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Facebook banned me because I’m black, from Africa and criticizing them, says journalist Simon Ateba, following double standard Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 26, 2021


Facebook banned me for 30 days on August 8, 2018, because I am black, from Africa, and for criticizing them repeatedly over tax evasion in Africa. This, I can now say with certainty, after Facebook gave two different verdicts for the same video the company banned me for.

As the publisher of Today News Africa, I had repeatedly criticized Facebook in Africa and here in Washington, District of Columbia, where I live. And with the criticisms came the bans. This year alone, I have been banned from Facebook for three out of seven months on flimsy excuses. 

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The latest one happened on August 8, just days after I was banned for 30 days between June and July this year.

That day on August 8, I shared the video below on Facebook that had been shared by tens of thousands of people and viewed by millions. The video had been on Facebook for several weeks when I also shared it.

The video was not about nudity and did not show any sex or body parts. It was a video about a pastor claiming that he was delivering a man who was reportedly having an erectile dysfunction.

Such manipulations known as deliverances are often applied to gays and lesbians and people who find it hard to bear children, or have any other challenge in life. 

I covered such things in Nigeria for many years. I was attacked, beaten to comma and declared persona non grata from some churches. 

When I saw that video on August 8, I quickly shared it with a warning “Africa wake up, wake up”. 

Shortly after, I received a notification from Facebook that my account had been suspended for sharing a video that goes against their policies. 

I appealed the decision and Facebook told me days after that it had reviewed the video and it went against their policies. Specifically, Facebook said, my video violated its policies on “nudity” and “sexual activity“.

I was not satisfied, so I appealed again, and days after, Facebook told me that another person had taken a look at the video and it went against their policies.

I had completed my appeals and could not appeal again. But because the video was still being shared by others online, and tens of thousands of people who had shared it were still not banned, I was wondering why.

After I shared the story on Facebook, some fans decided to report the video to Facebook from other accounts that had shared it and see what the verdict would be. 

As expected, Facebook said, it had reviewed the video and it did not violate any of its policies.

Facebook said: Thanks for your feedbackToday: Thanks for letting us know about this. We reviewed the video, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards, you did the right thing by letting us know about it. We understand that it may still be offensive or distasteful to you, so we want to help you see less of things like it in the future.From the list above, you can block Tabloid Africa SA directly, or you may be able to unfriend or unfollow them. We also recommend visiting the Help Center to learn more about how to control what you see in your News Feed. If you find that a person, group or Page consistently posts things you don’t want to see, you may want to limit how often you see their posts or remove them from your Facebook experience.We know these options may not apply to every situation, so please let us know if you see something else you think we should take a look at. You can also learn more about our specific standards on nudity and the kinds of images allowed on Facebook.

Thanks for your feedbackToday: Thanks for letting us know about this. We reviewed the video, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards, you did the right thing by letting us know about it. We understand that it may still be offensive or distasteful to you, so we want to help you see less of things like it in the future.From the list above, you can block Tabloid Africa SA directly, or you may be able to unfriend or unfollow them. We also recommend visiting the Help Center to learn more about how to control what you see in your News Feed. If you find that a person, group or Page consistently posts things you don’t want to see, you may want to limit how often you see their posts or remove them from your Facebook experience.We know these options may not apply to every situation, so please let us know if you see something else you think we should take a look at. You can also learn more about our specific standards on nudity and the kinds of images allowed on Facebook.

While the same video violates Facebook policies when it is me sharing it, but does not when it is someone else, I came to the conclusion that Facebook has been targeting me, either because I am black, from Africaor my criticisms.

This double standard by Facebook against me, has exposed the company, for going after the people they do not like or people who criticize them.

Facebook and other tech-giants have been evading tax in Africa while making millions of dollars. They claim they are fighting corruption and fake news, but Facebook is a very dishonest company outside of the United States, helping dictators to oppress their people, banning journalists and activists. 

I feel bad today that the same standards are not being applied to everyone. I have lost businesses because of the three months I had been banned this year, and cannot contact many people and associates who communicate with me via Facebook.

Those who kept wondering why I was been banned for almost everything I post. You have your answers today.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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