Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook’s ‘Transparency Center’ Says Its Most Popular Page in Q4 2021 Was Removed for ‘Violating Community Standards’

Facebook today published a new version of its “Widely Viewed Content Report” in its “Transparency Center”. Ryan Broderick, in his Garbage Day newsletter, shares a notable highlight:

According to Facebook, the most widely viewed page in the US was taken down “for violating Community Standards.” And the platform won’t say what those standards are. Even more curious, the most viewed link on Facebook was from a TikTok page that doesn’t exist anymore either. And if you search the ID number of the now-deleted page, you get Google search results for a page with the same name as the now deleted TikTok account. They both belong to some kind of viral publisher called “That ain’t right”.

According to what we can see from Google’s cache, the That ain’t right page was posting an incredible amount of junk, but it was also posting a very specific kind of junk. Most of the posts, which can be seen here, are image macros that ask for some kind of engagement. Like the picture of french fries up there, which is captioned, “only pick 2.” Which would then led users to argue about their favorite french fries in the comments.

This standards-violating page has been popular for a while. Unfortunately, Facebook decided against creating permalinks to all previous reports; it requires you to download them in a big zip file, which makes it seem like either the company had no idea it would produce these reports every quarter or it is trying to bury older copies. But if you start poking around a little, you will find coverage showing that the page in question was the seventh most popular in Facebook’s Q3 2021 report. This was a massive page among U.S. Facebook audiences, yet only recently strayed over the line? I do not buy that. Someone on Reddit claimed the comments on the page were full of scammers, but I bet that is a side effect of the page’s popularity. I bet it was banned for juicing its popularity — but Facebook will not say.

There is so much junk in this report. Three of the most widely viewed links are from the sibling TikTok account to the banned page; the sixteenth most popular link was removed by Facebook, but the company will not acknowledge what it was or why it was removed. The fourteenth most popular link is apparently this YouTube channel which has, as of the time I write this, just twenty subscribers and no videos. Over thirty million users saw it. How does that make any sense?