Update: See the bottom for something else FB disapproves of that needs to be watched (and which – second update – they have “graciously’ decided to allow.)

I’m sure many of my readers are already aware of this but on the book of Feces, the url https://codeisfreespeech.com/ is considered to be spam. So far, at least, the spam detection algorithm extends solely to the URL itself and the use of various URL shorteners but not pictures.

Just for fun I tested this further – see screenshot. The image alone was fine – and in fact remains fine so far.

Adding the raw URL to the image immediately resulted in it being blocked as “spam”

Posting a URL shortener it didn’t know about – http://di2.nu/_ZK9m – was initially successful but then a few minutes later it was also blocked.

This isn’t going to work long term – indeed it already isn’t – because it is going to be very easy to tweak the algorithm on a URL shortener so that for FB’s bot it produces one link but for a genuine human it produces something else. In fact, amusingly and ironically, the reason I know how to get around this issue is because I know what actual spammers and malvertisers do when they want to have something pass automated validation but infect a target user. Of course eventually the FB bot will get smarter and work out how to get around that trick and then the criminals and the freedom fighters will come up with another trick in a continuing arms race.

Of course as students of the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes know, there is no real way to stop the signal if a significant number of people care strongly about it. Even China with its Great Firewall is struggling to keep people on the approved path. For something like this, a publicly traded US corporation simply cannot win unless it really wants to cause a large number of users to leave. Or at least it can’t if it wants its revenues (and share price) to remain buoyant.


Turns out that FB also thinks the Cambodian Genocide is icky.

At least I hope it is the brief mention of the killing fields that is the problem, because if it’s anything else then what Fecesbook is saying is that Asians need to stay down on the rice paddy and not be uppity conservatives. Ms Heng’s campaign made this statement:

This Friday, Facebook revoked approval to advertise Elizabeth Heng’s campaign video detailing why she is running for office in the 16th Congressional District of California. Her video, which includes the story of her American immigrant parents who lived through the atrocity of communism and genocide that ravaged Cambodia in the early 1980s, evidently contained content too “shocking, disrespectful or sensational” for the platform, to quote Facebook directly.

“It is unbelievable that Facebook could have such blatant disregard for the history that so many people, including my own parents, have lived through,” said Elizabeth. “I’m sure it is shocking for some people to hear about this kind of injustice, but this is reality. This is why I wake up every single day with the fight and determination to have a voice and make a difference in my community. Neither Facebook nor any other company in the tech industry get to silence our stories. We’ve seen it over and over again with Republican candidates and organizations. This kind of censorship is an attack on the freedoms that we have as Americans to express what we believe in, and we must hold Facebook accountable.”

You should watch the video though and support Ms Heng’s campaign.

Update2:The good news is that this ad has now been allowed:

Facebook lifted Tuesday its block on Republican Elizabeth Heng’s campaign ad, but the California congressional candidate said the company still owes her a public apology.

“I’m deeply disappointed that Facebook would not give me a public apology for targeting a conservative candidate for Congress,” she said in a statement. “It took them 5 days and an immense amount of pressure before they ‘realized’ that they deliberately blocked my history and my story.”

She received a message on Facebook last week saying that her ad, which contains scenes of the Cambodian genocide, violated the company’s policy against “shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence.”

Facebook’s policy on paid advertising is stricter than its rules governing regular posts, but critics argued that the 40-year-old black-and-white images of skulls and corpses were essential to her story about how her parents escaped the communist Khmer Rouge.

After a deluge of criticism on the right, a Facebook spokesperson said Tuesday that the ad had been cleared for distribution.

“Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story,” said Facebook in an email to the Washington Times. “We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.”