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Banned for THAT? Secret document reveals sentences that are banned on Facebook

Facebook users have shared stories of receiving bans after jokingly calling their friend ‘crazy’, sharing a Smithsonian magazine story and labelling someone ‘sad’. 

The social media platform is understood to have internal guidelines which are not made public on moderation. In documents seen by The Wall Street Journal moderators are told the sentences that are and aren’t allowed.  

An example given for a sentence not allowed is: ‘It’s disgusting and repulsive how fat and ugly John Smith is.’ 

But the document adds: ‘We do not remove content like “frizzy hair,” “lanky arms,” “broad shoulders,” etc. since “frizzy,” “lanky,” and “broad,” are not deficient or inferior, and therefore not degrading.”’    

Recent graduate Colton Oakley says he was banned from posting for three days after calling those who are angry about loan cancellation ‘sad and selfish.’ 

Writer Alex Gendler claims he was stopped from posting after sharing a Smithsonian magazine story on tribal New Guinea. 

And history teacher Nick Barksdale told The Wall Street Journal he received a 30 day ban after writing to a friend ‘man, you’re spewing crazy now!’ 

Facebook said this removal was a mistake but Barksdale asked: ‘If you use the term ‘crazy,’ does that automatically get you banned?’

Artist Sunny Chapman, who has received bans, said: ‘What I’m learning about Facebook is not to talk on Facebook.’   

DailyMail.com has contacted Facebook for comment. 

Facebook users have shared stories of receiving bans after jokingly calling their mates 'crazy', sharing a Smithsonian magazine story and labelling someone 'sad'

Facebook users have shared stories of receiving bans after jokingly calling their mates 'crazy', sharing a Smithsonian magazine story and labelling someone 'sad'

Facebook users have shared stories of receiving bans after jokingly calling their mates ‘crazy’, sharing a Smithsonian magazine story and labelling someone ‘sad’

The social media platform is understood to have internal guidelines which are not made public on moderation. In documents seen by The Wall Street Journal moderators are told the sentences that are and aren't allowed. An example given for a sentence not allowed is: 'It¿s disgusting and repulsive how fat and ugly John Smith is'

The social media platform is understood to have internal guidelines which are not made public on moderation. In documents seen by The Wall Street Journal moderators are told the sentences that are and aren't allowed. An example given for a sentence not allowed is: 'It¿s disgusting and repulsive how fat and ugly John Smith is'

The social media platform is understood to have internal guidelines which are not made public on moderation. In documents seen by The Wall Street Journal moderators are told the sentences that are and aren’t allowed. An example given for a sentence not allowed is: ‘It’s disgusting and repulsive how fat and ugly John Smith is’

Facebook will remove content where the user posts a ‘degrading physical description’ including someone ‘disgusting and repulsive’, secret documents reveal.

Moderators are told to remove ‘calling an individual’s appearance ugly, disgusting, repulsive, etc’, according to documents seen by The Wall Street Journal.

An example sentence given by the social network which should be removed is: ‘It’s disgusting and repulsive how fat and ugly John Smith is.’

But the document adds: ‘We do not remove content like “frizzy hair,” “lanky arms,” “broad shoulders,” etc. since “frizzy,” “lanky,” and “broad,” are not deficient or inferior, and therefore not degrading.”’  

Facebook, which reviews two million posts a day, does not tell users how many strikes result in a permanent ban and has not released data on restricted accounts. 

Writer Alex Gendler claims he was stopped from posting after sharing a Smithsonian magazine story on tribal New Guinea

Writer Alex Gendler claims he was stopped from posting after sharing a Smithsonian magazine story on tribal New Guinea

Recent graduate Colton Oakley says he was banned from posting for three days after calling those who are angry about loan cancellation 'sad and selfish'

Recent graduate Colton Oakley says he was banned from posting for three days after calling those who are angry about loan cancellation 'sad and selfish'

Recent graduate Colton Oakley, right, says he was banned from posting for three days after calling those who are angry about loan cancellation ‘sad and selfish.’ Writer Alex Gendler, left, claims he was stopped from posting after sharing a Smithsonian magazine story

History teacher Nick Barksdale told The Wall Street Journal he received a 30 day ban after writing to a friend 'man, you're spewing crazy now!'

History teacher Nick Barksdale told The Wall Street Journal he received a 30 day ban after writing to a friend 'man, you're spewing crazy now!'

History teacher Nick Barksdale told The Wall Street Journal he received a 30 day ban after writing to a friend ‘man, you’re spewing crazy now!’

Its independent oversight board is set for a momentous decision on the platform’s ban of former US president Donald Trump Wednesday. 

The ruling is likely to be a defining moment for the leading social network’s so-called ‘supreme court’, envisioned by company founder Mark Zuckerberg to make thorny decisions on what to allow or remove from Facebook. 

Other example sentences moderators are told to remove include: ‘If you vote by mail, you will get Covid!’ and ‘My friends and I will be doing our own monitoring of the polls to make sure only the right people vote.’ 

But ‘If you vote by mail, be careful, you might catch Covid-19!’ and ‘I heard people are disrupting going to the polls today. I’m not going to the polling station’ can stay.        

A Facebook spokesperson said: ‘While we’re transparent about our policies, we understand that people can still be frustrated by our decisions, which is why we’re committing to doing more.’     

Facebook's independent oversight board is set for a momentous decision on the platform's ban of former US president Donald Trump Wednesday

Facebook's independent oversight board is set for a momentous decision on the platform's ban of former US president Donald Trump Wednesday

Facebook’s independent oversight board is set for a momentous decision on the platform’s ban of former US president Donald Trump Wednesday

The decisions are binding, meaning CEO Mark Zuckerberg can't do anything to change them

The decisions are binding, meaning CEO Mark Zuckerberg can't do anything to change them

The decisions are binding, meaning CEO Mark Zuckerberg can’t do anything to change them

The oversight board, whose decisions are binding on Facebook and cannot be appealed, will decide on Wednesday whether to leave in place the Trump ban, or allow him back on the platform following his ban after the deadly Capitol riot. 

It is comprised of jurists, policy experts, journalists and others from around the world and issued its first rulings in January this year.  

In those rulings it overturned four out of five decisions by the social network to take down questionable content. 

Last month the oversight board said it would be accepting appeals from Facebook and Instagram users about other people’s content that’s been allowed to remain on the platforms.

Users can file appeals over posts, photos, videos, comments, statuses and shares that they think the company should have been removed. 

Facebook regularly takes down thousands of posts and accounts, and about 150,000 of those cases have appealed to the oversight board since it launched in October. 

The board is prioritizing the review of cases that have the potential to affect many users around the world. 

In its initial batch of rulings, the board ordered Facebook to restore posts by users that the company said broke standards on adult nudity, hate speech, or dangerous individuals.  

The decisions are binding, meaning CEO Mark Zuckerberg can’t do anything to change them. 

FACEBOOK’S ‘SUPREME COURT’: THE 20 OVERSIGHT BOARD MEMBERS 

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei – A human rights advocate who works on women’s rights, media freedom and access to information issues across Africa at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.

Evelyn Aswad – A University of Oklahoma College of Law professor who formerly served as a senior State Department lawyer and specializes in the application of international human rights standards to content moderation issues 

Endy Bayuni – A journalist who twice served as the editor-in-chief of The Jakarta Post, and helps direct a journalists’ association that promotes excellence in the coverage of religion and spirituality.

Catalina Botero Marino, co-chair – A former U.N. special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States who now serves as dean of the Universidad de los Andes Faculty of Law.

Katherine Chen – A communications scholar at the National Chengchi University who studies social media, mobile news and privacy, and a former national communications regulator in Taiwan.

Nighat Dad – A digital rights advocate who offers digital security training to women in Pakistan and across South Asia to help them protect themselves against online harassment, campaigns against government restrictions on dissent, and received the Human Rights Tulip Award.

Jamal Greene, co-chair – A Columbia Law professor who focuses on constitutional rights adjudication and the structure of legal and constitutional argument.

Pamela Karlan – A Stanford Law professor and Supreme Court advocate who has represented clients in voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and First Amendment cases, and serves as a member of the board of the American Constitution Society. Karlan had been asked to describe the differences between a U.S. president and a king during Trump’s impeachment hearing when she brought up the first son’s name. ‘The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,’ Karlan told lawmakers. She later apologized.

Tawakkol Karman – A Nobel Peace Prize laureate who used her voice to promote nonviolent change in Yemen during the Arab Spring, and was named as one of ‘History’s Most Rebellious Women’ by Time magazine.

Maina Kiai – A director of Human Rights Watch’s Global Alliances and Partnerships Program and a former U.N. special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association who has decades of experience advocating for human rights in Kenya.

Sudhir Krishnaswamy – A vice chancellor of the National Law School of India University who co-founded an advocacy organization that works to advance constitutional values for everyone, including LGBTQ+ and transgender persons, in India.

Ronaldo Lemos – A technology, intellectual property and media lawyer who co-created a national internet rights law in Brazil, co-founded a nonprofit focused on technology and policy issues, and teaches law at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

Michael McConnell, co-chair – A former U.S. federal circuit judge who is now a constitutional law professor at Stanford, an expert on religious freedom, and a Supreme Court advocate who has represented clients in a wide range of First Amendment cases involving freedom of speech, religion and association.

Julie Owono – A digital rights and anti-censorship advocate who leads Internet Sans Frontières and campaigns against internet censorship in Africa and around the world.

Emi Palmor – A former director general of the Israeli Ministry of Justice who led initiatives to address racial discrimination, advance access to justice via digital services and platforms and promote diversity in the public sector.

Alan Rusbridger – A former editor-in-chief of The Guardian who transformed the newspaper into a global institution and oversaw its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Edward Snowden disclosures. He was editor of the left-leaning Guardian newspaper for 20 years, which was chosen by Edward Snowden to publicise his NSA leaks and campaigned against the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States.

András Sajó – A former judge and vice president of the European Court of Human Rights who is an expert in free speech and comparative constitutionalism.

John Samples – A public intellectual who writes extensively on social media and speech regulation, advocates against restrictions on online expression, and helps lead a libertarian think tank.

Nicolas Suzor

Nicolas Suzor

Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Left to right: Nicolas Suzor and Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Nicolas Suzor – A Queensland University of Technology Law School professor who focuses on the governance of social networks and the regulation of automated systems, and has published a book on internet governance.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, co-chair – A former prime minister of Denmark who repeatedly took stands for free expression while in office and then served as CEO of Save the Children. The social democrat was elected in 2011 on a pro-immigration, high tax manifesto before losing power in 2015.

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