Your algorithms zuck, Mark!

My personal Facebook page – and The Bug’s that scuttles beneath it – were both put in Facebook’s naughty corner for close to four days recently – for doing something Facebook said we didn’t do.

So are we a bit upset? You bet your sweet patootie.

I’d like to tell Mark Zuckerburg what I really think about Facebook’s lead censor Al Gorithm and how he polices the organisation’s decency rules but it is a bloody good platform to promote The Bug to its many reader. Could we afford to risk that?

Aw, fuck it. The Zuckster, you’re a dunce and so is Al.

Here’s what happened. In a pisstake about poor old Joe Biden catching COVID-19, The Bug last Friday morning ran an image we’ve used before; one of Joe sitting in his basement at the White House conducting business as usual.

We’re not going to risk Facebook jail again by showing the full image but you can catch a glimpse at top.

We are not at all ashamed to admit we’ve depicted silly, sleepy, old befuddled Joe naked under that Censored sign.

Seconds after I promoted that Bug yarn on my Facebook pages, we were well and truly zucked.

We had contravened Facebook’s strict rules on nudity and sexual activity so into the naughty corner we went.

Now we at The Bug know the company’s rules very well. We have fallen foul – and rightly so – of those rules when we used an image depicting members of the Big Swinging Dicks Club in certain past Australian parliaments. We accepted it was probably a bit too graphic. No wood, though, in our defence.

The rules are pretty simple: no genitals, no female titty bits with a few exceptions, and certainly no sexual activity.

You Buggers out there will have to accept our claim that the sleepy, old, stumbling, befuddled Joe image shows no male bits. It shows no sexual activity of any kind.

Blind Freddy could see that but not Al Gorithm. Maybe Al thought he saw “the girls” out and about but while we’re always having a lot of fun with Joe, he’s no Bill Shorten!

Basically, Al needs to go to Specsavers and that’s why I hit the “disagree” button the moment we were banned last Friday morning.

And guess what happened? To their credit, Facebook came back in a flash (above) and said they were sorry, they got it wrong, we had followed their community standards and we were back on line. Can anyone guess what I stupidly did next? That’s right. I reposted The Bug story and we were immediately banned again.

That’s right. On another look, Al’s glasses that clearly need an upgrade fogged over with the shock of it all and so he hit the banned button again.

Over the next days, the ban grew from 24 to 48 hours to something around 72 with no further explanation. Maybe we were penalised extra for having the temerity to accept Facebook’s apology?

And that’s the problem with Facebook. It’s largely its way or the highway.

The process to complain if you disagree with their decisions is extremely limited. There’s no field to file a defence.

After the second ban, we were given a code to lodge an appeal with the OVERSIGHT BOARD, some “independent outside body” set up to look at such matters.

This body is a joke and the 17 or so eminent world leaders in various fields should hang their heads in shame.

We lodged an appeal that took quite some time – I have no idea whey they wanted my shoe size – before noticing the rider that they investigate a very, very, small percentage of complaints to them. Even fewer at the moment due to COVID. What a fucking joke.

A quick aside: We’re rather fond of Facebook. We fully appreciate why Facebook got the shits recently and tried to monetise its platform even further by getting legitimate news organisations to pay for using the platform to promote themselves.

We are rather proud of the fact that The Bug was roped in with profit-seeking commercial news organisations and were offline for quite a while.

Chuffed, also, that while Australia’s other satire sites complained and were allowed back online, The Bug wasn’t. They say the best satire is so close to reality that it’s almost not funny and we sort of appreciate that Facebook thought we were real!

But back to our most recent interaction with Facebook.

I’m really tempted to tell Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook to go fuck themselves with a rubber hose, something I used to say when I was an angry young man. But I won’t do that.

As stated, it’s a good promotional resource and the only one the loss-leading, no-profit Bug can afford.

We’d just like to remind The Zuckster that nothing lasts forever. Seemingly invincible leviathans do come and go.

Facebook is worth what it is because of the people who use it. It’s a two-way street. Treating those users with fairness and common sense should be an integral part of any business that hopes to hang around long term.

Don Gordon-Brown

PS: If The Zuckster or Al, his online censor now hopefully fitted with new spectacles, want to come back to us and tell us what parts of that image breached Facebook’s nudity and sexual activity rules, we’ll upload their comments for our reader to make of it what that reader will. We’ll stick with our view that if those two saw things that just weren’t there to see, they’ve both just got very dirty minds and need to take themselves in hand.