got your ear: I followed your blog through the Planet Debian for years. I don’t have kinds, but your posts about your sons are always fun to read! It’s only recently that I realized that you’re that John Goerzen. Thanks for teaching me Haskell through the “Real World Haskell”! Sorry I never put it to good use 😅

  3. @minoru That’s kind of you. Thank you so much!You know, even if you haven’t written a lot of code in #Haskell, I bet that learning about it opened up new ways of thinking about problems. You may have put it to use after all :-) I have learned a lot of languages I no longer use much, but each has left me with some ideas I use.

  4. @jgoerzen as my wife put it : ” it’s like going to Wal-Mart and doing promotion of the local farmer market.Not illegal, but they are in there house. They can enfirce their policy.I’m amaze that facebook fear other social network…

  5. FB does not allow posts that don’t agree with their agenda. If you question the anything about Covid-19, vaccines or the 2020 election you will be censored and possibly banned. Same goes for Twitter, google and several other social media platforms.

    1. Yeah, I think you’ll find that most real social networks don’t tolerate lies that get people killed. Facebook is only willing to tolerate it when they make money, and Qanon dummies, Covid deniers, and trump-trash either don’t have any money or won’t give it to Facebook because they find the company too “liberal” because it doesn’t censor other people enough.

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