This was not spam

This all happened a while ago, I wrote up my rant, decided to sleep on it and review it the next day and now it’s a year later and I’ve found it lounging in my drafts folder. Faced with the choice of trash or publish, I’ve gone with publish.

I wrote a polite, considered response to a COVID denier on Facebook who was using incorrect data to promote the idea that we are being fed a wild story by mainstream media. I backed up my comment with data from a reputable source and linked to that source.

Given Facebook’s declared commitment of combatting covid/vaccine misinformation I’m doing something that helps them. But they don’t think so, they’ve identified the comment as Spam. This is the second time this has happened. The first time the link provided was the CDC.

Here’s the comment in full that Facebook says goes against their community standards of for spam.

Here’s Facebook’s community standard on Spam in full

I’m clearly not cloaking, posting misleading content, using a deceptive pop up of any type, like/share gating, using a deceptive landing page, or impersonating anyone. It’s really unclear how my post can be identified as spam.

Given that it has happened twice it suggests that the Covid deniers have figured out that any post with a link will be accepted as spam by the Community Standard Bots if they complain about it.

It also suggests that Facebook are not able – or worse, not willing – to write an AI program that can recognize credible URLs since the two times this has happened to me the link has been to a government website. Once from the US government and once from the Dutch government.

Of course Facebook give me the chance to disagree with their decision.

I did disagree with the decision, and here is the automated response.

They’re using COVID, the very thing my original post was providing factual information about, as an excuse to not review my post.

They’re saying they have “fewer reviewers available” because of COVID. But this is a job that can 100% be a work-from-home job. Given Facebook’s enormous profits they have no excuse.

And what have I learnt from this? I won’t add URLs to controversial posts, making it harder for people to fact-check my statements against the sources I’ve used.