Facebook Temporarily Blocks White House Official For Behaving Like A Robot
By Mikelle Leow, 21 Mar 2019
Image via AlexandraPopova / Shutterstock.com
An official of the White House found himself being “temporarily blocked” from posting Facebook comments on Tuesday, as the social network had detected suspicious activity, typically performed by bots, in the account.
Upon discovering the ban, Dan Scavino, director of social media at the White House, published a new post chastising the platform for “silencing” him.
“Dear Facebook, AMAZING,” he responded on Tuesday. “Why are you stopping me from replying to comments [that] followers that left me—on my own Facebook page?”
“People have the right to know. Why are you silencing me? Please [let me know]! Thanks.”
Scavino also attached a screenshot of a popup message Facebook sent him when he attempted to reply users. It read, “You’re temporarily blocked from making public comments on Facebook. Some of your comments have been reported as spam. To avoid getting blocked again, make sure your posts are in line with the Facebook Community Standards.”
US president Donald Trump later criticized the partial ban. Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, he wrote, “Facebook, Google and Twitter, not to mention the Corrupt Media, are sooo [sic] on the side of the Radical Left Democrats,” suggesting that the block was due to political bias.
He also made his annoyance known via the offending platform. “Facebook abruptly censored the account of President Trump’s chief social media guru, blocking him for simply responding to a question from a reader. #StopTheBias,” Trump detailed.
Facebook has since defended that the action was not a political protest. Rather, Scavino’s replies were repetitive, alerting its artificial intelligence moderators to identify them as “spam.”
The social network told USA TODAY, “In order to stop automated bots, we cap the amount of identical, repetitive activity coming from one account in a short period of time… These limits can have the unintended consequence of temporarily preventing real people like Dan Scavino from engaging in such activity.”
Facebook concluded by saying that such bans usually last an hour or two, and that it has reached out to Scavino to apologize for the error.
A Facebook follower of Scavino suggested that the official might have peppered “Thank you” too frequently in his comments.
Dear Facebook—Posted by Daniel Scavino Jr. on Monday, March 18, 2019
AMAZING. WHY ARE YOU STOPPING ME from replying to comments followers have left me - on my own Facebook Page!!?? People have the right to know. Why are you silencing me??? Please LMK! Thanks.
Facebook, Google and Twitter, not to mention the Corrupt Media, are sooo on the side of the Radical Left Democrats. But fear not, we will win anyway, just like we did before! #MAGA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 19, 2019
[via USA TODAY, images via AlexandraPopova / Shutterstock.com]
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