Facebook: Social Media That Doesn't Want You to Be Social, Even to Catch a Thief

Facebook is ostensibly a social media. They want to you share stories and photos, to tag your friends and spread information. I write for Firedoglake.com one of the top 9000 websites in the world, and I'm the editorial director for a Los Angeles-based arts website witha huge readership, CARTWHEELart.com. As such I tag people in articles and photos, people I know in real life, people I have dinner with, meet at art galleries; spend time with at parties, openings, conferences, and the like; as well as my personal friends, all of whom share some or many of my interests from politics to arts, fashion and cats.

Photos I tag on my personal page can range from my cat Mr. Bruce who is a semi-celebrity on Facebook to images of violent attacks on LGBT in Russian, and on CARTWHEEEL's FB page I tag exclusive shots of studio visits at the homes of major artists in Los Angeles, street art, and shots of people at gallery openings, as well as images that are visually striking and engaging. Because that's the point of Facebook:To engage.

Earlier this week while tagging stills captured off the surveillance video from the theft of a major piece of art by Desire Obtain Cherish from the back wall of Lab Art in Los Angeles, I got a warning from Facebook that I was tagging too many people. I was asked to take a quiz and guess which out people I had tagged in series a photos, some of which were over a week old. The quiz allows you skip a photo if you can't remember exactly who you've tagged. And in one photo I couldn't recall who I had tagged (I often several of the same people and even doing Lumosity daily couldn't help me on this one image), but I had one "skip" left. So I skipped it, and was instantly blocked from tagging for fourteen days.

There is no appeal process to a ban. However, I did post about this on my Facebook page which is public and in the Facebook forum where two dozen people have written in support. I also keep attempting to tag photos and each time offer a version of this explanation:

I am a journalist. I tag people I know in real life with important news and information from the page I administrate, as well as the usual fashion photos, party photos, memes, and kittens from my own page. I only tag people I know in real life. While I appreciate and understand that Facebook wants to keep off spam, Facebook is a social and informational network, and I am participating as a good citizen and journalist.

Granted, Facebook has some gajillion users and clearly can't manage a customer service department to handle specific issues like mine (and the other people who get blocked from tagging photos of their family reunions and vacations), but surely there must be some way to distinguish between a legitimate human alerting folks to items of interest, like say a major art theft or Aunt Gertie's wedding to her longtime companion Agatha, and some douche trying to sell knock off Nikes.

So if I didn't get a chance to tag you in the video of the theft from Lab Art (because heck, you may know the bearded hipster driving a dark Prius who suddenly has acquired a Desire Obtain Cherish), here are some photos and the link.



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