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.

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