Requesting manual review of blocks on social media can work

So many posts giving news about jihad activity have been flagged by Facebook as “hate speech” because there are private Facebook groups composed of orthodox Muslims and Antifa that infiltrate other Facebook groups, pages such as ours, and personal profiles. They pick on a specific post and mass report it as “hate speech,” an option that can be easily found on the top right of any post. Their punishments, last time I checked, were 48 hours’ suspension for the first offence, 7 days for the second, a month for the third, and then you’re off Facebook for good.

There is an automated system at Facebook that takes a number of characteristics into account in evaluating these mass reports. There are trigger words they look for; “rape” is high on the list, as is  “jihad,” as well as “Islam” and any other word they deem sensitive. These words are included in the algorithm, along with the identity of the poster who is being reported, how many followers this poster has, and the quantity of reports they get compared to the number of viewers who did not report it.

Other easy targets, apart from the trigger words they mention, that are easily mass reported are images of ISIS flags and swastikas. If the intention of your post is to report on the hate these symbols represent, a manual review by Facebook will work. Your intention does need to be obvious; just posting a picture of Hizballah doing their Roman salutes without context will get you a ban. I might know why you posted it, but the reviewer might not.

If I had posted the article that got flagged as “hate speech” on my boring personal profile, with my half a dozen followers (I avoid Facebook), it’s likely only one or 2 reports would have triggered a community strike such as this. This was actually Robert Spencer’s personal page that was reported. On the Jihad Watch page, we haven’t seen any reports that needed review for the last few years, although I know it’s continually mass reported (I have infiltrated their groups). They don’t need to make me go through this review process; Jihad Watch has been “shadow banned” since February 2016, that’s a totally different level of censorship.

Marc Louis’s post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech

Only people who manage Robert Spencer can see this post.

We have these standards because we want discussions on Facebook to be respectful.

Of course this post is not even close to hate speech. It’s an uncomfortable truth, as well as a warning of what can happen if violent criminals following a doctrine that advocates the rape of unbelievers goes unchecked. The bulk of the article is from a news source. There is no suggestion that it is untrue or and it doesn’t call for hatred of anyone. It was flagged as “hate speech” purely because of the inclusion of the word “rape,” which is one of Facebook’s higher-rated trigger words.

The reason these organised mass reporting groups do this is to cause me to lose my account at Facebook; they have tried this dozens of times, unsuccessfully.

So I click through to continue, to read the details of my alleged crime:

We define hate speech as language that attacks people based on their:

  • • Race, ethnicity, national origin or caste
  • • Religious affiliation
  • • Sexual orientation
  • • Sex, gender or gender identity
  • • Serious disabilities or diseases

We sometimes allow things we’d otherwise consider hate speech: for example when someone shares someone else’s hate speech to raise awareness about it, or uses a word in reference to themselves.

But this post is not attacking anyone for any of these reasons, only for their criminal behaviour, and the insane behaviour of the authorities who are in effect blaming the victim.

So I continue (they really should have a skip button, I’ve read this so many times):

What you can do

Because Marc Louis’s post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech, only people who manage Robert Spencer can see it. Let us know what you’d like to do.

Let Others Decide

Other people who manage the Page will be able to request review.

Request Review

We’ll take another look at the post and update other people who manage the Page.

I’ll be requesting a review today, double-checking to make sure that there really was nothing that could be argued went against their community standards. I get this confirmation:

Only people who manage Robert Spencer can see this post while it’s in review.

The thing is, a human at FaceBook has to look at this and make a judgment, he knows this is a tough one, he can also see I have had dozens of these mass reports in the past, all proven to be unfounded, with many of the reporters having their own credibility downgraded due to making false reports. So a few hours later, it is no surprise that we have the post re-instated along with an apology.

If you are sure you have not posted something that could really be seen as hateful by any reasonable person, it’s always worth asking for review. It can be a fine line, things can be misinterpreted and sarcasm should always be used carefully, but if you just don’t have that hate in your heart, as I know Robert does not, you should be good.

I get a lot of emails from people who say they were banned for posting something. I hope this explains better how the reporting machine works from our point of view, and what you can do to defend yourself.

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