My 24 hour facebook ban

EDIT/UPDATE: I just noticed that my ban appears to have been lifted (about six hours later). This is quite wonderful. I haven’t heard from them yet, but I’m hoping this means the system works. Hopefully this is the end of it, because I really have tried to be a so-called “good citizen” of Facebook rather than my typical shit-disturber self. Woo woo! I just hope this doesn’t happen again because it was totally NOT FUN.

EDIT 2: I got the following reply: “The block has been cleared. It was an error and we apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.”

All in all I am very pleased with how this worked out. From first hand experience I know how hard it is to police a large community site, and how automated systems regularly have false positives and false negatives no matter how well designed they are. I’m slightly annoyed at how hard it was to figure out who to contact and how, but all things considered, I’m pleased with how this resolved itself.


So as you may or may not know, it’s extremely easy to get blocked by facebook. Everything you post has a “report” button, and if a few people click that button, what appear to be automated processes lock down the page. This is a common occurance to people in the tattoo and body piercing industry. I know people who have had suspension and piercing photos (especially if there is any blood in the photo) banned for being “self harm” — a patently ridiculous and offensive claim. I’ve also seen tattoo images — backpieces and so on — blocked on a regular basis. I don’t know how much of this is conspiracy of rival shops, and how much of it is the “eww gross” plainskin crowd, but either way, the bodmod community is constantly on eggshells on Facebook. I’m not saying this is Facebook’s fault — just an unfortunate reality of how automated processes work on giant sites.

I recently posted a picture of a woman’s gorgeous tribal chestpiece. I was concerned that her pierced nipples were going “too far” for Facebook, even though technically speaking they allow nudity in an artistic context, which this obviously was. Nonetheless, I decided to blur the nipples, so that the photo didn’t show any more skin than you would see if you went to the beach or a public pool. Not only that, but the photo obviously isn’t sexualized or posed provocatively — it’s a simple documentary photo of a great piece of art.

It’s especially bothersome to me because there are a zillion blogs posting softcore porn that is just barely clothed, with objectified women in obviously pornographic poses — and I have regularly spoken out on my Facebook blog about the sexual portrayal of women in tattoo magazines and on Facebook blogs. My Facebook wall is not a problem, yet I have fallen afoul of their easily triggered block-bots. To make matters worse, it’s almost impossible to contact them, and they make it very clear that they couldn’t care less and the FAQ says something to the effect of “don’t bother contacting us, we never left bans, so just wait it out”.

You may remember the recent case of a journalist caught up in this — “Is Facebook Chicken Sh&t” — and Andrew Noyes of Facebook sensibly stepped forward to say that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. I really hope that’s the case here. I tried to contact Mr. Noyes (as well as posting via some of facebook’s support forms), but unfortunately this ban also blocks me from writing him. Perhaps someone reading this could pass him this link (ie. to this blog entry) and speak on my behalf. If you do, please post in the comments so that he doesn’t get flooded — I don’t want to make this worse!!!

Thanks. Worst case, see ya in 23 hours. Well, worst case, I guess I get kicked off completely, but I can’t imagine that happening in any reasonable world.


This by the way is what I submitted to them:

My account was recently given a “24 hour block” for posting content that it said violated community standards.

I have to admit that I am totally confused as to why. As you can probably look up and see, the photo was of a tattoo that a friend did, on a woman’s chest. Even though it was completely non-pornographic and simply documenting a beautiful tattoo, I took the time to censor the nipples out of the photo. Your “nudity” section says:

“At the same time, we aspire to respect people‚Äôs right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

Given that I censored the nipples, and don’t show any more than might be visible in a bathing suit, I was more than a little shocked to have this happen. I think any reasonable person would agree this photo is of a work of art, and significantly less offensive than “Michelangelo’s David” which you mention on your standards page.

I can only assume that some uptight people, or perhaps people who were trying to falsely get me in trouble, reported the photo and triggered an automated process. I do not post sexualized photos on my facebook wall, as a great many people do, and I take efforts to censor or not post nudity of any sort, inappropriate or not. I believe that this picture was removed in error and without adequate oversight.

I would appreciate this ban being lifted, the photo being restored, and that you will look into the process that caused this unfair censoring and blocking to occur.

If I am misinterpretting your community standards and this photo was, for example, removed because it is “self harm” or “sadistic pleasure” (which I would argue is a highly conservative interpretation that runs contrary to Western community standards), I’d appreciate a clear statement letting me know that tattoos on women’s chests are considered contrary to Facebook’s standards.

Thank you,

Shannon Larratt
http://www.facebook.com/larratt

8 Comments

  1. Raimon Hennecke wrote:

    ooh Shannon -

    why does that so much remind me about my ban from iam.bmezine.com in nobember 2003… hmmm???

    pretty much similar arguments with the then-in-charge owner&operator of that to me at that time extremely important site –

    with virtually all my really significant contacts.

    which I lost from one minute to another.

    and did take heaps of time and effort to restore elsewhere (mainly Myspace)

    at least your facebook ban will probably be lifted in a few hours of time – mine remained permanent…

    oooh believe me how I can share your feelings…

    btw say hello to Caitlin who actually started all the drama for me by closing my account while you were in Amsterdam.

    I still regret to not have taken the chance to see and speak to you there in person about that issue.

    as I’m pretty sure you’d ‘switched the switch back on’ if I had.

    but… You were so very clear about not wanting to hear anything about bmezine during those two weeks…

    so I think you now experience just a glimpse of feelings & emotions I went through 8-9 years ago…

    cheers

    –Raimon–

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
  2. TR wrote:

    That is just messed up. I had no idea (being new to spacebook) that their censorship was so off the wall. I am going to have to re-edit a bunch of suspension pics I was working on before posting them, if this was deemed “too much”. Will be looking forward to your return.

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink
  3. Lexci wrote:

    I had my account suspended for 24 hours last week because I posted a picture of a tattoo of a topless woman.
    Not even real breasts. A TATTOO of breasts on my studio’s Facebook page.

    Bullshit.
    I can’t believe it’s 2012 and people are still getting their panties twisted by nudity.

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  4. Cenobitez wrote:

    This is one of my biggest concerns with the dip in IAM’s userbase. Albeit not exactly related but adds to my point.

    Body Mod is not feasible without going pornified aka SG which stops far far away from bme/iam. If IAM dies I don’t believe there will ever be a replacement social network of any real size. Various attempts but all have failed as far as I know.

    Much like you have described we’ll be reduced to scurrying around the darkened corners of facebook like cockroaches waiting to be exterminated :(

    I hope you get somewhere but I believe even if you get back this time its only a matter of time until you are slaughtered :(

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  5. Shannon wrote:

    Raimon, I am sure that you are not the only one that is enjoying a certain humor at the role reversal, which I can certainly see as well.

    TR, I think it’s not so much facebook’s censorship, but just the reality, for better and worse, of a headless monster.

    Lexci, that is totally nuts.

    Cenobitez, Rachel was just opining to me about how unfortunate it is that facebook has become the default space due to its sheer bulk — it’s virtually a business necessity for mod artists to have a presence there, but they are there very precariously, and Facebook is not ultimately “on our side”. As capricious as IAM’s TOS policy has been from time to time, at least BME has and always will be on the side of the bodmod community. Facebook is on many levels a deal with the devil by the mod community, with even tattoos being randomly censored at times.

    It’s a real shame that it’s very hard to maintain a sizeable community on sites like BME, BodyMod.org, etc.

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  6. Shannon wrote:

    BAN JUST GOT LIFTED!! The system works?

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink
  7. HJP wrote:

    I won’t use Facebook, just too much crap to deal with not saying or posting not to mention I don’t need more people tracking me.

    Since you are expanding a bit though, I will recommend Fetlife. The site is a open community of all sorts, not just bdsm or piercing, or suspension, etc. There are a few BME people on it I have befriended, and tons more you probably know too. If you decide to go that way send me a friend request – Lil_Bear.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
  8. Jeremy wrote:

    Wondering if you got blocked again, tried visiting your page, but got a page not available message.

    Friday, August 3, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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