Facebook Apologies for Mistakenly Blocking Accounts of Environmental Activists
By on August 21st, 2011

Avoiding spam messages on Facebook isn’t an easy task. Even Facebook’s anti-spam system finds it difficult to identify and remove scams from its network. Recently, Facebook’s anti-spam computer algorithm mistakenly deleted numerous animal  rescuers/animal lovers and groups, which had been accused of posting spam and “irrelevant” content.

Many animal rescue organizations and environmental activists, who depend on Facebook to organize events and rescue animals, were accused of posting spam messages. Hence the automated system that identified the content as “spam”, notified the group members and other activists that they have been banned for 15 days from posting anything at all.

The reason for banning users was unknown, whether Facebook was really targeting animal rescuers, or was it the automatic system that erroneously marked it as spam. Members of the affected groups and activists arose and contacted the Facebook team to revoke the ban.

Animal Rescue

The affected members also created a Facebook page stating – Dont suspend our Animal Rescue Accountwhich is liked by more than 11,500 “likes”. An event that was created by the same members stated – Facebook abide by the Terms Of Service and undo the 15 day suspensionsgot over 1000+ attendees.

The members notified Facebook officials by sending e-mails to legal@facebook.com and info@facebook.com

Here’s an email sent by one of the activists -

I am writing because numerous animal rescue / animal lovers and groups such as myself have been accused erroneously by facebook for posting spam and irrelevantcontent and disabled for 15 days…

We have been posting and cross posting about animals that need rescuing from shelters and owners… trying to find new homes for these animals.   This Is NOT SPAM NOR IRRELEVANT!!!!     These postings have helped unite pets with owners and obtained NEW homes for pets and SAVED ANIMALS LIVES!!!

l. I am NOT posting spam

2. Certainly NOT posting irrelevant content

In a quick response to these letters, Facebook sent notes of apology and lifted the ban from the blocked environmental activists and other people from posting messages. Facebook claimed that the instance was done by mistake, and had no intention to disable accounts or removing contents of the social network.

Here is the response sent by Facebook

“Your account was mistakenly blocked from posting on Pages. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. We’ve lifted the block from your account, and you should now be able to post again.”

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement to The Associated Press – “Facebook is not – and has never been – in the business of disabling accounts or removing content simply because people are discussing controversial topics. On the contrary, we want Facebook to be a place where people can openly express their views and opinions, even if others don’t agree with them.”

However, Facebook did not provide an in depth detail on why these groups were disabled, since they thought spammers would find ways around the anti-spam software.


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Author: Joel Fernandes Google Profile for Joel Fernandes
Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Joel Fernandes has written and can be contacted at joel@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://www.dxout.com gaz williams

    automated systems are a pain when they flag an account the system locks it and trying to get a person to let you back in is a nighmare

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1278293740 Julie Chadwick

    this is crap, meanwhile I’m banned from inviting people to our event to try and raise funds for our rescue group…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508971541 Sonia Duroe

      :O how outrageous! that’s terrible that they did that :< these animals need rescuing from these kill shelters! and then they block it cause they think your spamming X< not cool!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42501673 Jacqueline Healey

    I found myself after a recent change when I would click on either a photo or description of something do to with an animal the x at the top to exit out reported it as spam instead of actually exiting out…..i had to hit home to get back and unspam what I had spammed….maybe people did this without realizing…i could have!

  • becky

    they are blocking all kinds of things. Not allowing fr to be sent simply because someone requests to be added as a friend for games. Then I see people using the f word all the time and other language and thats ok.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433313726 Margaret Chapman Morris ?

    FU fb

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000164810455 Verse Infinitum

    Facebook has to get their s**t together.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000294829858 Cindy Lou

    They’re doing it again….I’m blocked for no reason. Can’t get any response from Facebook. There is absolutely no information on the so called help section.

  • http://www.reunionrescue.com Cindy Marabito

    Is Facebook open for business? There is no help available for people who’ve been wrongfully blocked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristal.eckhart Kristal Eckhart

    been blocked from tagging, messaging, friending since 11/12/12 which was suppose to be 30 days because i was begging rescues about a dog and posting him on their sites, still not unblocked

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1370318283 Dee Green

    That is NOT true FB…as of yesterday, you started blocking me just on animal posts…I continued to try to help animals/lost ones, found ones, those in kill shelters…As of today 1/4/2013 FB has had me blocked all day long and am still blocked as of almost 5:00 today from posting anything whatsoever…Even if people do not want to see animal postings, but allow for dog fighting sites to remain A-okay on Facebook (because Facebook will not remove them), those such people KNOW how to hit the UNFRIEND BUTTON. everybody has one…I do not hold people on my friend lists hostage; they can feel free to unfriend me any time they feel like it for the truth in animal postings…They will not be missed…But, come on FB…that is a lie…No apologies from you have come my way, and I am still blocked for a second day from posting animals or making any other posts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kerrie.harrington.58 Kerrie Harrington

      indeed it is NOT TRUE! I AM BLOCKED TODAY because I posted too much! I was sharing to save animals!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1370318283 Dee Green

    Come on FB….still waiting to be UNblocked…You have not unblocked people yet, but you have stated that you have…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=723307911 Angitia Guerrette

    I AM STILL BEING NOTIFIED ….WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU FACEBOOK… FIX THIS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=723307911 Angitia Guerrette

    Come on facebook fix this now…There are so many animals needing to be rescued..I share the post to help out…PLEASE FIX THIS…the animals will die if you don’t…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamie-Reed/1788237505 Jamie Reed

    not once have i been warned and i have been blocked from uploading new graphics to my graphic design page and from uploading new pics or editing albums of current ones on my profile. ALSO I GOT A TEMP BAN FOR SHARING URGENT ANIMALS FROM A LOCAL SHELTER AS THE VOLUNTEER PAGE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=680688805 Carol Save Lennox Moorey

    That is NOT true FB…as of yesterday, you started blocking me just on
    animal posts…I continued to try to help animals/lost ones, found ones,
    those in kill shelters…As of today 1/4/2013 FB has had me blocked all
    day long and am still blocked as of almost 5:00 today from posting
    anything whatsoever…Even if people do not want to see animal postings,
    but allow for dog fighting sites to remain A-okay on Facebook (because
    Facebook will not remove them), those such people KNOW how to hit the
    UNFRIEND BUTTON. everybody has one…I do not hold people on my friend
    lists hostage; they can feel free to unfriend me any time they feel like
    it for the truth in animal postings…They will not be missed…But,
    come on FB…that is a lie…No apologies from you have come my way, and
    I am still blocked for a second day from posting animals or making any
    other posts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lilLissa223 Lissa Liddick

    Their statement is a lie! I got warnings if I even comment on ANY type of animal post, but could post freely without warning on my “biker” pages….so they are strictly targeting animal advicates, but when I report pages displaying “XXX” PORN showing full-on penitration shots…the response I get is such “We have found that this content doesnt not violate our terms of service” and I got the same response when I reported pages promoting over-seas prostitutes…..so animal advicates get banned but PORN & PROSTITUTION are acceptable!! All of this started happening when FACEBOOK was being traded publicly…all content was shifted to paid promotions and PORN

  • http://www.facebook.com/lilLissa223 Lissa Liddick

    If your still banned call and complain until they lift your suspension….(650)308-7300 thats facebooks corp. number

    • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.mcmahon Elizabeth McMahon

      Just called. New number is 650-543-4800.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LadyTrinityTexas Mary B Robbins

    -.- Even if this a 2 year old article, it is still happening. Yet nothing is being done about it. A lot of animals need help, this is the whole reason, rescuers, advocates, and shelters try to NETWORK through FB to get the word out about the animals available for adoption or Advocating against Discrimination. Yet the funny thing here is…. The don’t block Child abuse sites, pit hate pages, porno and so on. EVEN though we report it. So, really, what’s going to happen next?

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrissy.sims.31 Chrissy Sims

    You blocked me from posting animals and told me I was doing something ilegal. Not the right way to go F/B. I was told I could be blocked for 48 hours but I was one of the lucky ones as only lasted a few hours. Have a heart where animals are concerned as we are their only voice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nickelrw87 Royce Wright Jr

    who are they to determine whats relevant and whats not?

  • http://www.facebook.com/catherine.geudens.90 Catherine Geudens

    WHY because pedofiles or pornadicts could or would be generating more dollars than animals and rescuers for FB

  • http://twitter.com/dancegenie Jean Bird

    There is now choice – google+ and if everyone changes to this then fb will lose out!!!! Maybe they need to be taught a lesson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Goody/100000254742669 Kevin Goody

    a denial of service attack is the only thing that set fascistbook straight

  • Marla Burton

    Stop lying!!!! i was just blocked for sharing my animal posts to my page and timeline! I have contacted Fox news and Cbs news!!! I had alot of discussions when i posted to my personal timeline so we put together My cruelty awareness & adoption page and i am banned from posting on there!!!!! Get your act together! I will continue to email and call every news station that will listen! Facebook you have blood on your hands!

 
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