Fallout 76 group the Free States Militia found its group wiped from Facebook with no warning last week, after either Facebook moderation AI or a human moderator mistook it for a real militia, Kotaku reports. The group has now been reinstated, but the accidental ban speaks to Facebook’s uneven moderation efforts.
The Free States Militia’s social media may be confusing for onlookers with no knowledge of Fallout lore, but the group is for players who want to roleplay as members of Fallout’s Appalachian Free States. The group posted about their ban on Twitter, saying that the group had been removed and five of its admins had been banned from Facebook outright.
So @Facebook just banned our page and banned all admins from our Gaming group. This is what censorship in the US looks like! When @Facebook cant tell the difference from video games and real life. We just lost 2 years of lore and pictures. @DCDeacon @fchadfallout76
— FSM Playstation Video Game Club (@Free_StatesMil) October 1, 2020
“It makes no sense, especially when there are real life militia groups still up and running on Facebook,” a Free States admin told Kotaku over private message.
The group was reinstated after just a day after outcry from other members of the Fallout 76 community. “We apologize for removing the Fallout 76 Groups in error and have since restored the Group and admin accounts,” Facebook said in a statement sent to Kotaku. “We are committed to taking action against Groups tied to violence. We have both AI that detects these groups as well as 15,000 human content reviewers, but occasionally Groups are removed in error. If we detect a Group is connected to a dangerous organization, we may remove the Group and associated admin Profiles are disabled.”
Facebook hasn’t said what about the Free States Militia group that triggered it for deletion, even as the platform faces criticism for failing to get rid of actual militias peddling dangerous rhetoric on the social media platform.
The Free States Militia has now removed the word “Militia” from its account names, and is being overly cautious with its social media presences. The group’s Twitter handle now reads “FSM Playstation Video Game Club,” while the Facebook group has been rebranded as “The Original Free States (Fallout 76 Group) PS4.”
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