Friday, April 3, 2020

An Update on What Has Been Happening with Facebook and Links to Bilgrimage

For those who have asked for an update about what Facebook did to some of my postings at that site yesterday (here, here, and here):

As of this morning, I can post items on Facebook that link to Bilgrimage, and I no longer get the message that I and others received yesterday stating that the blog itself violates Facebook community standards. I am choosing to conclude that the reports Facebook friends told me they filed objecting to this censoring of my blog made a difference, as did my own reports — and my publicizing of the problem both here and on Twitter.

Two Facebook friends also reported to me that they went to my About page on Facebook, which had a link to this blog, and when they clicked on that link, they got messages that the site is dangerous and is not private. They apparently get no such message when they click exactly the same url by googling it or by entering it into the searchbar of their search engine — as I myself do not get that message, either.

Nothing about my site is dangerous or not private. I'd be very interested to know how that poison pill got onto my Facebook About page. When I went to the page to try to enter the url again and see if that would fix the problem, I saw that I'd be entering precisely the url that was already there, so I simply deleted the link to my blog altogether.

Meanwhile, as of this morning, I was continuing to receive messages via the Facebook Help page that postings I had made as far back as the middle of March had been deleted as violations of community standards, and had then been restored to my feed, because Facebook had made a mistake. Three such postings have been removed and restored in the past two days: two link to Huffington Post and one to Axios.

Meanwhile, the four postings removed yesterday (a fifth was also blocked), all with links to Bilgrimage, have not been restored to my feed and the messages I have gotten from Facebook suggest to me they will not ever be restored. As I reported yesterday, all four deal with the response of some US Christians to the pandemic and  how that response threatens all of us. The three removed by Facebook with links to Huffington Post and Axios were postings sharing news articles about Bolsonaro and the pandemic and about Governor Cuomo and the pandemic. 

Some people have told me that what has been happening to me on Facebook is likely the result of a glitch with the automated Facebook supervisory system, and that this is likely happening to others and is similar to what happened several weeks ago when many of us, I included, got messages that some of our Facebook postings were spam. We then got messages telling us that Facebook had made a mistake and those postings were restored to our feed.

I do not think what has happened to me on Facebook in the past two days is the result of a glitch. Please note:

1. I have now posted about this problem on Facebook, here on Bilgrimage, and on Twitter. And I have had no reports from anyone that they were having a similar problem with Facebook, or knew of others having a similar problem.

2. When the spam glitch occurred a few weeks ago, many of us immediately shared information about it on Facebook and elsewhere. It happened to lots of people at the same time, and there were numerous reports all across social media that it was happening.

3. If this is a glitch that quite specifically banned links to my blog because the blog itself violates Facebook Community standards — that's what the message I and others received from Facebook when we tried posting links to the blog — then why did that glitch suddenly kick in only in the past two days, when I've been posting links to my blog on Facebook for years now?

4. And why did Facebook remove only four postings with links to my blog from the past several days, all about the lamentable response of some US Christians to the pandemic? Why would the automated glitch not go through my entire Facebook feed for years now and remove all postings with links to Bilgrimage?

5. And if this is all the result of an automated system, why did that system then remove three postings with links to sites other than Bilgrimage and then restore them with a message that Facebook had made a wrong call about them?

6. If it's all a glitch, why did someone somewhere apparently remove the ban on posting links to Bilgrimage — after I and several Facebook friends protested — so that now such links can be posted again?

I have serious doubts that this was an automated glitch or that many others have been experiencing this very same thing in recent days. I think something else has been going on.

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