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Facebook has 1 billion monthly active users and is still growing. Just like any other large group of people, Facebook is governed by rules that work most of the time. Accounts are flagged by Facebook’s algorithms for violation of the rules, but in a few, rare cases some accounts can be incorrectly targeted. Most likely, if your account was suspended, it’s the robots to blame. If John Connor isn’t available to fight the machines, you can always contact Facebook customer service.
Every user on Facebook has the ability to report content that may be in violation of the Community Standards. If enough reports are submitted, an account might be suspended. The reporting tool exists to bring instances to Facebook’s attention that may not trigger the automatic algorithms. It does not exist for you to flag someone who annoys you, posts too many pictures of of words telling you to re-post them or likes to play some Ville-type game.
Overwhelming other Facebook users with commercial content without their permission is spamming. And it’s not just unwanted advertisements for canned meat products. This is another instance where interpretation is determined on a case-by-case basis. One friend posting links to her home business may, technically, qualify as spam, but probably won’t result in a suspended account. It’ll just make everyone want to avoid her online. Facebook is primarily looking for the large-scale violators that ruin the experience of social media.
Facebook requires that users interact under their real names. It’s against the terms of service to pretend to be someone else, to disclose private information about someone or to impersonate a company or organization. So you should probably quietly delete that account where you pretend to be your dog. Pseudonym accounts, though common, violate Facebook’s rules. It’s also, technically, not allowed to post someone else’s copyrighted work, like videos and photos, according to Facebook’s terms. But, the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law allows for limited, non-commercial sharing of copyrighted material. In general, if no money is made from it, sharing is OK. So as long as you aren’t turning a profit off of your “Thriller” video re-enactment with action figures, you’re probably OK.
Violence against others, hate speech and self-harm are not allowed on Facebook. There’s a lobby to include “Downton Abbey” spoilers in the definition of “hate speech” but they don’t have much traction so far. The Community Standards prohibit describing or showing acts of violence or threats of violence against others. They also rule out any promoting of activities that are self-harm, which would include self-mutilation, drug abuse, eating disorders and suicide. Hateful speech is any attack on a group due “to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.” Simply disagreeing with someone doesn’t constitute hate speech; it must be construed as an attack. So you can’t report your mom for hate speech because she doesn’t like your choice of hair color. Sorry.
1 Inappropriate Content
Facebook allows 13-year-olds to join, so content on the site should, in general, be suitable for them. If it wouldn’t fly in a PG-13 movie, it shouldn’t go onto Facebook. Sexual, pornographic, nude or sadistic material is not allowed on the site. Posing cats in degrading costumes doesn’t constitute “sadistic material” for some reason. Facebook’s Community Standards allow for normal use and respect of people’s desires, so not all nudity is grounds for suspension—for example breast feeding pictures. However, any pictures or videos that involve a minor in “any explicitly sexual content” will is grounds for immediate suspension.