[Image Source: Interesting Engineering]
If you follow Interesting Engineering closely on Facebook, or maybe this is the only way you are connected with this website, you may have noticed that we haven't really been posting our usual articles lately. This is due to a faulty report made to Facebook, which has resulted in the limiting of our ability to post. Two reports were made over a video that we posted on our Facebook page recently, and with little investigation, Facebook has restricted our ability to post for one month. These reports were made by someone who used faulty email addresses posing as a copyright holder, and Facebook claims that they have to comply, even though these reports are obviously fake.
Our page has been in contact with both apparent reporters, who claim that they have never reported our page. This then points to faulty reporting made by a fraudulent third party. Interesting Engineering is a verified community of over 6.5 million Facebook followers, so you can see why we would want our page back up and running, and avoid one month of restricted posting capabilities. After discovering that these reports were fake, we contacted facebook to try and get this resolved. This was the response:
Please note that we are obligated to act on intellectual property reports, and we are not in a position to adjudicate disputes between third parties.If you believe content on your Page was reported in error, you may contact the reporting party directly to resolve the matter.For each report that resulted in the removal of content from your Page, you would have received the name and contact information for the reporting party. If you are able to resolve the matter, the reporting party may contact us to withdraw the report. In those cases, the content would be restored and the removal will not count against your Page.Please also note that in certain cases, the removal of content may be eligible for a counter-notification under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In these cases, the person responsible for posting the content would receive a link to a contact form to submit a counter-notification. Under the DMCA, if a counter-notification is submitted, the content would be restored within 14 business days unless the reporting party informs us that it has filed an action seeking a court order to restrain the infringing activity in question.Unless a report is withdrawn or a DMCA counter-notification is submitted (where eligible), we are not in a position to remove the feature-limits placed on the Page.
To sum it up, Facebook essentially is saying that we must resolve the issue with the fake reporters (which makes a lot of sense); and this isn't an uncommon issue. Many Facebook pages are falsely taken down due to reports that are obviously fake, but Facebook claims they must respect the reports. You can take a look at one incident here from Redmond Pie.
In summary, anyone can take down a Facebook page with a faulty email, as Facebook doesn't investigate the claims, according to Readwrite. That leads to an even bigger issue for many pages, as Facebook is often a large driver for internet traffic, this can mean bad things for many media companies.
For now, Interesting Engineering is still trying to get the Facebook page resolved, but you can still stay updated on all of our content by visiting our website.
[UPDATE] Facebook is handling it, maybe. [May 09]
We received the following statement today [May 09], and hopefully, it will be resolved soon.
We are still looking into this and escalating to the right team. Thank you for your patience, I'll be able to update you on this in the next few days.
We will keep you posted.
[UPDATE 2] Facebook is still working on it. [May 09]
We just received this statement [May 09].
We've received your request. I'm working to resolve this issue, but it may take a few more days for me to have an update. I'll let you know as soon as I have more information.Thanks for your patience,
We will hopefully be back up soon.
[UPDATE 3] Facebook is giving us the runaround. [May 10]
After seemingly making progress, we received this statement.
Your Page has been blocked from posting videos and photos because we received several reports that content on the Page infringed others’ intellectual property rights. We informed you each time content was removed from your Page. We also warned you that if you continued to infringe the rights of third parties, we would take additional action on your Page.For these reasons, we are not in a position to lift the feature block on your Page, and you will need to wait until it expires to post videos and photos again.
Despite explaining to them that these reports are fake and that the copyright owners have actually submitted forms retracting their report, still no progress. And the journey continues.
[UPDATE 4] Facebook doesn't want to help. [May 10]
We emailed them several questions in regards to already having taken care of the issue, and they have kept the ban and closed the case. Despite having taken care of the issue with the individual reporters, Facebook still doesn't want to remove ban. We have forwarded our issue to several other departments in Facebook and are still trying to work everything out.
[UPDATE 5] IE is being attacked. [May 11]
We have been reported again over a fake copyright claim. In this case, we know the actual owners of the video, and it is cited to the reputable sources. Someone is trying to take down the page by making fake reports. We are working with Facebook to get this solved and take the correct legal action.
[UPDATE 6] We are working to stop the reports [May 12]
Three reports were made over two videos and photos that we posted on our Facebook page recently. We are speaking with the appropriate people inside Facebook to stop the attacks. We received this email [May 12].
I will definitely keep you updated as I get more information. Totally understandable that this is very frustrating for you and your team, I'm actively reaching out to the right teams and making sure I get the right answers to send over to you. Thank you for your continued patience!
[UPDATE 7] Facebook doesn't care as long as no one knows. [May 13]
We have been exhausting every channel we can, and no one at Facebook seems to be understanding or wanting to lift the ban, even though reports have been proven false. Whether it be to cover up their mistake, or that this isn't a public problem so they don't want to invest the resources, we are getting the silent treatment. We received this email, after pushing from many different channels.
We are unable to process your request at this channel. Please visit the Help Center to find answers to many frequently asked questions and up-to-date forms you can use to get in touch with us:
We will keep on trying. This is exactly what happened to many tech blogs back in 2011, and we are doing our best to make it known.
[UPDATE 8] WE'RE BACK!! [May 17]
After 2 weeks of work, we were finally able to solve the issue and remove the ban. It looks like it was solved through a back channel connection through Facebook leadership, rather than the traditional help line. You can follow us on Facebook here for all our interesting content!
Written by Trevor English