Facebook is getting slammed for twice removing transfeminine rapper Michete’s post expressing solidarity with the Orlando massacre victims. The post was shared thousands of times on the network until Facebook abruptly deleted it. The company also banned the rapper from the network and sent him a notification that bafflingly included a warning about transmitting underage porn.
The post struck a chord with at least some of Michete’s network and started to spread far beyond Michete's Facebook friends. “Sharing all your stuff because your words are powerful and need to be spread. Is that cool?” one user said in the comments section. Then the post suddenly disappeared.
“We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards,” Facebook said in a notification sent to Michete’s account. The message appeared to be a boilerplate, given that Facebook didn’t cite which Community Standard was violated.
Screenshot notifying Michete that the post was deleted after being shared 2,000 times.
Michete took a screenshot of the removal notification, and reposted it to Facebook. “Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME,” the second post read. He also posted it to Twitter and Tumblr. The Twitter message was retweeted more than 500 times and liked more than 400 times. The Tumblr post was shared more than 9,000 times. Then, Michete says, Facebook banned him from using the social network for 24 hours after the second post.
Facebook also allegedly blocked him from using the Facebook Messenger app for 72 hours. Michete sent us a notification he received by Facebook that included the lines: “In many countries, it’s illegal to make, share or knowingly have images of anyone under the age of 18 involved in sexually explicit acts or behavior. This includes nudity.”
“There are rape jokes and death threats and neo-Nazi groups that exist on Facebook,” Michete said in an interview with Gizmodo. “I don’t understand that double standard. There are a lot of things that get reported that never get taken down.”
Eventually, after his frustrations were shared thousands of times on Twitter and Tumblr, Michete’s original Facebook post was restored. The company did not respond to a request for comment from Gizmodo, but in a statement to Complex, Facebook said that: “The post was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake.”
It’s still unclear why the post was taken down in the first place. The issue appears to be similar to the recent Stanford rapist memes that were inexplicably deleted by Facebook. At that time, Facebook issued the same statement to Gizmodo about the post being removed in error. This might be because Facebook relies heavily on users to report inappropriate posts, and sometimes that system can be gamed or inaccurate reporting can trigger erroneous bans.