A New Boston Post investigation has discovered that it only takes two clicks — one from a Facebook user reporting content and another from just one of the thousands of content reviewers employed across the globe by the social media giant — to initiate a lock/ban on another user’s Facebook account.
The discovery came as a result of an inquiry into the suspension of an account owned by New Boston Post blogger and consultant Kyle Reyes, whom Facebook subjected to a 24-hour ban after he shared screenshots exposing another user’s comment celebrating the murder of a Mississippi sheriff’s deputy. Reyes, who saved and shared screenshots of a post another user submitted in response to a Fox 61 in Hartford report of the Mississippi shootings, saw his screenshots inexplicably removed, and later, his personal Facebook account temporarily suspended.
On Monday a Facebook spokesman responded to a New Boston Post reporter investigating Reyes’s suspension.
The social media company, in a statement, admitted it incorrectly removed Reyes’s post and erred in penalizing Reyes:
“We’re very sorry about this mistake. The post was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong.”
Reyes, contacted by email, pointed out, however, that Facebook — which deleted his screenshots of the post (“Oh well another dead pig”) — never restored his shared screenshot posts, despite the company’s admission of error.
“They never actually restored the post, I personally put the post back up,” Reyes pointed out. ” They took down that one [post] as well.”
Reyes said his company, The Silent Partner Marketing, of Manchester, Connecticut, is currently spending an average of $22,000 per day on Facebook’s social media services, which it uses to promote its clients.
Asked to comment, Reyes said that while “everyone makes mistakes,” his current problem with Facebook is that “it hasn’t implemented any processes to fix these mistakes.”
“When I was growing up, my little sister liked to smack her hands together when my mother wasn’t looking and scream, ‘Oww!’,” Reyes said. “My mother would turn around and glare at me, assuming I had smacked my sister.
“This move by Facebook is the equivalent of grounding your child without any facts or anything more than an accusation — there’s zero accountability or tracking from Facebook.”
Reyes added that Facebook “never actually provided anything stating what I had violated — all they essentially said was ‘look at this link, you must have done something that broke one of these rules’.”
Reyes last week shared screenshots with New Boston Post documenting his online interactions with the company:
“When I did get a representative on the phone, they apologized profusely and told me I shouldn’t have been banned, but that there was nothing they could do and I had to let the ban ‘run its course’,” Reyes added.
New Boston Post’s investigation into Facebook’s policies determined that the company relies on its users to report questionable material. An influx of Facebook users reporting what they deem to be “questionable” posts, according to the company, does not trigger bans or suspensions — although Facebook does acknowledge that an exceptionally high amount of reporting users, typically numbering in the thousands, can signal a content review.
A report last month from the U.K. Daily Mail confirmed that Facebook employs “an army of Facebook workers” in the Philippines, paying them sub-minimum wages to comb through millions of posts each day, and flag the posts they determine to be too graphic or promote terror.
Filipino workers mining Facebook for offensive content, according to the Daily Mail, enjoy a six-day work week and the threat of being fired for failing to meet quotas.
According to a Facebook spokesman who spoke to New Boston Post, the company’s content review team is global and reviews reports on a daily, non-stop basis.
Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of policy management, has said the company receives more than one million reports of user violations per day.
Asked to reflect on his experience dealing with the social media company, Reyes described himself as “the exception to the rule.”
“I’ve built an audience by not being afraid to take on controversial, pro-police and pro-America content that others think but can’t say,” Reyes said. “But this faceless process by Facebook lacks tracking or accountability and can have a massively negative impact on business.”