Banned from Facebook?

Last night, Facebook unpublished my author page, claiming that it went “against our community standards.” Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. What did me in? Was it my weekly Work-in-Progress excerpt? Or perhaps it was my occasional thoughts on the writing process? I didn’t know and they wouldn’t tell me.

I understand that Facebook has been under a lot of pressure to police content. Even so, I was caught by surprise. After all, I don’t talk about politics or sex and I don’t use profanity. My page is about my writing and my life, period. I can only assume that a bot mistagged my content. Regardless, I was unable to request a formal review of the decision, with Facebook explaining that it has “fewer reviewers right now because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.” All I could do was register my “disagreement” with the decision.

This story has a happy-ish ending. In the dead of night, Facebook reinstated my author page. No explanation, though. Just a note telling me it had been published again after a review of my “appeal.” I suppose I feel fortunate. In researching this issue, I came across lots of stories from people who’d lost their Facebook page and never gotten it back.

Truthfully, I don’t have a big Facebook audience. Plus, Facebook deliberately limits my reach, requiring one to pay up in order to reach a larger percentage of one’s own fans. So, my engagement tends to be rather limited. If I had lost the page, I doubt it would’ve hurt me much.

As of late, some of my author friends and I have been discussing the peril of building our platforms on third-party sites. Frequent rule changes and rising ad costs are often cited as key problems. I guess I can now add the risk of accidental deplatforming to the list. All in all, I don’t see much point in building something that could be taken from me at any time. I’ll continue to cross-post on Facebook for the time being. But going forward, I’ll be putting more of my effort into this website as well as into my newsletter.

Posted in David Meyer, General and tagged , .