A spokesperson for Facebook told the Washington Blade on May 1 that it had restored the D.C. Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance’s Facebook page after informing GLAA on April 29 that it “unpublished” the page on grounds that GLAA violated unspecified “terms” required by the social media giant.
“The page was removed in error by our automated systems that look for impersonations,” Facebook spokesperson Crystal David told the Blade in an email. “We have now restored it and would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused,” the statement says.
GLAA member and former president Rick Rosendall said he learned that the page had been restored after GLAA Vice President for Political Affairs John Becker was able to add new content to the page. GLAA President Bobbi Strang told the Blade Facebook had not contacted GLAA to inform the group of its decision to restore the page or explain why it was blocked
Strang said Facebook informed GLAA of its decision to block the page in a short message it sent to her.
The statement read: “Unfortunately your Page, GLAA, has been unpublished because it violates Facebook Pages terms. This means that you can still see the Page, but other people won’t be able to see it and you won’t be able to add new people to help you work on your Page. If you think this is a mistake, please let us know.”
Strang said she responded by asking for a specific reason why Facebook considered the page to be in violation of Facebook’s policy. She said Facebook had not responded to her appeal by the time the page was reinstated.
Facebook spokesperson David declined to provide further details for the Blade on how Facebook’s automated systems mistakenly singled out GLAA for somehow engaging in “impersonations,” as stated in the message sent to GLAA announcing the blocking of the GLAA page.
Strang said GLAA has used its Facebook page mainly to announce upcoming events and projects. The page currently announces GLAA’s ratings of candidates running for election to the D.C. Council in the city’s June 2 primary election on LGBTQ related issues.
The Washington Post reported in an October 2018 news story that many LGBTQ organizations and companies that attempted to place ads on Facebook reaching out to the LGBTQ community had been blocked by “automated and human monitors.”
According to the story, LGBTQ groups as well as other organizations classified by Facebook as political were being subjected to greater scrutiny as part of a monitoring system that Facebook put in place following the sensational disclosure that Russian backed agents were placing Facebook ads to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Similar to Facebook’s action toward GLAA, the Post reported that Facebook unblocked most of the LGBT and other groups it initially took action against in 2018, saying the action was a mistake.