It’s not just Robert Scoble who faced problems while posting comments on Facebook, I faced the same problem and a few other Facebook users as well. For an unknown reason, Facebook’s automated spam filter stopped my comment from being published and flagged it as “irrelevant or inappropriate” comment.
The problem I faced was when a friend of mine on Facebook shared a scam message about “free online recharge,” and I tried adding the comment — “This is a fake offer.” Facebook blocked me right there from posting the comment with the following message:
This Comment Can’t Be Posted
This comment seems irrelevant or inappropriate and can’t be posted. To avoid having your comments blocked, please make sure they contribute to the post in a positive way.
Robert Scoble faced the same problem while posting a comment. However, according to Facebook, Scoble’s comment was specifically blocked because of its length, and the length of the comment thread it was on.
When the issue was reported by major blogs, Facebook stated that it is not censoring comments, but the limitation was caused due to Facebook’s automated spam filter system.
Here’s the official statement that Facebook posted -
To protect the millions of people who connect and share on Facebook every day, we have automated systems that work in the background to maintain a trusted environment and protect our users from bad actors who often use links to spread spam and malware. These systems are so effective that most people who use Facebook will never encounter spam.
They’re not perfect, though, and in rare instances they make mistakes. This comment was mistakenly blocked as spammy, and we have already started to make adjustments to our classifier. We look forward to learning from rare cases such as these to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistake in the future.
Scammers usually target long threaded comments to post malicious links and scam messages. The automated spam filter monitors such threads and makes sure that it filters out spammy comments to keep the thread clean and safe. Of course the system also blocks comments that have inappropriate words, but other types of comments that go against positive conversation, which includes some ASCII art are also blocked.
In my case, my comment was blocked either because I used the word “fake,” or maybe because I tried commenting on a spam post. Facebook also mentioned that “the error message made it sound like the message was blocked because of the content of the message, not because it looked spammy.”