Is Facebook An Authoritarian State?

January 24, 2018
1 min read

We got banned! That’s right, for having the temerity to link to Andrew Johnstone’s story all about his painful experience with Facebook, the social media disabled his account for three days, and took his post down. PAT PILCHER responds.


Following on from Andrew Johnston’s rather excellent story on how he got banned from Facebook and how he had no recourse to explain or even get his banning reviewed, Witchdoctor editor Gary Steel posted a link on the Witchdoctor Facebook page promoting the story.

Guess what?

Gary Steel got banned too, supposedly for breaching Facebook’s ‘community standards’.

Theoretically, the disabling of Steel’s account will only last for three days, but Facebook also eliminated the post/link from the Witchdoctor page.

Which leads to the question: is Facebook the benevolent social media vessel we would all like to think of it as, or is it a kind of military regime of the virtual world?

It seems that Facebook really can’t handle the jandal when it comes to having an opinion expressed about them that isn’t complementary. We at Witchdoctor think they not only need to grow up, but that they need to man up and grow a pair while they’re at it. Sticks and stones and all that.

After much checking, Gary could find no easy way to contact Facebook and to get them to explain the thinking behind their decision to ban him for daring to post a story that was slightly negative about them. It seems that was enough to warrant the same sort of ban you’d expect for posting porn on your Facebook page.

Pathetic, or what?

Here’s the thing. It is our job as journalists to hold big corporations like Facebook to account by writing stories that are not just PR led puff-pieces. This is why the we are known as the fourth estate.

Sadly, it isn’t just Steel spending time in Facebook purgatory. Checking online reveals a huge number of people who are desperately seeking assistance from Facebook and not receiving any reply, or who have been banned for out and out silly reasons that defy logic. Issues such as stolen photos of their kids being used on Facebook profiles without any permission through to complaints about Facebook pages showcasing sex trafficking and animal brutality appear to be routinely ignored by Facebook. But God help you if you dare post a story that is remotely negative about Facebook.

What is really bizarre is the fact that while Facebook are studiously ignoring the complaints of a growing number of people around these issues and more, they’re happily banning people for posting images with nipples or dare I say it, breasts. Prudish? Yes. Weird, definitely.


Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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