Facebook Accused Me of Hate Speech — and I Appealed (Twice!)

I Am Guilty of posting “Hate Speech” on social media …according to Facebook’s algorithms and whoever (or whatever) reviewed that declaration when I appealed.

The terrible, horrible, hateful idea I had posted in response to a comment: that women shouldn’t have to hide their intelligence in order to be appealing to men.

The gall. I mean, how could I be so insensitive, and insulting, and probably several other “in” words!?

Although I didn’t even call that type of insipid man a “pig” (or even insensitive and insecure) — after all, that would have — or at least should have! — triggered their algorithm banning hate speech.

But for the record, inscrutable, inscient men who assume all women are less intelligent than they are simply because of their gender are not only wrong (insensible, even!), but they are, in the long and storied vernacular of the women’s liberation movement, “sexist pigs” who almost certainly not only have a small intellect, but probably also vanishingly small (aka insignificant) penises.

The Insightful (aka Inciting) Post

The meme: 'Think. Because it's sexy.'It all started as part of my “Think Series” — short, stark memes encouraging more thinking in the world, in part because True’s Mission is to …Encourage More Thinking in the World. Number 6 (of 52 — one a week on Thursday evenings), posted May 13, was “Think. Because it’s sexy.”

“Sexy”? Uh oh.

Melba Jane — a woman — posted the first comment, four minutes later: “In today’s world it appears fewer and fewer are using their thought process. 🙁 ”. Dan O’Brien posted the second: “But it’s SOOOOOO hard.. Well for a lot of people it is..” And Marion Wyse posted the third: “We must have grown up in different generations, Randy!” — to which I clicked “LOL” and responded, “Shh! I’m trying to effectuate a mindset shift!”

Marion clicked “Care” (the smiley face hugging a heart) to that and responded, “To be clear, several men of my age group found me sexy … until, as one engineer put it, i opened my mouth. 😉 YOU are already indicative of the shift!” She appreciated that there are now men who encourage smart women like her to show their intellect, rather than tell them to shut up because it shows they (the men) don’t have such intellect.

I clicked “Love” on her comment, and replied, “Yeah, I’m not particularly attracted to dumb women, and definitely not attracted to smart women who play dumb.”

OK, did you catch the “hate speech” in that thread? Go back and look!

Apparently it’s “hateful” to not be “particularly attracted to dumb women” or, at the very least, “definitely not attracted to smart women who play dumb” — women who actively hide their best, most humanizing attribute in order to appease inferior men. Men who suddenly find a woman is intelligent and say they are sexy “until [they] opened [their] mouth” — they dared to say something intelligent.

I do notice something about Marion’s typing: it’s pretty typical for her to spell the word “I” in lower case. It makes me wonder if she still subconsciously tries to diminish herself a little by being “smaller” and not standing out. Couldn’t blame her if that’s so, but I find it sad that many women do that — I’ve noticed it before.

I’ll note that Facebook’s action was to delete my comment and to warn (and label) me. It did not suspend my account nor take other punitive action, as many of my real-life friends have noted has happened to them for ridiculously insignificant transgressions. This is the first time I have received such a warning in my many years of publishing sometimes very provocative things there.


“Algorithms are always unambiguous and are used as specifications for performing calculations, data processing, automated reasoning, and other tasks,” Wikipedia says (emphasis added). “The word algorithm itself is derived from the name of the 9th-century mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī [a Persian polymath who produced vastly influential works in mathematics, astronomy, and geography. Around 820 CE he was appointed as the astronomer and head of the library of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.], whose nisba (identifying him as from Khwarazm) was Latinized as Algoritmi.

You know, just the sort of exceptionally intelligent foreigner (and an Arab at that!) who a certain class of inferior “supremacists” would find “inferior.”

Info Needed: No one else can see your comment. [See Options]
Algorithmically Accused: the notification. (Click to see larger.)
Anyway, algorithms work on huge data sets to try to sift out things that would normally need a human to make a judgement upon — such as “Is that comment trying to put someone down?”

Yes, I can certainly understand why Facebook’s algorithms might trigger on my comment: it’s nuanced, and subtle. But surely anyone with (hah!) intelligence can see that nuance and subtlety and “get” that I’m praising female intellect and women who display it, not dismissing the very idea.

I appealed, and four minutes later, that appeal was denied.

But let’s establish what Facebook’s “Community Standards” are regarding “Hate Speech” — since that really is a significant problem on social media.

Facebook’s ‘Community Standards’ regarding Hate Speech

Time stamps on the steps followed.
Appeal Denied …in just four minutes.

The following is lengthy and is thus collapsed unless you wish to read it (click the + to expand), and don’t want to be tracked by Facebook as having sought out their policy on this matter. (Though if you do wish to, the following is copied from: Facebook Community Standards, Hate Speech.)

Note that the text of their policy would absolutely trigger their algorithms: it contains examples of the words and phrases that the algorithms are designed to detect and exclude, which means they cannot even be discussed on Facebook itself — yet another reason why I have chosen to discuss the shortcomings of their algorithms here instead of there. Interestingly, the classic “N-word” is not among the many disparaging terms explicitly called out.

Facebook’s ‘Community Standards’ regarding Hate Speech

12. Hate Speech

Policy Rationale
We believe that people use their voice and connect more freely when they don’t feel attacked on the basis of who they are. That’s why we don’t allow hate speech on Facebook. It creates an environment of intimidation and exclusion, and in some cases may promote offline violence.

We define hate speech as a direct attack against people on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease. We define attacks as violent or dehumanizing speech, harmful stereotypes, statements of inferiority, expressions of contempt, disgust or dismissal, cursing, and calls for exclusion or segregation. We consider age a protected characteristic when referenced along with another protected characteristic. We also protect refugees, migrants, immigrants and asylum seekers from the most severe attacks, though we do allow commentary and criticism of immigration policies. Similarly, we provide some protections for characteristics like occupation, when they’re referenced along with a protected characteristic.

We recognize that people sometimes share content that includes someone else’s hate speech to condemn it or raise awareness. In other cases, speech that might otherwise violate our standards can be used self-referentially or in an empowering way. Our policies are designed to allow room for these types of speech, but we require people to clearly indicate their intent. If intention is unclear, we may remove content.

Do not post:

Tier 1

Content targeting a person or group of people (including all subsets except those described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses) on the basis of their aforementioned protected characteristic(s) or immigration status with:

  • Violent speech or support in written or visual form
  • Dehumanizing speech or imagery in the form of comparisons, generalizations, or unqualified behavioral statements (in written or visual form) to or about:
    • Insects
    • Animals that are culturally perceived as intellectually or physically inferior
    • Filth, bacteria, disease and feces
    • Sexual predator
    • Subhumanity
    • Violent and sexual criminals
    • Other criminals (including but not limited to “thieves,” “bank robbers,” or saying “All [protected characteristic or quasi-protected characteristic] are ‘criminals’”)
    • Statements denying existence
  • Mocking the concept, events or victims of hate crimes even if no real person is depicted in an image
  • Designated dehumanizing comparisons, generalizations, or behavioral statements (in written or visual form)- that include:
    • Black people and apes or ape-like creatures
    • Black people and farm equipment
    • Caricatures of Black people in the form of blackface
    • Jewish people and rats
    • Jewish people running the world or controlling major institutions such as media networks, the economy or the government
    • Denying or distorting information about the Holocaust
    • Muslim people and pigs
    • Muslim person and sexual relations with goats or pigs
    • Mexican people and worm like creatures
    • Women as household objects or referring to women as property or “objects”
    • Transgender or non-binary people referred to as “it”
    • Dalits, scheduled caste or ‘lower caste’ people as menial laborers

Tier 2

Content targeting a person or group of people on the basis of their protected characteristic(s) with:

  • Generalizations that state inferiority (in written or visual form) in the following ways:
    • Physical deficiencies are defined as those about:
      • Hygiene, including but not limited to: filthy, dirty, smelly
      • Physical appearance, including but not limited to: ugly, hideous
    • Mental deficiencies are defined as those about:
      • Intellectual capacity, including but not limited to: dumb, stupid, idiots
      • Education, including but not limited to: illiterate, uneducated
      • Mental health, including but not limited to: mentally ill, retarded, crazy, insane
    • Moral deficiencies are defined as those about:
      • Character traits culturally perceived as negative, including but not limited to: coward, liar, arrogant, ignorant
      • Derogatory terms related to sexual activity, including but not limited to: whore, slut, perverts
    • Other statements of inferiority, which we define as:
      • Expressions about being less than adequate, including but not limited to: worthless, useless
      • Expressions about being better/worse than another protected characteristic, including but not limited to: “I believe that males are superior to females.”
      • Expressions about deviating from the norm, including but not limited to: freaks, abnormal
    • Expressions of contempt (in written or visual form), which we define as:
      • Self-admission to intolerance on the basis of a protected characteristics, including but not limited to: homophobic, islamophobic, racist
      • Expressions that a protected characteristic shouldn’t exist
      • Expressions of hate, including but not limited to: despise, hate
    • Expressions of dismissal, including but not limited to: don´t respect, don’t like, don´t care for
    • Expressions of disgust (in written or visual form), which we define as:
      • Expressions that suggest the target causes sickness, including but not limited to: vomit, throw up
      • Expressions of repulsion or distaste, including but not limited to: vile, disgusting, yuck
    • Cursing, defined as:
      • Referring to the target as genitalia or anus, including but not limited to: cunt, dick, asshole
      • Profane terms or phrases with the intent to insult, including but not limited to: fuck, bitch, motherfucker
      • Terms or phrases calling for engagement in sexual activity, or contact with genitalia, anus, feces or urine, including but not limited to: suck my dick, kiss my ass, eat shit

Tier 3

Content targeting a person or group of people on the basis of their protected characteristic(s) with any of the following:

  • Segregation in the form of calls for action, statements of intent, aspirational or conditional statements, or statements advocating or supporting segregation.
  • Exclusion in the form of calls for action, statements of intent, aspirational or conditional statements, or statements advocating or supporting, defined as
    • Explicit exclusion, which means things like expelling certain groups or saying they’re not allowed
    • Political exclusion, which means denying the right to right to political participation
    • Economic exclusion, which means denying access to economic entitlements and limiting participation in the labour market
    • Social exclusion, which means things like denying access to spaces (physical and online)and social services

Content that describes or negatively targets people with slurs, where slurs are defined as words that are inherently offensive and used as insulting labels for the above-listed characteristics.

For the following Community Standards, we require additional information and/or context to enforce:

Do not post:

  • Content explicitly providing or offering to provide products or services that aim to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity

Source: Facebook Community Standards, Hate Speech.

In summary, “We define hate speech as a direct attack against people on the basis of what we call protected characteristics [including gender]. We define attacks as violent or dehumanizing speech, harmful stereotypes, statements of inferiority, expressions of contempt, disgust or dismissal, cursing, and calls for exclusion or segregation.” (Emphasis added.)

My comment does not meet that definition, so I appealed the automated determination of “hate speech” as applied to that comment. In other words, I hoped that a human, who has much more capacity to understand subtlety than a computer program, would review the context of the remark and understand the absolute encouragement I was expressing.

No such luck. Not that this is unusual: they screw it up all the time — a link supplied by Marion. One telling passage from that article: “Algorithmic systems lack an ability to capture nuances and contextual particularities, which may not be understood by human moderators who test data used to train these algorithms either.”

Either the same algorithm scanned it again after my appeal, or an overworked human who lacked appreciation for nuance “didn’t get it” (or just went by inflexible guidelines — you know, the sort of thing promoted by unthinking zero tolerance), and affirmed the computer’s “judgement” …just four minutes later.

So I appealed to the Facebook Oversight Board, which was in the news recently as having affirmed Facebook’s decision to ban Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram “for violating its Community Standard on Dangerous Individuals and Organizations,” but slamming the company for not following its own policies in doing so. (Note: this page will not go into whether that was a good or bad decision on the part of Facebook or its Oversight Board, nor will I approve comments about that.)

Board Appeals: Not for the Faint of Heart

The problems about my making such an appeal are that 1) they warn that “very few” appeals are “selected” for review (aka, don’t expect them to even read it) — which is what prompted me to write this page so that the public could see the sort of procedures Facebook has, and 2) they threaten (my word) that to submit such an appeal, I must agree to allow the Board “to share details that could easily identify you” in its published decision, including sharing “data with special protections about you.”

Wouldn’t that very requirement on all Board appeals severely intimidate the very sort of people their policy is trying to protect?! Even I — a white man of privilege who has a large, well-established platform where I openly publish my opinions to an audience large enough that this has been my primary source of income for more than a quarter century — took pause before agreeing to such a thing.

They provided links to define these aspects:

What are “details that could easily identify me”?

These details include:

  • your first and last name
  • the city you live in
  • your profile picture (or a description of it)
  • your cover photo (or a description of it)
  • your follower and friend counts
  • the date your Facebook or Instagram account was created
  • the locations that you have chosen to indicate on your account

What is “data with special protections”?

“Data with special protections” is information about your racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sex life or sexual orientation, criminal conviction or offenses. This information is subject to special protections, including under EU law. [emphasis added*]

If you submit an appeal or provide the board with further context about an appeal on your content, you will be asked whether you give permission to let Facebook process data with special protections that you choose to provide about yourself. If you later wish to withdraw this consent, you can go to Case Status and choose “delete my information.”

You will also be asked whether you give permission for the board to share data with special protections about you in the public, written explanation of its final decision. If you later wish to withdraw this permission, you can go to Case Status and do so. If the board has already published a decision on your case, the board will remove the explanation from this website and take out your data with special protections. The board will then re-post the new, edited explanation. Please note that the board cannot change any commentary about this case that has already been published by other people or organizations.

* Do you think Facebook has correctly divined your “political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sex life or sexual orientation, criminal conviction or offenses.”? I sure as hell don’t, yet in order to be heard, I have to agree to let them publish, without prior review, their opinion as to such personal characteristics, which I consciously keep out of the public eye as a professional journalist; True is, by design, nonpartisan.

I submitted the formal appeal anyway.

Appeal #2: submitted to the Facebook Oversight Board.
Appeal #2: submitted to the Facebook Oversight Board.

Who Cares What I Think?

Indeed, who does care (other than some percentage of that large paying audience who makes it possible for me to make a living publishing social commentary online)?

Anyone with an open mind.

But maybe I got it wrong. I am wrong sometimes, and perhaps I have a blind spot that others (especially women — and especially Marion, who I was replying to), might see.

First, in a private place on Facebook, I announced to some colleagues that “Today, I was accused by FB of ‘hate speech.’ I appealed, was denied. I appealed to the ‘Oversight Board’ …and was warned that few appeals to them are reviewed. Well, I’ll be blogging about it in the next few days. The accusation: defending a woman’s right to assert her intelligence rather than ‘play dumb’ is ‘hate speech.’”

Reactions to that included “Like”, “Care”, “Wow”, and “Angry”.

But one comment was really chilling, made by a friend who is a young widow and lives alone: “If you write about this, feel free to include that I recently received an honest to God no foolin’ death threat, and FB said that that wasn’t against their rules.”

Got that? Saying women should be encouraged to not hide their intelligence is “hate speech” against theoretical victims, but “honest to God no foolin’ death threats” against real, identifiable women are just fine and dandy.

If that doesn’t tell you about Facebook’s selective “zero tolerance” mentality and, frankly, grossly immoral position, I don’t know what does.

Ask Marion

So what does the supposed “target” of my supposed “hate speech” think? After all, shouldn’t the “victim” of a “direct attack against people on the basis of what we call protected characteristics” (where “attack” means “violent or dehumanizing speech” against them) have a say?

First, I used some of my small amount of space to encourage the Oversight Board to contact her directly and ask.

Second, I contacted her directly and asked.

I sent Marion the first graphic above that had my comment, and asked if she had seen it before they removed it. I also solicited “your honest reaction to my comment: did you consider it dismissive of your intelligence, or supportive of you (and by extension all women) being able to express intelligence rather than hide it to please men? I don’t want you to say the latter unless you really believe it: if you think I was out of line in ANY way I’d like to hear about it with no holds barred.”

I made it clear I would publish her reply without changing anything.

Well, she really let me have it: “Thanks for including me in your conversation with Facebook. No, i didn’t see this comment and yes, i support your position 100%. I would have clicked the WOW icon for reasons given below. You are welcome to use anything that i say here.”

“Too often in the first third of my life,” she continued, “i had to play dumb in order to survive a male with socially-sanctioned economic and/or emotional power over me. I’m divorced twice; the common reason was that each ex stopped displaying respect for me as soon as the marriage vows were said. Through these earlier traumas i learned deeply that most men of my age group (mid-wave baby boomers) talk the talk without walking the walk, and i concluded that such lip service is simply a way to ensure acceptance within their social group. It was a courtship show, in other words.

“The rare men i’ve met of any age who walk the walk have become mutually supportive life friends. If I’d had the smarts when young to hold out for a mate who truly respected my abilities as I would his, my life trajectory would have worked out better emotionally and economically. As my dad used to say, ‘Too soon old, too late smart.’ Our caring surmounted earlier mistakes and he [my father] learned to give to me the respect he’d always vouchsafed to able women outside the family. Old scars have adhesions, as I learned to say about those like me who are survivors of such attitudes, and I steer clear of any situations or persons who consistently and intentionally poke at those scars while being careful not to inflict wounds on others myself.”

As to the post itself, she continued, it “did not poke. It did evoke memories and awareness of how untrue such a statement has been for me, though I fervently would wish it otherwise. And that kind of response by one of your readers is okay. I can see that the world evolves in a good way due to such mentoring as you offer. Your This is True site promotes respect for others and holds up a mirror to the stupidity of those who do not act out of respect.

“This has always told me that you live in that respect: your work, whether volunteer or site-based, has demonstrated this for decades, which is why i’ve been a subscriber even during years of low income ~ you refresh my faith in human potential for decent behaviour. You’re a living example of the business ethic attitude which i taught and occasionally had to fight for.”

But, I’ll guess, Facebook won’t care whatever about her opinion — which indifference would absolutely be a patronizing pat on Marion’s head.

Interestingly, Marion wrote back later to add, “I was shocked that your comment was labeled ‘hate speech’ by an algorithm, which was then defended when challenged. What I’ve always wondered is why anyone would trust algorithms to make moral decisions.”

Why indeed.

Some will read this and cry “Censorship!” or “Unconstitutional denial of free speech!” I’m not. Facebook, while seen by many as a public utility, is a private playground. They get to set the rules. The problem here is, I didn’t actually violate those rules, which I’ve reproduced above.

My Appeal in Detail

The full text of my appeal is again in a “click to open” format in case you’d just as soon skip it. The original appeal is limited to clicking a limited number of possible selections to provide a basis for the appeal, which is obviously very much slanted against the appellant.

The Oversight Board appeal form allows for free text entry, but the appellant is forced to be very concise: there’s a “countdown” under each space showing how many more characters can be used. That lends itself to a somewhat stilted approach, but that’s the way it is.

There is also no ability to use italics or bold, which limits emphasis to ALL UPPER CASE.

Oversight Board Appeal

Title: Nuance should be appreciated, not condemned.

How did Facebook get the decision wrong?

NO ONE was “attacked” by my comment in ANY way. Rather than the contended “attack” on someone for who they are, my comment was an ACCEPTANCE and PRAISE of women not hiding their intelligence to please men.

The commenter was attacked by men for showing her intelligence. My comment affirmed that she should indeed NOT hide her intelligence. That is NOT by ANY stretch of the imagination an attack on her OR “hate speech”! It is my belief that she not only understood this, but appreciated my comment. So the “hate” is …where? It’s “hate” to celebrate women’s intelligence? To call THAT “hate” is, my dear board members, “hate”! You’re demanding that I stop praising women’s intelligence. That is, simply, disgusting and outrageous. Your algorithms got it wrong. And if an actual human affirmed the algorithm, they got it wrong too. PLEASE DO contact the woman I was replying to and ASK her if she believes my comment was “hate” or praise. I have NO doubt whatever what her answer will be. If that isn’t affirmation of my reply to her, I don’t know what is. (Doubting her reply would be, in fact, extreme condescension and dismissal of a woman’s thoughts. Guess what THAT would be?!)

This ruling is absolutely wrong, and I deserve an apology.

Why did you post this content? [and the original asked if Facebook “misunderstood” the content]

Reason: to praise the commenter’s intelligence. Facebook misunderstood? ABSOLUTELY and positively without ANY doubt.

Does this content involve important social issues?

Absolutely it is important for men (especially) to see other men praising a woman’s intelligence, and to dismiss the idea that women “should” play “dumb” to please ignorant and sexist men. This is true for ALL countries, though my audience is mainly US, followed by other English-speaking countries (Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand especially).

Which languages were used in your content?


Which countries is this content relevant to? [Choose ONE]

United States

What keywords best describe your content? [Choose up to THREE]


Provide a summary for your submission

Nuance should be appreciated, not condemned.

Is there anything else you think the board should know?

First, I appreciate the ability to submit reasoning for consideration rather than be limited to checkboxes. Social media IS rife with hate, so to lump my praise of women’s intelligence into the bucket of “hate speech” is truly offensive and morally wrong.

What Can Be Shared About You with the Public?

Do you give permission for the board to share details that could easily identify you in its explanation?

Do you give permission for the board to share data with special protections about you in its explanation?

Submitted to the Court of Public Opinion

Lady Justice's scales tilt ...so I turned the picture to make them even.
Trying to get those scales of justice even….

I’m not ashamed to say that it’s quite daunting to be accused of a vile thing by perhaps the most socially powerful corporation on the planet. “Hate speech” — against women! My wife has so much faith in me she chuckled at that pronouncement even before I told her what it was about. (Thanks, sweetie!)

Again, I do know that hate speech is absolutely a massive problem in the world, and especially in the semi-anonymous world of social media, and agree Facebook (and other such companies) should do their utmost to stop its spread.

Yet to misclassify actual praise in that category both “proves” to those who actually spew hate that the social media companies get it completely wrong and therefore whatever they said was misinterpreted, and it trivializes real hate speech.

Both of those facts are sad commentary on social media.

I look forward to your comments.

June Update

No, I haven’t heard anything back from Facebook (or its “Oversight Board”), but I did hear about an even more outrageous case on the same lines. Or, more specifically, in the same lines as “Saying women should be encouraged to not hide their intelligence is ‘hate speech’ against theoretical victims, but ‘honest to God no foolin’ death threats’ against real, identifiable women are just fine and dandy.” (Above)

On June 16 political commentator Jim Wright, who is retired from the U.S. Navy, reported (on Facebook where he has more than 200,000 followers) that he was suspended from Facebook “for a few days.”


He had reported to Facebook about a honest to God no foolin’ death threat he received via a Facebook message, and sure enough they blew it off as “not a violation” of their rules.

Yet when Wright took a screencap of the threat, blocked the person’s name so he wouldn’t be identifiable, and posted that openly? Wright was suspended for “bullying” that unidentifiable person.

Say what?

Reminds me of high school, when someone finally pushes a bully back: a teacher sees that and the victim is marched to the principal and suspended. The bully? Well they didn’t see him do anything wrong!

Yet “The message that Facebook specifically told me wasn’t a violation of the [Terms of Service] when some goon sent it to me somehow became a violation of the TOS when I posted it.”

Which takes us right back to:

“What I’ve always wondered is why anyone would trust algorithms to make moral decisions.” —Marion Wyse
“What I’ve always wondered is why anyone would trust algorithms to make moral decisions.” —Marion Wyse

Yeah, that.

Any company who does this without rational backup from humans who can demonstrate that they can make moral decisions has abdicated their moral responsibility; they are evil.

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Facebook Accused Me of Hate Speech — and I Appealed (Twice!)
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66 Comments on “Facebook Accused Me of Hate Speech — and I Appealed (Twice!)

  1. Sadly, “algorithms” are supposed to involve “intelligence”. And even if the AI gets it wrong, the human reviewers are supposed to actually be, you know, human.

    • Artificial Intelligence is a tool. It can be incredibly helpful *in the hands of intelligent people*. Trying to vet every Facebook post manually would be completely impractical, so OF COURSE Facebook use automated algorithms to weed through the bulk of them. I don’t think anyone’s expecting otherwise, nor is anyone objecting to them doing so.

      The problem here isn’t the AI. The problem is the total lack of human oversight and a proper appeals process. Facebook has shown, yet again, that they don’t care about people’s privacy, only about their own bottom line.

      There’s a reason I avoid the platform entirely. (I do technically have an Instagram account, but only to comment on other people’s posts. With Facebook proper, I refuse to even click on public post links.)

  2. A thinking woman is not only attractive- but attractive in a significantly different way than the women who depend on sex.

    PS, welcome to the club. In the last 12 months, I have spent 72 days in Facebook jail!

    Wow! (For others who might wonder, “Facebook jail” is being suspended from posting for some period of time for “transgressions” of their rules …whether the rules are actually broken or not. -rc

  3. Algorithms are the virtual extension of “decisions by committee.” In both cases, it’s extremely difficult to know who’s making the decision, how or why, since there’s no single ownership, and even more difficult to alter the thought process. It’s like the Wizard of Oz, but you can never pull-back the green curtain. Is it more maddening, than frightening?

    In my case, at least, yes. -rc

    • It was a question to you. Few of us have faced that situation. I’d be frightened.

      It was a bit daunting. -rc

  4. One of my groups is a “today in history” group, and my co-admin, the guy with all the historical facts, posted that 100+ years ago the group in white sheets and pointy hoods held a rally, simple statement of fact, no editorializing, and he was put in jail for 11 days for “hate speech”, effectively shutting down the group. There were hundreds upon hundreds of angry members over Facebook’s actions, because even those with limited reading skills could see that it wasn’t “hate speech”.

    That’s just not OKK. -rc

  5. It’s not complicated. We can’t say anything against any American terrorist group (especially if you’re a middle class white male or female). I’m not going to name them because I will end up in Facebook jail again but feminists rank among them!

  6. I guess Facebook has a right to mess up whatever it wants; I just wish that they didn’t claim that people had a way to fix it.

  7. Years ago you warned us about the threat of zero tolerance. To see a great publication such as as yours punished by an obvious lack of thinking should sadden all of your subscribers.

  8. I guess it’s the “d-word.” I once got reprimanded for hate speech when I applied that word to Americans. Apparently, you can’t even insult a group that you’re a part of.

    Well that’s just dumb! -rc

    • “Dumb” is an ableist term. Although if that was the issue fb had, that was the reason they should have stated.

  9. I posted (on a humor page!) a variation of the well-known phrase “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog” and got put in Facebook jail for it.

    I appealed the “violation”, knowing that a human reviewer would instantly see the algorithm’s error since my comment was obviously and unambiguously *not* a violation, but they upheld the decision and warned me that further violations could get me banned. I’m really not sure how to avoid “further violations” though, since I haven’t yet committed one.

    That you know of: they can apply rules to you even if you don’t break them! -rc

  10. You can appeal? I’ve not been given information on how to do that when I was in Facebook jail.

    I followed the prompts in the two notices, reproduced above. -rc

  11. Since February I have had ever-increasing time in Facebook jail, all the way up to a 30-day ban for calling someone a narc.

    I guess in this day and age, to call a person a cop is a grave offense… for some. -rc

  12. Apparently in Hades:

    The police are German
    The cooks are British
    The engineers are Italian
    The administrators are French
    The lovers are Swiss
    Hate speech is determined by literalists.

    (I preemptively deplatformed my FB account months ago after years of it being in a disabled state).

  13. I was accused of bullying by asking an obnoxious poster, “what would your mother think of your comment?” I appealed and that was rejected. I was also warned for using a Shakespearian word “twat”, but have quite often seen a much worse word (rhymes with front and begins with “c”), but no restriction. Life is strange.

    The “C-word” is included in FB’s “Community Standards” included above. You know, in the area where the “N-word” isn’t. -rc

  14. Facebook CensorBots only look at words and word groups; they’re totally oblivious to context. Their appeals process is usually pretty mindless; you get no say in it, and it usually works like this:

    1. You post something
    2. CensorBots flag it as unacceptable
    3. You request a review
    4. A human takes one second to read the post, and says “Yes, our ruling was right”.

    I had one such comment flagged a couple of weeks ago (Someone posted a picture of a man p**ing off the edge of a cliff — that was not flagged, and I made a reference to the Orville episode Ja’loja that dealt with that exact subject — something acceptable to prime-time TV, but apparently not to FaceBots).

    But this is only if they actually read it. Despite the fact that these disputes are supposed to be reviewed within 48 hours (the above one was), I have three outstanding comments that were flagged in Nov. 2019 and are STILL under review over a year and a half later.

    But we have to put this in perspective. When you use a free service, you get what you pay for.

  15. It just amazes me what FB considers hate speech and the amount of real hate speech they actually let by. Evidently comparing people to the devil is allowed.

    I reported someone for trying to solicit me in his comments on a post I’d made on a site devoted to women’s accomplishments and FB refused to remove the comment. They told me I could block it so I didn’t see it, but that left it up for everyone else to see. Evidently lewd comments are also ok.

  16. I have been trying to get off Facebook for months. They make it very difficult. They have directions for how to delete your page but there’s always one more step. And, then they keep you page up there for another 30 days in case you change your mind.

    I haven’t posted on my page for months and block people who post things I don’t agree with. I am “supposed” to be a totally closed page but keep getting friend requests from (mostly) Nigerian men who love me. They are rich, in their 20s, you know that story. I have grandchildren who are a decade older.

    It is so frustrating trying to shut down my page, but now you have given me hope! I will just copy/paste something vile from the ex-president’s rants. Lol. Or wait. That doesn’t work. I’ll copy/paste your “vile” rant. Lol

    “Not posting” is not abandoning your page. You have to log out and not log in again for at least 30 days before your account will disappear. Check now and then with a browser in “incognito” mode (Chrome) or “private” (many others), but be sure to not log in. Also smart to go in (after you log out) and delete any FB cookies on your computer. I’m sure if you google “delete facebook cookies” (plus your browser name, such as “chrome”), you’ll get very clear instructions. -rc

  17. I caught a 3 day ban for a legitimate discussion of the Battle of the Bulge.

    Then I posted a picture of my wrist that was superficially cut (from working, not self harm) and I caught a 30 day ban for posting nudity!

    Wow. -rc

  18. An excellent example of why we need to be careful about trusting any type of AI too much. It’s not perfect, because the algorithms and programs are written by fallible humans.

    I would venture that your appeal was never seen by a human. And if it was, well, see above.

    • AI is always “A” and almost NEVER “I”. My father used to say “to err is human, but to really mess things up takes a computer.”

      • One of my Computer Science professors at Antioch College (I was there 1990-1994) liked to say that it’s really artificial stupidity. I haven’t yet seen any reason to disagree.

  19. Not that any thinking person needed it, but this is just more proof that FB is stupid and bordering on fascist. You’re the bomb, Randy.

    If you posted that comment on FB, you’d probably be suspended for a bit. Here, however, it’s valued perspective. -rc

  20. Randy’s post and all your comments are true esteem boosts to all genders!

    FYI to Randy’s comment above on my use of ‘i’: the reason i use lower-case for ego identification lies on a three-legged stool: (1) i liked it when e. e. cummings did it and since i’ve written poetry a long time, got into his habit, (2) after studying Jung for decades i decided the ego rests well and healthily inside the Self so the lack of cap reminds me of that, & (3) i taught myself to type and am relatively lazy. So i conclude that if my gonads had dropped i’d be typing with the same habit. (I have long joked that if my gonads had dropped i’d have been a Jesuit, so there we are, the link back into limitations.)

    • Yes, I see the “i” as more of a human thing rather than a female thing. I would use it more often but the iPad changes it to uppercase and I am too lazy to change it most of the time.

      • What i did was change automated spelling settings to cap only at beginning of sentences. See how that works!!!

  21. Yep … I’m a 3 x FB convict for the fake, non hate, hate speech. Not outrageous, just dumb lol. A friend was waxing deep and poetic comparing certain aspects of today to a dude from the ‘30’s initials A.H. I jokingly responded with an old German phrase (widely connected to A.H.) meaning literally ‘Hail Victory’… landed me in the clink for hate speech‍.

  22. From what I’ve been able to tell, many or maybe even most cases of this are weaponized reporting of posts by trolls and people with agendas, rather than algorithms.

    I’m thinking it’s unlikely in that it was buried in the comments, and who I was commenting to liked it. But ya never know. -rc

  23. I had one go significantly the other direction once. In a public ad on Facebook, a man left a long, rambling comment discussing at length how the Jews were all in control of everything and had orchestrated the 9/11 airplane hijackings as part of their international crusade for the blood of babies, or something to that effect. I immediately reported it to Facebook and got a response shortly thereafter explaining that it did not violate any of their standards. I attempted to appeal, and I never got a response and the appeal button disappeared from my report thereafter. I ultimately only managed to get the comment removed by getting the ADL involved. It was…disturbing.

    Another good counter-example. -rc

  24. Facebook, Twitter and other social media don’t fit well with existing laws. They are not like the phone company but they are also not completely private. They have become the forum where a lot of American political discussion takes place. This gives them a tremendous power to control the direction of political discussion — something quite frightening in a for-profit company that may strongly benefit from one party winning.

    We also need to be careful not to let the definition of “hate speech” drift too far. Hate speech is not supposed to be “speech you don’t like”. I think there needs to be some sort of implicit threat. Otherwise all sorts of legitimate political discussions become impossible.

  25. In a sense you did violate the policy against putting down groups of people. You implied that dumb women, and worse yet, smart women who pretend they are dumb, are not as good as smart women generally. While I agree with you completely from the perspective of overview, they are correct on technicality. When or if your comments were reviewed by a human you received the same kind of assessment that has become so common from Facebook and other social media platforms in their ongoing efforts to guarantee that only things they agree with will be discussed.

    I disagree about the “implication.” I didn’t make “better/worse” comparisons, I said what didn’t “attract” me. I’m not “attracted” by people who are overtly political, either. Doesn’t mean I can’t be friends with them, and it doesn’t differentiate between those or the left vs those on the right — I have friends at both extremes, but I wouldn’t want to date them. Just a preference. Such preferences reflect on me, not on them. -rc

  26. There is a reason most of my posts are about either charities or weapons. My goal is to mess with the algorithms.

    Essentially, it is all about the money. FB has no reason to change unless it becomes more cost effective to behave differently.

    Love the approach! -rc

  27. Your hate speech is very apparent. You used the words ‘dumb’ and ‘women’ in the same sentence. It’s the use of the word ‘women’ is most troubling. All feminine gendered words are offensive. Or so I was told at the sexual harassment seminar I had to attend in the early 1990’s. Feminine gendered, carbon based, humanoid lifeforms (only thing I could come up with that might not be offensive) in the workforce were not to be referred to as girls, gals, women, or ladies, only as staff or staff members. Zero tolerance in the 90’s. Of course, the seminar just skimmed over any thing that I would have actually thought would actually be harassment or offensive. I’ll end my sarcasm now.

  28. Someone mentioned to me something about FB and what they consider hate speech. I decided to conduct a personal experiment to find out how true it was. I made two posts. Each one composed of two sentences. The first one said “This is an experiment. I hate men.” The second one was very similar. “This is an experiment. I hate women.”

    The first one was flagged as going against their standards in, I believe, less than an hour. The second one was finally flagged several days later.

    The comment that was made to me was that derogatory comments made about men would be flagged quickly. Derogatory comments made about women would either not be flagged at all or take much much longer. I repeated the experiment several months later, with similar results — “I hate men” was flagged almost immediately, but it took longer (although not as long as the first time) for “I hate women” to be flagged. It was interesting to see.

    Interesting. Mine was flagged within a couple of hours. I wonder if men’s posts are first scanned for statements about women, and women’s posts are first scanned for statements about men, and then secondary scans for “other”. -rc

  29. Yes, I’ve had comments taken down by Facebook, for completely nonsensical reasons. Lots of other programs act somewhat similarly — I’ve seen news programs where the auto-generated subtitles have the speaker mentioning “Vice President **** Cheney” rather than allowing the name beginning with D. If you’ve ever tried dictating to Microsoft Word, it has an odd list of forbidden words.

    But human beings can be just as stupid. I was a student at Berkeley in the 1960’s, and when a friendly US Senator asked to see my FBI file, we had some serious laughs at some of the things included (even the FBI person passing the file to the Senator commented that nothing in it would tend to stop him from employing me.)

    The “D-word” and such filters are truly ridiculous — and that story goes way back. See my 2008 video about Clbuttic Mistakes. -rc

    • I wonder how they deal with the name of the actor who played Rob Petrie and the chimney sweep in Mary Poppins.

      “Penis van Lesbian”. -rc

    • A public organisation in Scunthorp (UK) put a rude words filter in place. It took them two weeks to figure out why all emails ceased.

  30. I abhor hate speech (which yours certainly was not) but equally abhor the increasing censorship that threatens us all. When I grew up, righteous censorship was the tool of many — often labeled both rightly and wrongly as conservatives — to scare us about the threats of free speech to our children (no Lady Chatterley’s Lover for me). Now others — both rightly and wrongly labeled as liberals — declare any thing that upsets their righteousness as hate speech so they too can censor any message that goes against their personal ethos.

    The problem is that censorship sends all but the brave (kudos to your courage) underground where their anger boils until the pressure cooker explodes. It’s much better to let everyone talk and say whatever they want. The idiots will expose themselves (pun intended) and prove themselves idiots. The dangerous few will provide intelligence to law enforcement. Most everyone will be offended but perhaps most will learn that the right to free speech was not accidental but rather a brilliant advance in the civilization of society.

    Finally, i like the idea of using the less egocentric “i” but because of autocorrect it just takes too much effort. I’ll applaud those who persist!

  31. Algorithms are not intelligent.

    You certainly are! You realize that Facebook is a private platform and gets to set it’s own rules. (I’ve had that argument with a lot of folks.) The problem is its own rules are poorly implemented.

    I really feel that internet service needs to be legally a utility and protected, and there should be truly public platforms that are not run by for-profit companies!

    We are a very long ways from an algorithm being a substitute for a human. It doesn’t help that as those algorithms are programmed by people, they suffer from lowest common denominator problems. Case in point: I fight with the auto-completion software on my phone over the correct form of “its/it’s” because so many people use them incorrectly.

    It’s all so dumb!

    Yeah, you lost the it’s/its war in the first sentence. (I know: ‘Argh!’) -rc

    • I have distrusted Facebook from the beginning and never signed up. The longer I live, I learn more reasons to distrust it and other monoliths like it. Cheers!

  32. A few people are noticing that it’s probably the use of “dumb” that is problematic. The part about denouncing smart women having to play dumb is above all reproach.

    I think that saying you are not attracted to dumb women could be seen as discriminatory. They may interpret it as you feeling superior to other people for being smart and belittling dumb women.

    I can only repeat my response to an earlier comment on this page: I didn’t make “better/worse” comparisons, I said what didn’t “attract” me. I’m not “attracted” by people who are overtly political, either. Doesn’t mean I can’t be friends with them, and it doesn’t differentiate between those or the left vs those on the right — I have friends at both extremes, but I wouldn’t want to date them. Just a preference. Such preferences reflect on me, not on them. -rc

    • Reading your reply made me think (duh!) of something. The word “dumb” was an acceptable word in the past for a specific person’s disability: they couldn’t talk (more likely, because they were also deaf, their speech was not easily understood.)

      Randy, could it have been the use of the word “dumb” that triggered the algorithm?

      I think it was the phrase “dumb women”. -rc

  33. I would guess that the absence of the “N word” from the list of banned terms is because banning it algorithmically would, ironically, most likely result in backlash from the demographic supposedly being protected, due to the fact that it is both common and socially acceptable for members of said demographic to use that word freely amongst themselves. Banning it could potentially be viewed as targeted censorship of a protected ethnic group.

    I’m not saying I agree or disagree, just taking a wild guess at why such a blatant slur might not be included as hate speech.

  34. I feel your comments were Constitutionally protected free speech, I disagree with Faceschnook’s flat “One size fits all” application of a set of near undecipherable “rules”.

    As you know, and now more readers know, I’m a retired police officer. I was speaking with an active (currently working) colleague about the death penalty. My post to my fellow cop was removed and I was suspended for a day. I was rather shocked, since it may be a contentious topic, it is important, and while each state has different policies & laws about capital punishment, our Federal law provides for a death penalty provided the convicted offender gets a fair, impartial trial with a unanimous decision by the jury concerning the penalty applied, and the entire case & decision is reviewed by appellate courts automatically.

    I discuss it with a fellow law enforcement professional and get a suspension.

    A couple of weeks after this suspension, my state’s legislature (SC) introduces and passes a bill providing alternate methods other than lethal injection, providing for the electric chair or alternately, a firing squad. The bill passes the House and Senate in SC, goes to the Governor’s desk, which has since been passed into law with the governor’s signature. All this was required because the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t have any shield law to keep the press from finding out what company sold the state the drugs to be used, they all refuse to sell the euthanasia drugs to our state.

    I now feel justified by our state’s legislative action, but I feel my constitutional rights were violated under the Title 18 US Code, and could be actionable legally.

    It’s also ironic Facebook and subsidiaries are pushing for new Internet regulation laws, now they have so many subsidiaries, they have nearly a monopoly on personal communication by public forum via the Internet. How about a new rule they can’t violate people’s Constitutional rights. I don’t think they are pushing for that with a very expensive advertising campaign.

    I also find it ironic that the Supreme Court has ruled that burning the United States flag in protest is protected by the first amendment, but talking about the death penalty with a fellow law enforcement professional is not apparently protected.

    Your constitutional rights were not violated. I could also choose not to publish your comment here; I instead made the decision TO publish it. It’s my platform, and my right to decide what’s published here. I can even choose to be capricious (but don’t, and actually welcome dissenting opinion). Similarly, Facebook is Facebook’s platform, and they get to decide what the rules are, even if you and I both roll our eyes over the stupid and “wrong” decisions they DO make. -rc

  35. I concur that FB is a private company and therefore get to make their own rules, whatever they may be.

    Similarly they have no requirement to honor “free speech”.

    However, to me I also don’t think they should get the protections congress has provided them as that would seem to be the needed counterbalance.

    I have mostly voted with my feet as regards FB.

  36. I think we, your devoted readers, are a unique bunch, whereas the Facebook algorithm must tune itself to a global spectrum. I hate to mention the name, but the most recent American ex-president opened the door to dismissiveness and disparagement of categories of women. Your comment categorized women and declared your disapproval of specific categories. Without context the comment is exclusionary. I can see why it would be flagged, but the inclusion of context should have given you a pass. People don’t care about context these days. Taking offense is a new hobby for many.

  37. In February I commented on a post of a friend’s baby and said he would have to beat them off (referring to the one saying about being good looking) and caught a 30 day ban for inciting violence! I appealed it and nope. Then 12 days into that ban I caught another ban, and now I am catching bans for posts that are several years old that was ok then, but now are “against the rules”.

    While on my last 30 day ban I read the very ambivalent “community standards” and less than half of my bans are defined in there. My most recent ban was for posting “nudity or sexual acts” and it was a pic of people at the beach. They had on clothes, appealed and lost in 2 minutes.

    • They warned me about the inappropriateness of a post from 4yrs ago in an adult only group which had no cursing & no nudity. Yet they let hackers & spambots run wild.

  38. I’ve been put in Facebook Jail three times for calling a white supremacist a white supremacist, once for explaining to a black person why I am NOT racist, once for saying racism is a bad thing, and once for posting a GIF that was in the Facebook GIF selections — a GIF they gave me access to! Talk about entrapment. I’ve started using the Paint program to make controversial comments (like “racism is a bad thing”) — open Paint, type your comment, ctl-A, ctl-C, go to FB page, ctl-V. The algorithm gods haven’t caught on yet. YET!

  39. Monday (as I was driving in South Carolina, about 500 miles from my house), my messages and my feed blew up with notices that an account with my name (but no other profile info, photos, etc.) had sent friend requests to a bunch of my friends. Immediately (through voice to text as I continued on an SC state highway), I posted that there’s only one of me and that obviously the other post is an imposter.

    I encouraged folks to delete, or better yet report, the spoof account. FB, in its infinite wisdom, determined that the new account wasn’t impersonating me — probably because the other account only used my name and friends list, not any of my other profile info. (So that’s the new trick: Just use the name, gain a few friends, and then act as the con man. Caveat emptor.) I’m fairly sure that no human actually looked at it. [Sigh.]

  40. I got a warning similar to yours, Randy, when I had the audacity to state that a portion of the XY chromosome grouping part of the species was the equivalent of “less than intelligent” on a post showing examples of the lack of knowledge about the XX chromosome grouping’s bodily functions/capacities specifically related to reproduction and cycles.

    André sent a screencap of his FB warning: “A post from the last year didn’t follow our standards.” (emphasis added: !!). What he actually wrote: “Many men are so stupid and refuse to learn better.” …which is demonstrably true.

  41. My 90yo father got a warning when he congratulated a granddaughter for her doctorate degree and for joining the other family members who have broken the glass ceiling.

  42. Wishing you, sincerely, the best of luck Randy. Though it is probably a pipe dream (I wonder if THAT’s gonna be a problem…) to hope that real intelligence has the opportunity to scrutinize your ‘case’.

    There is only one logical outcome, however, actual logic seems to be falling into ever shorter supply.

    DO carry on!

  43. I don’t really have the energy to wind myself up enumerating the times I got put on restriction or in gaol during the pandemic, but note that the Oversight Board may take 6 *months* to rule on your contest.

    One similar example, though, seems instructive.

    A Black facebook member posted something talking about how racism had impinged on his life (don’t remember if it was on FB or off), and — quoting Robert Parker’s ‘Hawk’ in sympathy — I said “Yeah. Honkies suck.”

    Putting down, y’know, *my own race*.

    Didn’t take them an hour to jump all over me.

  44. A long read. Worth it. A little depressing.

    I get too frustrated to fight the good fight. I’m older and don’t feel like fighting anymore. But, I feel badly about you folks that are trying to make a statement, a difference in our thinking. It’s like being controlled by the machines.

    Thanks, Susan. I do still have energy for the fight, and TRUE is all about thinking, and why we need more of it. -rc

  45. I posted the news report about Texans with smart thermostats are shocked to discover that the power company can set the thermostats to 80° F if there is a power problem, on FB.

    My sister commented that now “Climate refugees will be moving north.” That’s it. That is the entire comment she made. FB labeled it hate speech, and suggested she remove it because it didn’t follow “our” standards of hate speech.

    “Our” standards of hate speech seem to be severely misguided.

  46. I’m waiting for someone to hire a lawyer. The suit is about their process allows death threats. I also wonder if there is a case where FB allows a death threat, and the recipient was killed by the threatening person.

    Can’t see how they would win such a suit — and you “know” one would be filed! -rc

  47. I’ve been banned three times two years ago for posts from years ago when they started to include German language. I have a secret weapon for writing critical things: Swiss German which has so many idioms, I am safe for now.

    I once reported an animal abuse video in which a man killed small dogs with his bare hands which also was not a violation in their answer.

    Since a long time I don‘t watch my feed anymore. I just go to my groups or visit friends’ pages directly and play the games I like.

    Algorithms are used cause they are much cheaper than an army of man power. The few who should don’t seem to have common sense cause I bet this are low paid jobs. FB & others don’t seem to understand which are the important jobs in their money machines.

    That’s sickening that FB would shrug off such a video. Did I mention they’re evil? -rc

  48. The mistake people make is, thinking facebook is social media.
    It is political propaganda.
    Facebook does not allow comments which disagree with their political opinion.
    Trump was banned for calling for an insurrection, even though no one has been charged with insurrection related crimes. No one has even been charged with a serious violent crime.
    Meanwhile, in Cuba, the government is literally shooting protesters in the street and Cuba can post all of the hate speech they wish, their account has not been banned.
    Every dictator in the world still have their facebook accounts.
    I have seen you respond to a reader’s complaint to something you wrote with an intelligent, well thought out response explaining why you wrote what you wrote. Facebook is not capable of defending a position because they are only interested in promoting one political opinion.
    It would be like you writing a negative story on president Biden, then only allowing those who agreed with you to post comments and tell the ones who disagreed that you couldn’t post their comments because their comments were hate speech.
    Remember, Facebook banned and blocked anyone who posted anything about the “covid came from a Chinese lab” conspiracy theory because it caused violence against Chinese people, then Biden said it and POOF! The facebook wizard waved his magic wand and it was no longer a conspiracy theory and it was ok to beat Chinese people because they caused the virus.


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