Interesting days

So! ‘Interesting’ day yesterday. Which is ‘interesting’ in itself as I don’t have many ‘interesting’ days. After 144 of them the lockdown days get to be a bit samey. Which suits me fine. Routine works well with my temperament. Having not set foot outside the house in five months I’ve found routine to be quite an effective coping mechanism. Like all the best coping mechanisms, I’m not really conscious of it being a coping mechanism. I just cope. It’s just my life now. I’m not ‘dealing with a very difficult situation’. I’m not in a difficult situation. I’m just in a situation. Same as always. It’s up to me whether and to what extent my situation is difficult. I choose to make it less difficult. Not difficult at all, in fact. Routine is part of that.

I’m never bored. I don’t get bored. I’m not sure I know what it’s like to be bored. I’m always doing something – even if it’s only sitting thinking. Mostly, I do the same things at more or less the same times every day. I am comfortable with that although I know many (most?) people would think it frightfully dull.

But yesterday was ‘interesting’. Not ‘exciting’! If things get ‘exciting’ I know I’m doing something wrong. Things aren’t supposed to be exciting. Things are supposed to be just things. Situations are meant to be just situations. But yesterday was ‘interesting’. ‘Interesting’ can be good or bad. My default assumption is that it is bad. I’m content with less bad than it might have been. The jury’s still out on yesterday’s ‘interesting’. I’ve yet to make up my mind about where it sits on the scale of badness that runs from ‘less bad than it might have been’ to ‘worse than even I could possibly have imagined’. Yesterday’s ‘interesting’ certainly isn’t at the latter extreme. If it were, I expect I would be too heavily medicated to write this. I’m just not sure how bad it is. See what you think.

It started about 13:30 when I received a message from a friend saying they were unable to share anything from this site on Facebook. Every time they tried, they got a message such as the one pictured above. To be more accurate I should say that this is when I became aware that something ‘interesting’ was intruding on my pleasingly uninteresting routine. My friend also mentioned that copying and pasting a URL into a Facebook comment resulted in non-standard behaviour in that the preview of the article did not appear. I realised then that I had vaguely noticed – but not noted – this non-standard behaviour myself.

Then I started to get more messages from people who’d found it impossible to share articles from this website on Facebook. So, I thought I’d best investigate. Which brought me in due course to the Support Inbox on Facebook where I found a small slew of notifications saying that posts had been blocked with the message ‘This post goes against our Community Standards on spam‘. Which was odd. Because they were simply shares of my articles – almost all on my own profile or one of my pages or groups. ‘Interesting’!

I then went through the procedure to inform whoever or whatever it is that’s on the other end that I disagreed with the decisions. All of them. A short time later I received a response rejecting my ‘appeal’. That was an end of it.

I should have mentioned that all of the posts at issue were notified to me over a short period that morning. Assuming the notifications to be automated and prompted by a report, it seemed that somebody had just started with a recent share and worked backwards reporting a series of posts as spam until, presumably, they grew weary of the task.

Now! I allow that there may be a perfectly innocent explanation for all of this. But given that this series of patently false spam reports was followed by the blocking of my website’s URL – which I reckon must also have ensued from a complaint – I think you’ll agree that the whole thing is at the very least ‘interesting’. The more so as neither I nor anybody else has been able to come up with that innocent explanation.

I can only say what it looks like. And it looks like quite deliberate sabotage. Who would do such a thing? Take your pick! I know I upset all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. And it appears to be scarily easy to do what it looks like somebody did. I say “scarily” because, obviously, this is a form of censorship. Facebook is so afraid of negative publicity that they will eagerly pander to any report or complaint. As has been demonstrated. Because there is no way the blocked posts could possibly be considered spam by anyone who had actually looked at them. And whatever may be said about what I write here there is never anything remotely like hate-speech or incitement to violence or anything of that sort.

I’ve looked through the Facebook Community Standards and am at a loss as to how this site has breached any of the rather comprehensive list of things that Facebook considers justification for censorship. And therein lies the problem. The list is so comprehensive it could, with only a little imagination, be used to provide cause for censoring pretty much anything.

Facebook is, as you’d expect, very good at saying the right things. They’re proficient at producing the glossy brochure stuff that represents the public face of the organisation. They make much of things like ‘community’ and ‘expression’ and ‘communication’. But at the same time they make it laughably easy for anyone with malign intent to set off the hair-trigger on their content shredder.

My suspicion – and it will never be more than that as there is absolutely no possibility of Facebook actually investigating anything – is that I have been the subject of a personal attack. By which I mean I have been targeted by some pathetically inadequate individual with a petty grudge.

My concern is that if this kind of damage can be wrought by some random fool then how might the same weaknesses be exploited by others with a bigger axe to grind. We know as a matter of fact that British Nationalist recognise no moral or ethical constraints on what they are prepared to do to preserve their ‘precious’ Union. They will do absolutely anything. We know also that the British are concerned about the Yes movement’s superiority on social media. Anticipating what they might do about this is more a matter of cold calculation than conjecture.

If my suspicions are well-founded then we can expect many more ‘interesting’ days ahead.



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18 thoughts on “Interesting days

  1. Interesting.

    My blog sometimes gets grief from idiots who think the name “it’s shite being Scottish” is offensive. And once BBC researchers clearly trawled through it to confirm that although my story would make an interesting feature at the BBC website, linking my blog certainly would not be appropriate.

    I don’t know what can be done about resentful wee trolls. But what you did yesterday was probably a good strategy. I would also keep battering on the Facebook door for a while, just to see if you can ever reach a human being.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I think you need look no further than the British state mechanisms, and that’s no weird James Bond type conspiracy. They have hundreds of paid trolls and insidious organisations employed to trawl and monitor any threat to the status quo. They have more control over Facebook and other social media platforms than you think. It will be interesting times ahead.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I think I successfully shared your last post on FB, however, the days of me using the rancid social media platform that it is for anything other than the local community and Independence are long gone so I only have 3 ‘friends’ that I got by accident. So I really have no idea how it all works these days, thankfully.
    That said. despite my best efforts sh*te still pops up and some horrific things are on FB so I fail to see what the hell is wrong with your blogs etc. I don’t expect you will let it get you down and will find more power to your pen!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. So by “post this article” are you only posting a link, or a complete copy of the text?

        “Could not scrape URL because it has been blocked”

        I don’t use Farcebook, Twatter or any of the “social media” playpens, so don’t really know how they operate. So does that “error message” imply that whenever a message is posted with a link to some other location, it tries to scrape content from the target, and add it as part of the message?

        What happens is one use a link shortener (or chain of them) rather than a direct link?

        e.g. https://tinyurl.com/y3yb6fzq

        I’d guess probably the same, and that the way to work around it if one could be via a “meta-redirect” which did not trigger for the scraping agent.

        That said, I simply encourage people to not use such sites, for various reasons.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If the domain (peterabell.scot) is blocked by, for example, Facebook then nothing containing or linking to that domain can be posted. A link shortener would make no difference as Facebook first takes a peek ate where the shortened link leads.

        It’s always a mistake to generalise. There’s pros and cons with all social media platforms. It’s just that, for me, the cons came to massively outweigh the pros when I was no longer able to share my blog content there.

        Like

  4. Well. no idea if this is a cause, but there’s no rDNS (reverse DNS) for the IP that your website resolves to. I don’t want to post the IP address though “traceroute” will give it to you as will other tools, but if you check it at this address http://www.uceprotect.net/en/rblcheck.php it gives “Listingrisk HIGH
    DNS Problem”. It should probably resolve to something like xyz,saturn.automattic,com which may or may not be something to do with Tumblr. It’s whoever hosts or redirects your domain!

    It could be a tightening of antispam measures by facebook or whoever. Hope that helps.

    Like

      1. I have traceroute as part of my old demon email / news software, but this web one appears to be safe (set up in 2010): https://www.ultratools.com/tools/traceRoute just put in 30 or something as the max hops). Try it for indyref2.space – and it comes to a name and an IP address at the end of the hops, Whereas yours is just an IP address and the same IP address. Sorry if this is too simplified, I have no idea how techie you are!

        You don’t have to have rDNS for things to work, but it is regarded as a bit dodgy.

        Like

      2. I’m not sure why I need to know any of this. Facebook has blocked my domain. I have no intention of spending any time at all trying to get around this block. That’s an end of it.

        Like

      3. Try changing your wordpress theme for a few hours, that’s a possibility, get someone to see if it’s OK to share a link. Maybe something to do with “open graph meta tags” not being present for any image you have on the page in teh particualr theme you’re using..

        https://www.vwthemes.com/topic/website-url-blocked/ (note the standard baboon support).

        Even if that doesn’t work, it’s not your fault, facebook is being incompetent, but not deliberately so. It would be a shame if people can’t share links to your site, if there’s a fairly easy workaround like a different theme.

        I don’t do facebook, nor am I a wordpress expert, just do my own websites and server, so can’t help any more. Not that you actually encourage help, but hey, it’s all in the cause of Indy.

        Like

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