Facebook Blanket-Bans Potentially Millions of Users without Reason and with a New Type of Ban – Facebook Proves Hostile Business Environment Risk
As of last night, potentially millions of users were banned in a single broad-stroke, and with a type of 30-day ban that appears to have been introduced last night. Many reports are coming into The Liberty Block that suggest banned users range from those with no previous or current violations of the Terms of Service or the Community Guidelines to those who couldn’t possibly have violated the Terms of Service or Community Guidelines.
Prior to last night, 30-day bans were rarely ever issued, and typically only given to users with multiple “strikes” and previous, shorter-term bans. Sources with The Liberty Block seem to indicate a far more widespread, “blanket ban” to specifically Conservative voices, which may be a ban on as many as millions of accounts. President Trump was among those banned from the social media site.
Further, according to sources with The Liberty Block, previous 30-day bans still allowed at least some functionality, and were directed specifically at certain pages/users. The new ban seems to be platform-wide, and seems to reduce functionality to a level not yet previously seen. Multiple users are reporting to The Liberty Block that the ban seems to affect even wholly apolitical business accounts only indirectly related to banned user accounts, and seems to affect users on shared networks who login to the banned user’s network on a previously not-banned account, indicating a network-wide IP ban. Basic functionality that is being removed that had not previously been removed includes:
+ Updating basic information, such as business location and hours
+ Unfriending and blocking other users
+ Reporting spam or abuse
+ Flagging posts
+ Blocking users or messages on Messenger
+ Appointing new “roles” (such as “Administrator”) to users who are not banned
+ Deleting, terminating, or postponing ads built on Ads Manager
+ Using (other than viewing) Facebook’s Help Community
+ Accepting permissions
+ Moderating group content on groups that are not banned
+ Editing or deleting user-generated content, including text-only posts
When attempting to perform any tasks on Facebook, newly-banned users get this response:
You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature. For more information, visit the Help Center.
To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards.
The block will be active for 29 days and 8 hours more.
If you think this doesn’t go against our Community Standards let us know.
The link in the warning takes users to a separate page where users can appeal the ban, however, the “Send” button appears to be broken, returning an error message that reads as follows:
One user, who was already on a 30-day ban and was 14 days into his sentence, said even he received the ban. The user reported that, because he was already on a ban, “…There is absolutely no way that I posted anything on Facebook objectionable,” expanding that his previous ban prevented him from posting anything. The user said after the previous ban he hadn’t logged onto his Facebook account until last night after hearing reports of the new ban from other users.
Another user reported not using Facebook for anything for over 3 months, which he knows because his most recent log-on reported “new messages” on Messenger that were over 90 days old.
Previously-banned users are informing The Liberty Block that the extent of the type of ban instituted last night has not yet existed. “Even when I’ve been in Facebook jail I’ve always been able to use messenger [sic] which I have been using today,” one user said. “Jail has NEVER prevented me from using Messenger until tonight.”
It appears the ban does not protect banned users from harassment/abuse, and actually makes it impossible to report posts for abuse or spam. This means that businesses associated with a banned user may see their page bombarded with spam/abuse for the entire 30-day period with no recourse.
Multiple members of The Liberty Block staff and Editorial Board are reporting bans at identical times last night, despite the fact that the page itself seems to still be usable by non-banned admins.
The Liberty Block does not know of any “left-wing” users who have reported the ban, despite dozens of reports (and growing) from users who are privately conservative. One user, who would like to remain anonymous, claims, as of this afternoon, to continue to see “blatant violations of the TOS/Community Guidelines” from “left-wing” users, whose posts refer to calls to violent action against right-wing/conservative users in the wake of events that transpired in Washington, DC yesterday.
The ban sets a new precedent for business risk on the platform. A private media production company owner who wishes to remain anonymous described the damage done to his business as “indicative of a risk environment that is hostile to businesses. I don’t see how you can safely invest in a site like Facebook any more…I can’t even flag spam posters on my business’ page. How can you run a business like this?”
Also worth considering is a massive class-action lawsuit by Facebook’s shareholders against its board. As fiduciaries to their shareholders, the board has a legal responsibility to make decisions with the top priority being the financial success of the company, not political, ethical or environmental concerns. Considering that banning conservatives causes the site to lose a large percentage of its users – and revenue – we can expect Facebook’s stock price to plummet over the coming weeks. This could make matters more complicated for Zuckerberg, who already has made some enemies.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.