I am aware that just writing this puts me in the position of jeopardizing my place as a Facebook moderator, but it’s about time someone do this. Since I have never really used my real name on Facebook, I am hoping that those who know me will keep quiet and those who don’t won’t concern themselves with the messenger as much as the message.
Facebook Does Not Care About Your Page
No one should really have to tell you this. If you run a secular or science related page you have probably already experienced reports, bans, hacks and more. Just keeping your account and page going seem to be a full-time job. But while it may be a full-time job for you, there are actually people working behind the scenes that do care about your freedom of speech, your right to enjoy secularism and science, and your protection when it comes to how your city, state or country may treat you for sharing your opinions. However, it is vital to note that the actions of these rogue mods is not supported by Facebook development, managers or its famous co-founder, Zuckerberg. I constantly see atheists yelling about how they can’t believe Zuckerberg doesn’t support them considering he is an atheist. Let me reassure you of one thing right now. He DOES NOT give a shit about your page. He cares about advertising. That is why when large countries like India and China threaten to pull out, Facebook devs go into a flurry of reporting, banning and deleting activities on pages that seem to generate the most controversy. For the record, several countries have threatened to pull out of Facebook citing that secular pages have caused civil unrest in their regions.
Science Flies in the Face of Faith
While I actively spend hours per day trying to unban admins from secular pages, nothing frustrates me more than trying to cope with the irrational human beings’ reaction to science. I have spent many hours combating the trolls that visit a very popular science page known as I Fuckin’ Love Science. Some of the complaints I have read include:
“Please remove this picture, I do not believe in this coin and it goes against my beliefs.”
“Jesus teaches us that not all things we can see are worth believing in. I am reporting this because science has proven dinosaurs did not exist.”
“I don’t like Bob Barker, he is a pervert and should not be represented on this page.”
Secular Charities Enrage Stupid People
One of the most frustrating issues I have dealt with in recent months was the banning of the moderator and an incredibly charitable gentlemen who dedicates his time and his life, to improving the living conditions and the health and rights of the people of India. Responsible Charity is just that, responsible. They share where their donated funds go, they are genuine, real and admirable in a time where no one trusts charities anymore, the horror stories about misappropriated funding, deviant behavior and other fraudulent ‘charities’ still fresh in the minds of many. And here is one, doing the right thing, and their administrator is banned for posting pictures that do not make the religious feel warm and fluffy. You know who does get to feel warm and fluffy? Hopefully the people that charity takes care of, even if just for a minute. I’d throw Facebook in the trash forever if it would earn one dollar for this charity, but the moderation team has fought long and hard to repeal a month-ban on the admins account, only to be met with bugs, roll backs and general hamster on a wheel functioning that Facebook has become while they are trying to implement video advertising. Because like I’ve tried to tell you, that is literally all that matters here.
Facebook has it’s purposes in the big picture; most certainly we are all there for more than just the general sociable circle-jerk of digital high-fiving with a side of narcissism that we all enjoy when we participate there. However, I now want to share the other side of the coin with you. 99% of reports are sent to an automated system that uses an algorithm of a combinations of triggers and filters based on your account. What this means is that when you get banned for some batshit reason, don’t take it personally. No individual, sitting idly by, sipping latte.. has looked at your report and said, “He posted a picture of Mother Teresa riding a T-Rex holding a shot gun, he’s OUTTA HERE!” More than likely, your account just got banned on the popular internet premises, “Because, who cares?” along with an algorithm built to do exactly that. You ever noticed how Facebook doesn’t have a nice blog posting new updates we can expect? Did you notice that Facebook has no real reachable customer service numbers or emails? Did you pick up on how last week, when the Richard Dawkins Facebook page was hacked, it was returned to its admin within a couple of hours?
Several people who know me and what I do on Facebook’s back end asked me how the RD page got fixed so quickly when other sites like Sexy Atheists took a lot longer to return. There are two contributing factors to this.
Sexy Atheists is a great page, however, they aren’t, you aren’t, Richard Dawkins. Don’t get your tits in a rage, I don’t mean that, “Hahaha! You aren’t Richard Dawkins, you suck! Hahaha!” I mean, you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You don’t have millions of people willing to listen to you complain about Facebook’s policies, he does. Period. By the way, you yourself aren’t making that situation any better by only using Facebook to ‘share your message’, whatever it is. While it still has a few years left in it before some 12 year old creates a better network, you should realize right away that it isn’t going to be around forever.
The Sexy Atheists admin wasn’t a part of the admin group that helps secular and science page owners to deal with these banning frenzies when it first occured. FYI, the bans and reports are most often carried out by packs of religious trolls that know a little bit more about coding than the average bear, but fortunately, my early days on the Internets IRC’s taught me more. The SA page was returned to its owner within two hours of our getting in contact.
I am not a braggart, I never work alone. There are other individuals on the back end that support me, I support them. We take shifts so that I can guard their pages when I am awake, they are sleeping – and vice versa when it’s my turn for a nap. And in some cases, like with the RD Foundation page, the posts I make asking people – YOU PEOPLE – to email Facebook about, get righted in that way, too. Don’t stop doing that whatever you do. I wish I had a solution for you, but as I warned my group at the beginning of this year, things are getting worse for the secular pages, not better. The chances are that they won’t. I do love reading your messages about how Facebook and Zuckerberg should take these matters seriously, but I can’t help but think your time would be better spent doing something more productive for yourselves or your pages or your fans.
If you have questions about anything I will try to answer them here. However, trolling in any form has no place here. I am taking a big enough risk just sharing this, I am making preparations with my admin group about a probable deletion, and I don’t expect this blog to stay up indefinitely, though I do believe it has a better chance being on a public forum and search engine crawl-able. We shall see.
If you want to read a real story behind how the underpaid, overworked Facebook moderators feel about your reporting issues, read more here.