First of all, if you are among those who have had your ability to post on pages, like comments, etc. blocked – welcome to the club. We’re of a rapidly growing number of people who have been impacted by a broken algorithm in Facebook’s software.
Some things you need to know –
1. You were not blocked because of your political views, views on polarizing social issues, etc. You were not blocked because you are conservative or liberal. You were not blocked because you are pro-life or pro-choice. You were not blocked because you are Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Pagan/Agnostic/etc. You were not blocked because you love/hate Obama or Trump. You were not blocked for any stance or view you hold or have expressed.
2. You were not targeted by liberal/conservative Facebook employees. You are not the victim of some vast conspiracy intended to penalize people of your particular political, social or religious persuasion. Facebook is not upholding some right-wing/left-wing agenda by deliberately silencing you.
3. No human being was involved in generating your block. No human being is reviewing the appeals you submit. You have fallen victim to an automated process that Facebook is apparently unaware has run amok.
4. Repeated posting of those “follow these steps/click ‘helpful’/get unblocked” chain posts will only have one effect: they will get you blocked from posting here on the Community Help forums as well. They will NOT get you unblocked from posting on pages, sending friend requests, etc. Stop spamming every thread with those.
5. You are not guaranteed free speech by anyone other than the government. Only the government may not infringe upon your right to free speech. An individual corporation, such as Facebook, absolutely 100% has the legal right to “silence” you on their service, for any reason, at any time, regardless of whether you like it or not.
Alright, so how DID you end up blocked?
Simply put – someone(s) reported you as a spammer and/or for posting “abusive” content.
The longer (slightly watered-down) explanation is this:
Facebook uses automated algorithms to “moderate” its site. These algorithms factor in multiple bits of information in how a report of spam (or abuse) is handled. Typically, it would take multiple reports from multiple sources in order to trigger an “alert” that labels you as a spammer (or as someone posting abusive content). This means that normally, one or two people being angry over something you posted would not be enough to get you blocked… and certainly not enough to get you blocked for more than a few hours or a couple of days.
That same algorithm also determines “punishment” for those ‘found guilty’ (by the algorithm) of violating the Community Standards. So normally, perhaps it would take 10 reports from 10 different users in order for one of your posts to trigger the alert that labels you as a spammer/poster of abusive content. The threshold for something like this is usually quite high – thus the reason it is often so hard to actually get rid of spam/abusive content.
Once that threshold is met, the punitive algorithm comes into play… 10 reports from 10 different users of ONE post you made? Maybe you get a 12 hour block. Dozens of reports from dozens of users on posts you made on multiple pages? Well, that’s probably going to lead to a multi-day block.
That’s how things NORMALLY work.
But something is broken in Facebook’s algorithm, and because they do not actually have human beings reviewing our appeals or this Help forum, they don’t even realize it. Not only is the threshold that labels you a spammer/abusive content poster screwed up (wherein perhaps it is only taking ONE report from ONE user on ONE post to trigger the alert), but the “punishment” algorithm is messed up as well… this is why many of us have been blocked for a month, two months, three months or even longer. It is looking like we’ve been dumped into a permanent block.
The technical explanation is probably more like: a variable in the punishment algorithm is set incorrectly. So where the software should be reading – and giving – a one HOUR block, it is reading – and giving – a one YEAR block, or something similar. Essentially, someone made a typo.
How can we be sure this is what has happened? Because Facebook’s Help section itself says, quite specifically, that blocks of this nature are temporary and short lived: “Blocks are temporary and can last a few hours or a few days.” Source: https://www.facebook.com/help/174623239336651
What can we do about this? Honestly, not much. Unless Facebook begins paying attention to appeals and/or posts here on the Community Help forum, we’re going to be hard pressed to draw attention to this problem.
My only thought is this… when you first land on the Community Help forums, you see a list of posts that is, by default, sorted with the top rated post at the top. So my thought is this – if we all upvote either this post, or another like it, we might be able to move it to the top of the list. IF (and it’s a BIG IF) a Facebook employee periodically peruses the Community Help forum, it’s likely that top-ranked posts are the only ones likely to catch their eye. So the closer to the top that we can get one of these posts explaining what’s happening to all of us, the better our chances of it being seen IF a FB employee comes here to look.
I would also ask that each of you post your situation below – how long you’ve been blocked for, what you think you were blocked for, and if possible, let everyone know what your block information says under your Support Dashboard. https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=support