I was permanently banned by Facebook

My Facebook account was permanently banned on Wednesday along with all the people who take care of the Cork Skeptics page. We’re still not sure why but it might have something to do with the Facebook algorithm used to detect far-right conspiracy groups.

When your account is disabled you’re given the opportunity to upload some form of ID. That is the price of requesting a review. Unfortunately if you are permanently banned you will only be informed after uploading the photo that permanently banned accounts cannot be unbanned. It’s a particularly evil but clever way for Facebook to gather real world identifiable information about a user who may be desperate to get back into their account.

The good news is that our accounts were restored last night after two days in which we tweeted about it and contacted everyone we knew who might be able to help. Thank you to everyone who RTed, liked or commented on those tweets, or helped in other ways behind the scenes. I really do not know how this decision was reversed so don’t bother asking, sorry. We’re not the only group to be banned in error. It happened to a group of seventeenth century historical re-enactors who were banned but then unbanned.

The first thing I did when I logged in again? I downloaded all my information so if it happens again at least I have a copy of what I posted there. I haven’t come across the photo of my ID in my downloaded information however, though it might be there. I haven’t looked at all of it yet. Thank you GDPR.

If you have a Facebook account you should download your information too because it could happen to you too, even though you did nothing wrong. Go here and click the “Create File” button now.

Yeah, I know you won’t do it but you really should.

People say the age of personal blogging is over because everyone is on social media but I beg to differ. At least I won’t be banned from my own self-hosted blog any time soon.

Inchydonney Beach, December 12th 2020.

Update: All the admin users of Cork Skeptics were once again banned from Facebook on Friday, January 22nd 2021. If you know anyone in Facebook I would appreciate a word with them!

Update: Much later. Our accounts were restored and the Cork Skeptics page was restored but that’s twice now so we have deleted the page to avoid any more problems.

Make sure you do regular backups of your Facebook data!

8 thoughts on “I was permanently banned by Facebook

  1. That’s unbelievable! Facebook is a wasteland and I’ve always maintained that blogs are the best way to control the information you share. It’s much easier to find old posts too. There’s nothing on Facebook that I’d care about if I lost my account. I’d probably just create a new one.

  2. I deleted my account about 2 years ago. I only wish I could delete my WhatsApp account. I wish Irish people and companies would realise how nefarious the lock-in is.

  3. Great advice.

    After I got banned from Facebook in 2011 (for using a “fake name”, which is actually my real name) I took a similar line of thinking: I can’t trust Facebook (or Twitter, or Instagram, or whoever else) to be responsible custodians of my content, so I shan’t. Now, virtually all content I create is hosted on my WordPress-powered blog, at my own domain, first and foremost… and syndicated copies may appear on various social media.

    In a very few instances I go the other way around, producing content in silos and then copying it back to my blog: e.g. my geocaching/geohashing expeditions are posted first to their respective sites (because it’s easiest and most-practical to do that using their apps, especially “in the field”), but then they get imported into my blog using a custom plugin. If any of these sites closes, deletes my data, adds paid tiers I’m not happy with, or just bans me from my own account… I’m still set.

    Backing up all your social content is a good strategy. Owning it all to begin with is an even better one, IMHO. See also: Indieweb.

    [incidentally; the same even goes for non-trivial replies to other people’s content: this comment is duplicated here!]

  4. I’ll keep this short. You should download your Twitter data, Facebook data, and as you probably have that too, your Google data. You never know when you might be banned from using them, even accidentally.

    After you’ve saved that data, go to Instagram and Reddit and do the same!


    Download your data from Settings->Your Account->Download an archive of your data.


    Download your Facebook data from Settings->Privacy->Your Facebook Information->Download your information. I like that they offer HTML and JSON options.

    Google Takeout

    Google Takeout is where you download your Google data. There is a lot there. At the time of writing, it shows 53 products, which includes YouTube, Gmail and Google Photos.


    Download your Instagram data from their Privacy and Security page where you will find the request page.


    And finally, Reddit. You can download your data from their data-request page.

    Keep that data safe. Don’t leave it in your download directory. It potentially has lots of private information you won’t want to be shared with anyone who uses your computer.

    Google lets you schedule up to 6 data downloads per year, but it might be worth setting a calendar reminder to do this at least once a year. Store your downloads in dated directories to make it easy to keep track of when they were downloaded.

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  5. How did you get your Facebook re-enabled? I am a single mom who only ever posts about my son and comments on mom groups and friends/like friends posts.. I use it maybe a handful of times a month and then all of the sudden yesterday, I was banned from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – I have used Twitter maybe 3 times ever… I tried to file an appeal but my ID was blurry and they said they reviewed it and won’t overturn it basically no matter what. All of my sons pictures from the NICU and hospital, etc. Are on there and were not included in the “download information” link they gave me. I am at a loss and absolutely devastated by the loss of these pictures. I can’t find any way to contact them and can’t even tweet about it… please help!

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