Rules, rules and yet more rules. Facebook, could you give me a call?

Hey again Facebook. We’ve met before. I know you’re busy, but it would be great if you could give us just a moment of your time. I think one of your machines/algorithms has the wrong end of the stick…

I run a creative agency in Glasgow, Toad’s Caravan. Our biggest, longest running and most successful project is All The Young Nudes life drawing club.

I’m in a difficult position currently as I’ve been blocked from using your service (for 22 days and 1 hour more).

We have been using your great service for more than 8 years. We’re pretty keen on it! I have 15-20 staff/admins in action online between Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee at any one time. We have thousands of followers and hundreds of thousands of *interested* people following what we do, and have welcomed hundreds of these folk through the door at our life drawing events.

We also use Eventbrite, which works very well for us as payouts are simple and listings are a piece of cake, but we re-list everything on Facebook, because in terms of spreading the word about what we do and making ourselves accessible to these 4 Scottish cities, Facebook is THE place to do it. You know it.

You’re making the system better and better too. There are lots of new things appearing all the time, which make life as a business owner so much easier. Without you, we would have to free up a lot more time in the week to tell the world about what we’re doing. We’re heavily invested in ya.

The nature of what we do is pretty unique. We run life drawing sessions, in licensed premises, with music and themes. Our customers post pictures of their drawings on our Facebook Page. We post pictures of them and their drawings on our page too. We also post photographs of people sketching and nude models posing at the sessions. In the last few years you’ve made it very clear what can and cannot be on display. We’ve been policing this very closely to ensure that there is nothing online that would offend anyone, or break any of your rules.

Life drawing with All The Young Nudes in Edinburgh

Life drawing with All The Young Nudes in Edinburgh

Last year I was blocked from Facebook when someone reported an “offensive” photograph on our page. I think there was a nipple showing. There was a conversation between myself, and Facebook, you might remember this? I spoke to a real human being and explained the situation. The ban was lifted, after I removed the photograph. Fair enough. A few weeks later, someone reported a DRAWING of nudity on our page as “offensive”. I was blocked (my personal and business accounts) from using Facebook, without any correspondence this time. I was barred for a week and asked to scan my passport to verify who I was. I was on a business trip at the time and suffered huge loss of time and earnings as a result of the block. It was impossible to get hold of anyone to discuss the matter. I was later interviewed by Louise White (@LWhiteMedia) on BBC Radio Scotland (@BBCRadioScot) about censorship. The reporters were in touch with you, and it was implied that you might put a flag on our account, to allow for drawings or tasteful photographs to remain online.

Last week, after our successful Aberdeen club launch, I received a notification saying that once again someone had reported us for “offensive” content. I then received a notification saying that it was illegal to post nude images of anyone, especially anyone under the age of 18. I’m hugely offended, I have to say. What is this about? Perhaps “young” and “nudes” in the same page name is triggering the block? I really have no idea, but I’ve appealed my case, and received a note back saying that you were sorry, but you don’t respond to all of these kinds of appeals. Hmm.

Currently, I cannot use Messenger with my personal account. I speak to many of my friends, family and staff ONLY via Messenger, so this has caused real stress and so much time has been wasted trying to get hold of my team. I was told I would be blocked for 72 hours. A week later and I’m still blocked, with no update on the situation. I run 6 business pages via Facebook. Some of these are collaborations with other businesses. I cannot interact or contribute currently and am told my ban will last another 22 days now.

I’m not sure how to progress. We don’t want to offend anyone or break any of your rules, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to comply, with a lack of understanding about your rules across the board. The appeal process surely has to be a little more detailed?


David Bowie Censoring Nipples

David Bowie Censoring Nipples

In recent months we’ve invested a good chunk of our earnings in Facebook Ads, which have been hugely effective for us, helping us to reach audiences we otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. We’ve sold out events and our following has expanded. It’s pretty great, but currently, we can’t access this at all, and are losing the money invested here.

We would like to stick with you on this one Facebook. We love your service.

If you Tweet me @joannasusskind I can get back to you right away 😉