Age of Consent Reform II — Deleted Again

March 25, 2020, Facebook content moderation struck again with more censorship. They deleted the second Facebook group Age of Consent Reform.

When I logged in to Facebook, as I seldom do, I saw a page with the following notice:

Groups and Posts are Different Things

Facebook did not notify me that my group had been removed or suspended, because it did not treat the group as a group. Instead, Facebook miscalled the Group a Post and punished me for having… posted a group? It doesn’t seem logical. If the group was to be suspended, that would be a different action. However, the group was treated as a post, something that it is not.

Both incarnations of the Age of Consent Reform group were created to discuss the legal and social aspects of Age of Consent – type laws. Such laws include statutory rape, rape in the second degree, annoying or molesting any child under 18, and others. It was essentially political discussion; the discussion of a socio-legal construct and its consequences.

Neither of the two Age of Consent Reform groups violated Facebook Community Standards.

However, censoring political discussion is itself a violation of Facebook’s policy on Hate Speech. By deleting the group, Facebook’s content moderation team sort of committed a Tier 3 violation of Facebook’s Community Standards, wherein it states that users must not target a person or group by exclusion or deny the right to political participation.

… users must not target a person or groupof people on the basis of their protected characteristic(s) with any of the following:—

  • Explicit exclusion, which means things like expelling certain groups or saying they’re not allowed
  • Political exclusion, which means denying the right to right to political participation

Deleting the group, a political group, is political exclusion, and thus a violation of the rule against political exclusion. 

It’s “sort of” a violation, however, because (a) this “guideline” applies to Facebook users, not to Facebook content moderation and because (b) Facebook doesn’t apply it fairly or consistently, rather, it’s a loose guideline they apply how and when they see fit, to justify deleting content. Facebook’s guidelines are designed to be holistically vague to be implemented inconsistently, whenever and however Facebook chooses. The idea that these guidelines would be applied one-sidedly, hypocritically, is thus concordant.

If Facebook needed to secure its userbase, they would need to treat their users well, and would thus need to to meet reasonable expectations of the user. To do that, they would need to consistently follow their rules.

But, since Facebook has secured a cornerstone of marketshare, they don’t. So, failing a reasonable user experience, Facebook should follow the law.

Facebook failing to obey the law, the OAG should consistently enforce and uphold the law, specifically in this case, by providing consumer protection for CCPA data portability requests.

CCPA Data Portability

CCPA data portability is a consumer protection law designed to allow users to retrieve their data.

In practice, neither the District Attorney nor the Office of the Attorney General, nor any office in CA has upheld my legal rights when companies have denied my CCPA data portability requests.

Facebook censored me and then rejected my CCPA data portability requests. 

Nextdoor and Twitter only allow non-suspended users do CCPA data portability requests, so I was unable to issue a CCPA data portability request for Twitter. This directly violates CCPA, which states that businesses must, in a form that is reasonably accessible to consumers:

(1) (A) Make available to consumers two or more designated methods for submitting requests for information required to be disclosed pursuant to Sections 1798.110 and 1798.115, including, at a minimum, a toll-free telephone number. A business that operates exclusively online and has a direct relationship with a consumer from whom it collects personal information shall only be required to provide an email address for submitting requests for information required to be disclosed pursuant to Sections 1798.110 and 1798.115.

Out of all the technology companies, only Quora and YouTube have acknowledged my CCPA data portability request and furnished me with my posts. Reddit also ignored my CCPA data portability requests.

Unenforced laws are at best useless; only when they are consistently unenforced.

Selectively enforced laws guarantee unfair treatment and prevent equality under the law.

March 12, 2020, my resume was submitted to Facebook by a recruiter for a full time job at Facebook as a front end developer, a role I was highly qualified for.

Shortly after that, I received notices from Facebook:

1) Your post violates community guidelines. The post:
Age of Consent Reform

2) Your Direct Messages violate community guidelines. You are suspended from Direct Messages.


Suspending me from Direct Messages negates every marketplace deal I was involved with. Facebook says that this is to make Facebook “safe and welcoming.” How is deleting and banning me and the lying about that “safe and welcoming”? How sickeningly ironic.

Perhaps the group was reported by someone the likes of Joe Kort.

Age of Consent Reform I

In 2020, Facebook deleted a group with the same name, Age of Consent Reform, claiming an issue with “images” in the group. Facebook said an image in the group deemed it necessary to delete the entire group. The group had two images. One was a cartoon, the other, a photo of a woman wearing a bikini. Facebook would not say which of the two images compelled them to delete the entire group. 

Facebook could have deleted whichever of the two images they attributed to violating its Community Guidelines, but they instead deleted the entire group and used the “images” reason as post hoc rationale to justify deleting the group — what they wanted to do in the first place. This behavior is not unlike the police arresting a suspect and then filling in the reason later, sometimes so ironically, with a sole “resisting arrest” charge.

In 2020, I issued several CCPA data portability requests to Facebook, requesting the contents of that group.

Facebook mostly ignored me for months, occasionally giving an irrelevant response. Then, in Oct 2020, Facebook decided to acknowledge my CCPA request and refused to comply with it. They said that because something had “seriously violated” facebook’s Terms of Service, they would not fulfill the CCPA data portability request. Facebook would not say what it was that “seriously violated” the terms of use. Regardless, it doesn’t matter. CCPA data portability requests are lawfully binding. The law provides no clause that allows companies to reject CCPA data portability requests on the basis of the company’s interpretation of its own content guidelines.

Facebook claiming that my violation of their terms of use therefore does not and cannot justify their refusal to comply with the law. CCPA clearly states:

A business that receives a verifiable consumer request from a consumer to access personal information shall promptly take steps to disclose and deliver, free of charge to the consumer, the personal information required by this section.

So, months later, I created the Age of Consent Reform group again. This time, with no images that could potentially be used as to vaguely justify spurious post hoc rationalizations. I wasn’t going to give them any excuse.

As a result, and after applying to Facebook for full time, my entire group was deleted and I was banned from direct messages.

If Facebook does not consistently follow its rules, it must at least follow the law. However, if the OAG does not consistently enforce and uphold the law to provide consumer protection for CCPA data portability request denials, then the law is unenforced and therefore useless, at best. Facebook is happily aware of this and takes advantage of a government that is weak on consumer protection.

The OAG selectively enforces the law and this guarantees unfair treatment and prevents equality under the law.

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