Facebook Practices Newspeak In Its Unfair Closure Of Thousands Of Fan Pages

Over 2 years ago I wrote a couple of opinion pieces of my views on Facebook’s initial venture into changing the news feed algorithm. I thought they did, so that organic reach would plummet, while telling members that the opposite was true, all in order to bring people that needed their content to be seen to their knees, or to their wallets at the very least, and fork over cash to pay for what had been a normal process in the not so distant past.  As I said, they were opinion pieces, and I have no way of knowing if this is true, and I may have been born in the morning, but not this morning.

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If you’re thinking that I’m a conspiracy theorist and totally misunderstand the way business works, I’d like to remind you that in 2012 for the week of January 11–18, Facebook data scientists manipulated the News Feeds of 689,003 users to gauge their reactions and emotions to certain types of posts in their news feeds, and all without their permission or knowledge, and probably with not much thought either to what type of psychological damage they might cause.

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They’re at it again two and a half years later as far as toying with the news feed algorithm goes with more or less the same story;  that it’s being done to benefit you, the people, to make your time spent on Facebook more meaningful, but actually hoping to keep you from straying to other social media sites.  If you recall, Facebook has only been in the social media forefront since maybe  2008 or 2009, and it’s not impossible that another,  more viable option than what’s now being delivered by their platform could arise and begin to rock what is already an unsteady boat. They will do whatever it takes to keep advertising dollars flowing in their direction. Evidently even conducting surreptitious unsanctioned psychological tests on clueless people who gave no consent to participate.

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What they’ve been doing the past few months to their Fan Page owners is a prime example of Newspeak, which in Orwell’s novel “1984”  was a controlled language used as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that posed a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace.  Now while Facebook promises that these are the very things they are trying to promote, they have begun a massive purge on Fan Pages, unpublishing with no warning, no request to change anything, nothing more than a message stating that the pages have been unpublished for failure to follow the guidelines set forth in Pages Terms and have specifically stated “links” as being the offending reason in quite a few cases.  There are no strictures against links whatsoever in the Pages Terms or Guidelines as can be seen in the text of the following:

IV.    Page Content
A.    Pages promoting the private sale of regulated goods or services (including firearms, alcohol, tobacco, or adult products) must restrict access to a minimum age of 18.

B.    Pages that promote or facilitate online gambling, games of skill or lotteries, including online casino, sports books, bingo, or poker, are only allowed in specific countries with prior authorization from Facebook.

C.    Pages must not promote the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals. Pages for online pharmacies may be permitted with prior approval from Facebook.

D.    Pages must not contain false, misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive claims or content.

 

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Nowhere, not a single place, does it say a word about a link, but now the majority who have received an answer to any appeal finds the main reason for their page remaining unpublished, to be because they posted links.  They’re obviously referring to paid links, as in, that money is paid to the person who posted the link.  I will never be convinced that each post was checked by a human to determine if any of the reasons under IV. Page Content D.  actually came into play on any of those types of links,  Moreover,  no one is made to visit a Fan Page; no one is coerced to click anything.  And often I’ve seen these types of links add interest to a page and have read several articles they took me to and would do so again if I see one that interests me.   It’s no different than someone clicking on ads on my website (if I had any) after being directed here from Facebook, but personal site links are fine, and you’re encouraged to link to your site from your page.
I understand that I am only there by my own devices and that I agreed to Terms and Services etc. when I signed up, as did everyone, but I expected that what I read and agreed to is what I would be held to.  If rules and policies are going to be changed, they should be posted so viewable to all, and be specific with no gray areas and certainly not turned into Newspeak when it benefits Facebook’s agenda. At the moment, that is a mystery to me given the way they’re closing pages down.  I would think they understood that one of the main reasons they’ve seen such success and quick growth is due to the popularity of the Fan Pages. Now, not  only are they claiming links aren’t allowed, even though there’s not a mention of that on Page Guidelines or Page Terms, they’re stating that Pages are only for businesses and promotions.
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The above message was sent to a Fan Page owner after an appeal for a reinstatement of a  page  and what they’re claiming to be the criteria for page creation is not stated anywhere either.  Anyone can create a page and nowhere is there any reference to the above explanation that a page is used solely for business or promotional purposes.

If I’m in error on that point I beg someone to show me where that text is because I’ve been over the Page Terms, and Guidelines, and all of the other rules and regulations myriad times and have never seen that.  Perhaps it’s hidden like Facebook’s Principles.  Or I should say supposed principles because if there was ever a difference between what one set of rules tries to Newspeak you into believing is actually written down and isn’t, and what is written down but is hidden, or at least not readily accessible from any link I can find other than in a single sentence in Pages Terms which most people obviously haven’t noticed, I’ve never seen one. It’s as if the people who are in charge of the day to day business of the site has never seen them, and if they have, didn’t understand them, and it would appear the founder has forgotten them.  They are what Facebook claims their core values to be;  what Facebook says their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities is derived from, but it seems that all the players haven’t met and don’t know what team they’re on, or even what game they’re playing.

 

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I found these principles when I was writing an appeal for a page owner after his page was unpublished  See below-



This Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (“Statement,” “Terms,” or “SRR”) derives from the Facebook Principles, and is our terms of service that governs our relationship with users and others who interact with Facebook, as well as Facebook brands, products and services, which we call the “Facebook Services” or “Services”.

 Let’s take a look at these and see how they relate to that message above and other things in general.  Wondering why you’ve never seen the link to these principles before now?  So am I.  It took me 5 years to find them.



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Freedom to Share and Connect

People should have the freedom to share whatever information they want, in any medium and any format, and have the right to connect online with anyone – any person, organization or service – as long as they both consent to the connection.

Free Flow of Information

People should have the freedom to access all of the information made available to them by others. People should also have practical tools that make it easy, quick, and efficient to share and access this information.

Fundamental Equality

Every Person – whether individual, advertiser, developer, organization, or other entity – should have representation and access to distribution and information within the Facebook Service, regardless of the Person’s primary activity. There should be a single set of principles, rights, and responsibilities that should apply to all People using the Facebook Service.


Fundamental Service

People should be able to use Facebook for free to establish a presence, connect with others, and share information with them. Every Person should be able to use the Facebook Service regardless of his or her level of participation or contribution.



Now here’s a biggie.  If what’s been going on recently is anything to compare to then someone, somewhere has dropped the ball big time.

Common Welfare

The rights and responsibilities of Facebook and the People that use it should be described in a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which should not be inconsistent with these Principles.


Should NOT be inconsistent.  How anyone can read these principles and see how things concerning the massive closure of pages has been handled and not see a blatant disregard for what these principles state and were meant to set Facebook apart from others, I really don’t know.  It is so crystalline that it’s blinding. Or was that hidden away with one link  tucked inside something somewhere else that the largest amount of members on Facebook never have a reason to go?  Why isn’t there a link to these principles in the footer of the site or anywhere else I’ve tried to locate one?  When you search for them on Google the link comes up in the number one position, but if you don’t know they exist to begin with, how would you ever know to try to find them? Did-You-See-That Facebook Practices Newspeak In Its Unfair Closure Of Thousands Of Fan Pages



This, all thrown together in the huge melting pot that Facebook is, should show you a thing or two about your favorite place to be.  They care about nothing more than making a buck and their principles are worthless. If this wasn’t the case things that have been happening the past month or two wouldn’t have happened.

Go check out the petition asking that page owners have some sort of liaison between themselves and the company so that the people who have, in most cases, spent years of their lives building something, that in turn helped to create this monster Facebook has become, may perhaps have the opportunity to salvage the wreckage of what they built, and as a stopgap  for others who intend to build in the future.

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Fundamental Equality.  #powertothepages

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6 thoughts on “Facebook Practices Newspeak In Its Unfair Closure Of Thousands Of Fan Pages

  1. Very well written, and completely justified. As a data analyst, I see what they are doing too. Also of a concern is the ability of a fb moderator to determine what hate speech is, or what is particularly offensive to a group or person.
    This, is when Skynet comes to power. Because human interaction is jaded, and double edged. Always.

  2. Thank you for that. I’ve been preaching it to anyone who would listen, but unfortunately that wasn’t many until now. Most seem to think that this too will blow over. They must not be paying close attention to Zuckerberg’s speeches.

  3. For every page unpublished, there are more blue verified pages who do nothing but run paid links to outside advertisers. Many of those paid links are the same ones that were being published by non-verified fan pages that were unpublished by Facebook for vague and undefined reasons. Facebook refuses to define what infractions they claim page owners violated, and often just give an ambiguous overview of an alleged violation without further information and definitely without any solid examples to quantify their allegations that page owners have violated Facebook’s ToS.
    I have also been brought to malicious, virus-laden websites from clicking on blue verified page links, and Facebook turns a blind eye to this, yet will tell fan page owners that sending users to malicious websites (and no responsible fanpage owner would send their fans to such places) is against ToS.
    It’s difficult to extrapolate any other conclusion than Facebook allows blue verified pages to routinely break ToS without consequences.
    Facebook is not consistent within their own ToS- they show blatant favoritism to blue-verified pages. Facebook also makes the process of blue verification next to impossible for fan page owners. I have submitted the required legal paperwork for a page that I own that was unpublished, including owning the trademark for that page, and with a lawyer submitting exactly what Facebook requires for verification, Facebook has consistently denied verification. We can only submit what Facebook tells us is required to submit, yet after they deny the process, they also refuse to clarify with you why they denied verification.
    Facebook appears to only act upon any issues that are brought to their attention by high profile people or groups who have the power to bring negative press to Facebook’s often elitist and inconsistent practices.
    The very users that they claim have equal rights, do not, as evidenced by they way they unpublish unverified fan pages and then refuse to even respond to their requests for clarification as to what ToS they have violated.

  4. HA! I was looking through the careers they have posted just for grins and SKYNET looks exactly like what they’re up to.

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