by Ulises Silva
December 14, 2010. The day la risa died. Or rather, the day Being Latino’s Facebook page was shut down by whatever automated Facebook program detected Flagged Post #100 and went to Code Red—and shut down a Facebook page with 52,000 fans, nearly two years of serving the Latino community, and avocado avarice. And if you think that last sentence is long, it took BL founder Lance Rios two days to hear back from an actual living, breathing person and get the page reinstated.
Two days. In cybertime, that’s an infinity. (Actually, it’s still just two days, but ‘infinity’ sounds more dramatic.)
Lance’s efforts to get BL’s page reinstated was like taking a quick hop into The Matrix. “Dear Facebook user,” a programmed response to his first appeal said, “Your hateful/inappropriate/illegal/genocide-promoting page violated our ToS. If you’d like to appeal this perfectly well-thought-out decision, seek out The Keymaker. Have a nice day. Remember to take the blue pill.” Thankfully, the story had a happy ending when actual humans reviewed the matter and reinstated BL. Lance even got this personalized apology from a non-Sentinel over at ZuckerbergLand:
“Our reviewers look at thousands of pieces of content a day that are reported to them. Of course, they make an occasional mistake. This is just an example. When this happens, we work quickly to resolve the issue. We’ve restored the page and apologize for any inconvenience its removal may have caused. Remember to take the blue pill.”
We learned three things during this crisis.
One: Lance will grow his hair out so the next time this happens, he can pull it out more easily.
Two: BL is doing something right if we can inspire haters to take minutes of their pseudo-lives and go on a flagging spree to get us shut down.
And three: Latinos sure know how to put up a fight—especially when it comes to their Facelibro.
Within moments of BL’s shutdown, a new page, You Can’t Stop Us From Being Latino, sprung up to tell Facebook how many of us on BL-withdrawal were ready to go Nero on their butts. Within minutes, it had its first 50 fans. Had the matter dragged on, it would have reached hundreds—maybe trillions…somehow. Within hours, the Latino blogosphere was asking, “What?!” Had the matter dragged on, Facebook’s PR department would have been asking, “What?!” when informed of all the overtime they’d be working.
It’s ironic: Facebook told BL that we were evil incarnate. And yet, we used Facebook to mobilize—by joining You Can’t Stop Us, changing our profile pics, or posting boycott threats and furious emoticons on our status updates. Which bodes well for future conflicts and challenges. “What’s scarier than a mad Latino?” someone will ask. “A mad Latino with a Facebook account.”
I’m guessing BL’s page is a little safer from Fred Flagger and the Avacado-Hating Brigade now that Facebook better understands our policy, mission, and decibel capacity. Because now they know. The next time anyone attacks our Facebook page, we’ll brandish our laptops and say, “Hey! I know how to use this!”
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.