I am an ex-convict.
Let me rephrase: I am a Facebook ex-convict!
I don’t know if that is something to be proud or ashamed of. Fuck it. I’m proud of it because it shows that I don’t give a fuck about censorship, political correctness or care about hurting someone’s feelings by the content I post on Facebook.
I was once sent to Facebook Jail for something I posted either on my page or in the public forum of Facebook which some asshole saw and didn’t like. When Facebook administrators sent me to their “jail”, I was never tried for my “crime” or infraction nor did I ever face my accuser. Fortunately for me, my sentence was short. And although the infraction on Facebook was later found to be “due to some misunderstanding”, I was still wrongfully judged, convicted, sentenced to Facebook Jail and punished by Facebook administrators – in effect making me a Facebook convict.
This article explains what Facebook Jail is, what to be aware as a Facebook user so that you, dear reader – who are most likely a Facebook user, do not get sent to Facebook jail and become a Facebook convict yourself…like me and so many other Facebook ex-cons.
Read and heed my words carefully or you too might find yourself in Facebook jail and become a Facebook convict!
Before I begin, first this:
Terms Used in this Article DISCLAIMER:
- Terms used in this article and any articles in this blog series or on this blog such as: Facebook jail and Facebook police or Facebook cop, are terms generally used by Facebook USERS and are not – to my knowledge, officially used by the Facebook organization or Facebook administrators.
- Terms used in this article and any articles in this blog series or on this blog such as Facebook convict, Facebook ex-convict, Facebook ex-con, Facebook offender, Facebook police spies, Facebook spies, Facebook Witness Protection or FWP, and Facebook mutes, are terms I created, and to my knowledge, are not used by other Facebook users (although it’s possible) and are NOT – to my knowledge, officially used by the Facebook organization or Facebook administrators.
A Brief Look into Facebook Operation –
In the nearly six years I’ve been using Facebook, I’ve been seeing or hearing of people being sent to what is commonly referred to by Facebook users as “Facebook Jail.” Simply put, Facebook jail (as I understand it) is the unofficial term Facebook users call any temporary suspension or permanent ban given by Facebook administrators of a user’s Facebook account. Depending on the offense, the user is prohibited from full to limited access to his/her Facebook page for a period ranging anywhere from twenty-four to forty-eight hours to as long as several days – if not permanently. The suspension, denied or limited access usually only occurs when Facebook administrators determine that a user has violated one or more of its Community Standards – the guidelines that outline Facebook expectations regarding the content users post to Facebook and their activity on Facebook.
While it is sometimes good to have social media administrators watching for certain content such as hate speech, threats to another user’s safety and well-being or pornography for example, there is also other non-offensive content which some Facebook users simply take upon themselves to report as being offensive or objectionable. Usually that particular content is based solely on some personal – but not generally accepted or proven, perception. Often one’s attitude towards the person who posted the content plays a role in the offended user intentionally choosing to take offense against the person who posted the content simply because of some nasty disagreement between the two.
Now, from what I have seen and understand, Facebook administrators do not randomly go searching for violators of its policies. Facebook doesn’t seem to have that witch hunt modus operandi (method of operation) or m.o. that many users think. If they did, half of its users would always be in or going to Facebook Jail – considering some of the content I’ve seen posted over the last six years I’ve been using Facebook. I’m therefore inclined to think that Facebook often waits for its users to report certain things to them. Many of those people simply report falsely or tattle as I implied earlier. These false reporters or tattlers who would rather run to Facebook administrators than simply skimming past or ignoring a post are unofficially and referred to by Facebook users as Facebook spies or Facebook police. Regardless in whether the people who report questionable or alleged violations are being truthful or are just spiteful liars, Facebook’s job of weeding out violators of its Community Standards policy is made much easier via the efforts of such users who like to assume the role of a Facebook cop. Both the reporting user’s name and the report he/she submits are anonymous to other users. Once Facebook gets that user’s name they are supposed to review the report and the content in question of being offensive or objectionable and determine if it violates Facebook’s Community Standards. Facebook has the option of either removing the content and/or issuing a warning to the user who posted it. They also determine if the offender’s account is to be suspended or permanently banned. As noted earlier, if a user’s account is suspended, users refer to this as being sent to Facebook Jail.
Facebook knows and has clearly acknowledged the fact that its community is diverse. They inform its users that sometimes there will be content posted on Facebook which one might find disagreeable, disturbing or objectionable. Users are informed that not everything they see will constitute or guarantee that some action must be or will be taken by Facebook towards the person who posted content which another user reported as being objectionable or offensive. Facebook informs users of options available on the website to control or determine what they see. This information is clearly laid out in the Help section of Facebook and is accessible to every account holder; all a user has to do is READ the damn thing! In other words, what Facebook is saying, is if a user sees something he/she doesn’t like, they [the user] have the means to hide that content or simply quietly cut ties with the person (aka unfriend or defriend) who posted the content. Users can also reject or hide the page or application which they find offensive or undesirable.
Avoid Becoming a Facebook Convict (Part 1)!
The ranks of the Facebook police are legion and often covert! By covert I’m saying that Facebook police can be anyone and can be anywhere on the Facebook page you’re reading so beware! Facebook police will infiltrate your friends list, your followers list or even groups to which you belong – even if that group is leveled as being “closed” or “secret” to outside users. Again, BEWARE… for Facebook police are a sensitive yet, judgmental and cunning lot!
One of the best ways to protect yourself and other members on your friends list or in your group is to review both your friends list and group membership queue on a regular basis.Here’s what you do:
- In your friends list, determine the people with whom you normally have mutual and consistent contact and simply dump or defriend those you don’t. You don’t need tell the people whom you’re dumping that you decided to defriend them. In fact, there’s no need to tell anyone a damn thing. Just do it! Now.
- In the Facebook group(s) to which you belong, determine the regularly ACTIVE participants against those who are NOT ACTIVE and, if you are the group founder and/or admin or moderator, dump those INACTIVE members. No need to tell those slacker that you are kicking them out of the group. Just do it! Now. Those inactive members don’t deserve the respect of being told that they are being kicked out of the group because if they did they would already be active participants in the group and thus be no need to kick them out!
- If you are NOT the group admin or moderator then send a private chat or Inbox message to the person(s) who holds that position and request that he/she/they review the membership roster for membership inactivity. Explain to the group admin your concerns about personal privacy for yourself, other active members and the content you all post in the group. If he or she is a good group admin, action will be taken on their part to alert all members of the need or the REQUIREMENT to be active in the group or they will be kicked out. Like a party, nobody likes people who stand around and say or do nothing to interact with the other guests. Nobody trusts, respects or appreciates a fuckin’ Facebook mute either! Click Facebook Mutes to read what I’ve said about those particular people!
Give the group admin’s action of ejecting inactive members from the group about a week or so to see what happens. If the same inactive muthafuckas are still in the group then I suggest YOU consider leaving the group – that is if you have serious concerns over someone possibly taking whatever you post there and doing a “run-tel-dat” thing to someone else outside of the group or to Facebook administrators.
I realize that this all sounds a bit extreme or harsh because, as so many naïve people on Facebook are fond of saying, “It’s just Facebook”. However, the reality is that since its beginning ten years ago (Facebook is ten (10) years old on February 4, 2014) the social media giant has grown into an entity that is much too big for any one person to simply ignore and brush off certain things when it comes to personal privacy and enjoying the experience that is Facebook. Too many people on Facebook tend to take certain things they read or see much too far to the right or much too far to the left in varying extremes. Meanwhile, other users simply want to find some middle-ground between the two extremes in that particular non-verbal environment so that they don’t post certain things which might get them reported and give Facebook cause to suspend or shut down their account. Of course, there’s always that small percentage of excepted users who simply don’t give a fuck about anything, one way or the other.
On Facebook, when it comes to personal privacy, maintaining a certain level of confidence and trust with people on your friends list or in your group is something you cannot afford to pussyfoot around with. You have to make sure your Facebook privacy setting is set at levels where you feel is comfortable and logically acceptable otherwise you will risk getting reported by Facebook police spies who may have already infiltrated your friends list or group. It’s pointless to risk getting your Facebook account access suspended or permanently shut down for some undetermined period because of some content you believed was safe to post among your friends and/or fellow group members but yet was reported as being disturbing or offensive by someone else.
Remember: if you are reported and Facebook determines that you violated their Community Standards – and yes, such standards apply to Facebook groups – you risk doing time as a Facebook convict in Facebook Jail. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Facebook Witness Protection (FWP) –
One simply never knows who snitches to Facebook administrators and Facebook won’t reveal to you the name(s) of the snitch/reporting user. I think we all can understand the necessity and reasoning for that secrecy is to protect the welfare of the reporting person. Consider that if you ever reported someone to Facebook and that person knew it was you who did it, your life on the internet on Facebook – and perhaps in some other social media outlet, like Twitter for example, could become more stressful to you by attacks of internet bullying and/or harassment. That Facebook ex-con might come also try to come after you in other ways outside of the internet/social media in ways too numerous and ugly to list here! Therefore, protecting the name of the reporting person is a necessary thing. I like to call it Facebook Witness Protection or FWP.
Loyal Facebook Friends Won’t Snitch!
I said earlier that people who know you, your style of writing and the type of content you generally post on Facebook usually won’t find your content objectionable or offensive. If they do object (which can happen because all things do not appeal to everyone), those particular people – your loyal Facebook friends and followers who have come to know and respect you over time, will recognize your right to express certain views or content which may be opposite to their beliefs or feelings. Those particular loyal friends will often support your right to express yourself, no matter how personally offensive they might find your comments or post to be. Loyal Facebook friends know enough to ignore certain content they might find offensive until such time you post something they like and can share with you in agreement. Loyal Facebook friends do not report your name to Facebook administrators and they do not try to get you suspended or banned from Facebook. Some of them might even respect you to a degree of sending a private message asking you to explain your reasoning for posting certain objectionable content and/or may respectfully ask you to remove it after they have given their reasons for why they found the content offensive to begin with. Unfortunately, those damn Facebook police – again, the assholes who could very well be on your friends list or in your group – won’t give you the same respect and consideration as your loyal Facebook friends have done; they won’t offer you a chance to explain your reasoning and they won’t give you time to perhaps reconsider keeping or removing the objectionable content from your page. No, those fuckers would rather report you and the content they found offensive to Facebook administration and get your account suspended thus sending your ass to Facebook jail. Once in Facebook Jail, you become a Facebook convict. As you do your time in Facebook jail, you are left wondering who the hell snitched and what did they snitch about. You might even create a little stress for yourself as you try to determine if the snitch is someone with whom you’ve had little to no contact or dialogue; perhaps someone who was not familiar with the kind of content you normally post on your Facebook page or Facebook group or it could be someone you pissed off. You often can’t narrow it down, let alone prove it due to the reporting person(s) being under Facebook Witness Protection!
Avoid Becoming a Facebook Convict (Part 2): Check Your Privacy Settings!
If you find your account suspended, have limited access or perhaps find that you have been banned from using Facebook, chances are someone either on your friends list or some follower are the likely suspects to have reported you and/or content you posted which they found offensive. Granted, there is always the possibility that none of your Facebook friends and none of your Facebook followers reported you.
If your profile or privacy setting is for PUBLIC viewing, it means that whatever you post or say on your page or timeline of Facebook will be seen by EVERYONE who logs in and uses Facebook – thus increasing the likelihood of you possibly offending SOMEONE in the PUBLIC forum with content which most people on your friends list would not find objectionable or offensive. Unfortunately, many Facebook users either don’t know or don’t understand this! Therefore, the safest option is to change the privacy setting in your account from that of PUBLIC to that of FRIENDS. (See photo insert) At least that way you alleviate possibly posting something that could “offend” people you don’t know (and those who don’t know you). The FRIENDS or FRIENDS EXCEPT ACQUAINTANCES setting can narrow down the Facebook police suspects who may snitch on you. Check the privacy setting on your Facebook account NOW… for once you’ve been reported it’s too late to change the settings to try narrowing down the suspects who already reported you to Facebook. Determining suspects of who may report you to Facebook should be easier from that point going forward. You can separate the people on your friends list who have come to know and respect you over time from those whom you rarely – if ever, hear from. Remember what I said about Facebook Mutes!
I often review my Facebook friends list once a month or so and do not hesitate to dump, defriend or, as I like to say, friendectomize people with whom I never communicate or never hear from. My philosophy in doing this is quite simple: If I look at someone’s profile picture and name and have to ask myself, “Who is THIS?”, that means that person and I are STRANGERS on Facebook; we are NOT friends and therefore that person should not be on my friends list! I suggest you get in the habit of checking your friends list often, too!
There’s no shame to being a Facebook ex-con but being in Facebook jail is no place for a free spirit or a free-thinking mind either!