When Facebook punishes those who fight fake news

It all starts on March 28 with the publication of an article on the arguments and strategies of the vaccine movement. Shortly after being shared on the Agency’s Facebook page, this content was “deleted for non-compliance [des] Community standards “.

After an unsuccessful exchange with the customer service and a republishing of the news, an automatic publication informs us that now the Agency’s page is restricted for at least 90 days because, writes Facebook, it would have shared “false information many times “. It says nowhere that this information is false. It could be content that was disliked by one or more users, or an algorithm that did a bad job of detecting a suspicious keyword sequence. But at the moment it is impossible to know what really happened.

Specifically, the consequence is that the Agency’s posts move to the bottom of the feed to reduce its visibility, causing a direct impact on site traffic. Also, it’s no longer possible to advertise, register as a news page, or invite friends to like my page.

Since then, the Agency team has tried to challenge this decision, but the task is not easy. For example, although Facebook offers to make a request for reconsideration, the availability of the button to submit this request seems random, and in any case does not generate any response from the company. In short, three weeks later, after contacting customer service four times and even writing to Kevin Chan, head of Facebook Canada, the Agency’s page is still restricted and the explanations are non-existent.

And one of the exchanges gave us an answer in at least a strange French language: “From here André has news of Meta’s concierge support, as a reminder, your file number is (…). I will make a request to our internal teams about your case and as soon as I have a response I will contact you again. Thank you for contacting Meta’s concierge service. »

For those who don’t know, remember that the Agence Science-Presse is a non-profit media that has been covering scientific news for 43 years, which The resources was born in 1982, which created in 2016 the section of the Rumor detectorthat he keeps track of fake or questionable news about science and health, and that his work on information literacy earned him a 2019 Canadian Journalism Foundation Award, category “Promoting Information Literacy,” an award funded by .. . Facebook!

This is not a unique case

It’s not in our habits to talk about ourselves in our articles, but if we do it here it’s because after some research, it turns out that we’re not the only ones who have experienced this kind of situation. For example, Dr. Alain Vadeboncoeur, who has long been a publicist on the media and on social media, and also very active in the search for false information, has been suspended three times so far. After reporting the situation through the usual channels and writing to an internal address that he had previously used in another context, the suspension was lifted overnight, as if nothing had happened, he said, for e-mail. He received no explanation.

Journalist Brigitte Noël of the program Research of Radio-Canada, was also temporarily blocked after the publication of articles dedicated to the QAnon movement, shared in his private account.

Mathieu Nadeau-Vallée, known for his videos on TikTok, a doctor of pharmacology from the University of Montreal and a resident doctor in anesthesia, was also entitled to Facebook notices after posting content on natural immunity. “Users who subscribed also received a warning that our page was not legitimate,” he added. Resolved the situation by opting for a payment account on TikTok. “We have many more services with the Facebook team, which allows us to explain ourselves. »

Dr. Vadeboncoeur’s hypothesis: Reports from Facebook users would be responsible for its suspension. A situation similar to that of Mathieu Nadeau-Vallée. “After my time in Everyone talks about it, there were groups of Facebook conspirators encouraging people to report my content. Reports came in the hundreds. It has calmed down a lot since then. »

According to the young doctor, the use of hyperlinks to external content also increases the risk of being reported, even if it is from an irreproachable source. “For example, we put a link to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and Facebook told us it was misinformation, “he said NEJM is one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. This is also what makes Mr. believe. Nadeau-Vallée that reports are processed through an automated process and not by real people.

Leave a Comment