Facebook’s community standards censorship has far-reaching consequences

Facebook censorship has effectively barred my business from their platform and is materially impacting the livelihood of my customers.

For the past decade, I’ve run an online portfolio business on the side called FolioHD. (You get a subdomain on the platform to host your portfolio, like mine at watilo.foliohd.com.)

Unfortunately I have no insight into the offending content, and the offending content can be anything from a nipple to now apparently even a MAGA hat.

Now I am personally blocked on Instagram from liking photos or sending DMs. I can’t sign into my company Instagram account. And Facebook has reached into my Page’s support inbox and removed private message between myself and customers.

How I noticed

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my personal Instagram and double-tapped a photo. Instead of seeing a red heart, I received this message.


Tapping “Tell us” simply says, “Thanks for reporting this issue.”

In my Instagram bio is a link to my personal portfolio, watilo.foliohd.com. Because of this link, I effectively became completely blocked from interacting with anyone on Instagram.


As the result of a single person sharing a link to a portfolio that Facebook deemed to have offensive content, they have now blocked the entire foliohd.com domain.

It even prevented me from sending direct messages with ANY links.


In order to restore my personal Instagram account, I’d have to remove the URL from my bio.

Using Facebook’s Sharing Debugger confirms the URL was blocked on the entire Facebook ecosystem.


Of course Facebook has a way to report this issue on their developer site, but we know where those messages go. (A giant black hole.)


But the problems don’t end there. Since Instagram has been seamlessly integrated into the Facebook ecosystem, any account containing a blocked URL on Facebook has related consequences on Instagram.

I can’t sign into the FolioHD Instagram account, because Facebook won’t send a security code by email, presumably because it has foliohd.com in the email.


But it gets worse: Visiting the FolioHD Facebook support inbox has led me to discover that Facebook is removing private messages between customers and myself, because they contain a link to foliohd.com inside of them.

I’m thankful I don’t rely on the Facebook support inbox, but I do have an auto-reply set up for anyone who sends a message there, directing them to contact support via foliohd.com.

Since Facebook is blocking links, that auto-reply no longer gets sent.

Any social posts created through a Buffer-style service, even using a bitly link, gets posted briefly, then removed, with no notice.

And the worst part: there is no way to resolve this.

Now my customers can no longer share links to their websites within the Facebook ecosystem. They had nothing to do with this, and yet their businesses are being affected.

My ask

My request to Facebook would be to reconsider how they handle sites with user-generated content, in the same way Google handles it in their index. If a subdomain contains offending content, it shouldn’t poison the root domain and every other subdomain.

And Facebook should probably never weasel their way into private company inboxes to remove content retroactively. You break the trust of any business by pulling these kind of moves. How can we rely on you for anything if your censorship is a moving target?

And if anyone knows how to get Facebook to fix this, please let me know. Short of filing a lawsuit, I’m not sure how to get this resolved.

The worst design trend of 2018: Stacked, label-less navigation

App designers are always trying to stay on-trend. The problem is that sometimes these trends tend to take design backwards from a usability perspective.

The last horrible design trend (2013)

A few years back when Apple decided to change iOS icons from filled in to outlined (in iOS 7), many believed this to be a step in the wrong direction, as outlined icons increase cognitive load.

The image and quote below are from Aubrey Johnson's analysis of the change:

Take a look at the example above. The red lines indicate areas where cognitive load is occurring. Your brain traces the shapes on the first row an average of twice as much. Your eye scans the outside shape and then scans the inner line to determine if there is value in the “hollow” section.

Forcing users to spend more time to decipher an icon is never a good thing, and unfortunately, many designers have followed this trend "because Apple did it", which is a horrible justification.

The latest horrible design trend

A free UX review for Postmates

The vast majority of the hip, cool Silicon Valley-based startups have products that work decently well.

The one outlier in this category is Postmates. I have no idea what they're doing over there, but every time I try to use it - between errors, poor UX decisions and outright bugs - the whole experience is a disaster. And this is from a company that has raised over $326 million!

So in an effort to improve the internet and not just complain, here's a free UX review for Postmates: