What have I got myself into? An online war where Facebook is taking sides with my enemy and punishing me arbitrarily. The fight is rather insignificant and juvenile, mere rivalry between the fans of a Bengali TV show Ishti Kutum. But what has been revealed through this is that Facebook is UNFAIR and BIASED. They are taking arbitrary decisions of removing posts at the behest of somebody they consider powerful or so. Worse is Facebook doesn’t give me the right to challenge their decision of removing my content. They say the content are in violation of ‘community guidelines’ but they are wrong and I can prove it, if only I knew where and how to challenge.
To give you a background of what’s happening, I started writing about the Bengali TV show Ishti Kutum, about a year back on both my blog and on Facebook fan page. The show has a massive fan following and they are divided into two major camps, the Archi Baha Camp and the Kamalika camp. Archi Baha are the leading protagonist of the story, the husband wife and Kamalika is the other woman. All pro Archi Baha discussions and comments are posted on Ishti Kutum fan page or Star Jalsha’s official page. And the Kamalika camp have started their own page known as MIK. The only purpose of this page is to attack and malign the characters of Archi and Baha in most filthy uncivilized language. This rivalry is going on for over a year now.
I belong to the Archi Baha camp and absolutely hate the Kamalika character and cannot think of writing anything good about her. I write passionately against that character and so her fans hate me. In their frustration, anger and inability to win over me in a fair game of logic reason and arguments they have now started ‘reporting’ my posts and comments to Facebook.
So far so good, they have the right to fight in whatever way they can. But just because somebody reported my content doesn’t mean it would automatically get removed. Facebook has a policy of reviewing the content and take a decision on whether to remove it or not. This is where logic and Facebook is failing me. If they honestly review my content which are mostly written in Bengali using Roman letters they would see that my content is NOT in violation of any Community Guidelines.
But it seems they are NOT honestly reviewing my content and are rather taking actions against me at the behest of somebody. Who is this invisible enemy who is constantly reporting my content and whose reports Facebook takes so damn seriously that my absolutely harmless content is immediately removed is beyond me.
I am sharing screenshots to prove my point. My content is written in English so it should not be difficult to understand that the said content were not in violation of any guidelines.
Some questions arise from this bizarre experience:
- What is Facebook’s policy of review? Do they actually engage human for this purpose?
- If humans are reviewing are they well conversant in the language in which the post was made?
- Are they taking decisions at the behest of people they think are important, for example the admins of a Facebook page with more than two lakhs LIKES (I suspect person reporting my content has close links with Star Jalsha page admin, and this same person is behind Kamalika camp)?
- Facebook doesn’t have any policy of giving the right to challenge these arbitrary decisions. There is no number you can call, no email ID you can write to. A thread here discusses how difficult it is to reach them in the physical world. Assuming they are taking decisions at the behest of strong and powerful, what are the chances that a lone rebel would ever raise their voice?
I feel angry that this is happening to me. But at the same time I know this is only a silly fight over a TV show. What I am afraid of is the role Facebook is playing in a fight between two factions. What if it was something big and of larger social importance? As we can see, Facebook is clearly taking sides, presumably of the rich and powerful. And that’s a scary situation.
Finally, there is just one solace, a sense of joy, a feeling of victory that my writings have become such a nightmare for an entire group, so much so that they have to resort to unfair means of silencing me. But they forget that I still have this blog which doesn’t have stupid unfair policy’s like Facebook, which has a larger reach by way of Google search, which is more permanent as it doesn’t disappear from public memory as soon as it goes down the newsfeed.
The first content reported by the enemy and consequently removed by Facebook was my ‘Open letter to Ankita Chakrabarty, the actor playing the role of Mun in Ishti Kutum. After being removed from Ishti Kutum, that letter was posted on this blog and have since then reached enormous amount of viewers. Removing it from Facebook actually did more harm than good. Today if you search anything related to Ishti Kutum this letter comes up on the Google search result. There is no escape.
So coming up next, all the content that got removed from Facebook.