Facebook spam filter comes under fire
Social networking giant is changing algorithms after activists blocked from posting information
Facebook is changing its automated spam computer algorithm that has been blocking environmental activists and other people from posting information on like-minded Facebook pages.
According to Facebook, the activists were not blocked as a result of censorship on heir activities.
"Facebook is not - and has never been - in the business of disabling accounts or removing content simply because people are discussing controversial topics," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement to The Associated Press. "On the contrary, we want Facebook to be a place where people can openly express their views and opinions, even if others don't agree with them."
Activists were flagged by the Facebook anti-spam programme and told they couldn't post any more content for 15 days.
Other users, which included including an animal rescue activist, also reported having the same problem.
"Our systems classify over 10 billion actions [suspicious logins, friend requests, etc], and pieces of content [messages, Wall posts, etc] every day," Noyes said. "Of course, no system is perfect, and we do sometimes make mistakes."
The activists were not blocked from posting by an administrator of a page and were even blocked from posting on pages with similar views.
"The first feeling was surprise, because I'd been doing this for over a year, with no problem," said Gloria Forouzan of Pittsburgh, who has been very active in protests over natural gas drilling. "Then I found out a few others were blocked, and we all started getting angry."
Forouzan and other Facebook users who were blocked said they were unsure what they did to trigger the block.
Facebook has also not revealed what the problem was; fearing spammers might use the information to get round the block system.
Facebook has an appeals process for people whose personal accounts were disabled, but does not seem to one for the 15-day spam sentence.