I have to report that the coronavirus information and news posts that I’ve been sharing on Facebook have been getting removed by Facebook today. This includes several posts I’ve shared there from my blog, news items from other sources, and even reshares of other people’s posts.
Other people have also been telling me that when they try to post links to my website articles, Facebook is now blocking them from doing so.
I’ve been getting notifications like this one throughout the day there, informing me of the removals.
When I click through, I see a notice claiming that a post was removed as spam. None of these are spam though. In fact, people have been expressing much appreciation that I’ve been sharing this kind of info to keep them informed.
Here’s an example (see the pic below) showing that my Facebook post that linked to my March 12th blog post (The Opposite of Fear) was removed. I shared this post on my personal account there, as I normally do with many of my blog posts to make it more convenient for people on Facebook to access them.
Along with several other posts and comments of mine from the past week, Facebook even removed my reshare of Jason Warner’s excellent post on coronavirus, which was already reshared 119K times when I reshared it yesterday. Jason’s post is still online and now has 167K reshares and 500+ comments. How could my reshare of a popular and super informative post that could save lives be considered spam while the original post isn’t? I didn’t even add a comment when resharing it. See for yourself below.
Facebook provides the option to dispute these removals. If I dispute a removal, and I’ve disputed all of them, they just switch from “In Review” to “Closed” a bit later with the same outcome. I don’t know if these decisions are actually being reviewed by anyone.
Even a post that linked straight to a news story from Axios was removed. See below.
Some of my comments on other people’s posts have been removed in the same manner.
I have no idea why Facebook is doing this.
My motivation for blogging and sharing about coronavirus has been to help people stay informed, to prepare themselves, and to adjust to the massive disruptions that have been unfolding… and especially to inform people of the criticality of staying home in order to save lives and reduce suffering from hospital overwhelm.
Since Facebook is blocking these efforts for whatever reason, I’m going to shift over to sharing more frequent news and updates via the News section of my website, and I’ll also continue my daily blog posts as usual.
Update: Apparently this has been happening to other people as well, and Facebook claims it’s a bug and that they’ll restore the removed content. So that’s good. However, this incident got me considering that I should still do things a bit differently going forward. So I’m going to take this as an invitation to share more on my own website instead of leaning on Facebook for quickly resharing other people’s posts or news pieces during this time. This will make it easier for people to find all of the updates I’ve been sharing in one place and without it getting buried under a storm of other content. If other people want to reshare these news updates on Facebook or other social media services, they’re welcome to.