So something strange happened on Facebook over the weekend.
Typing “Everyone will know” anywhere in Facebook – whether it was a status update, a comment, a post to a page or even on Facebook’s chat feature – resulted in an error message telling the user that the action could not be completed.
The error messages varied depending on where exactly you tried to input the sentence and what Facebook platform you were using at the time. Some errors were generic “action blocked” errors whilst some claimed the text was deemed abusive. Others claim the message violated Facebook’s terms and conditions.
Cue the endless absurd, conspiracy theories.
Was this Facebook’s attempt to limit the reach of evidence of extra-terrestrials? Or ghosts? Was this the first step of an aggressive anti-bullying campaign? Was the roof about to be lifted on the Bush administrations involvement with 9/11? Or some other type of censorship of an idea that Facebook, the CIA or the NSA didn’t want “out there”?
It may have initially sounded like a case for Mulder and Scully, however the reality is somewhat more mundane. As we predicted when first asked, it was just a [now resolved] glitch. Facebook’s filtering and anti-spam systems are rather complex, and whilst we often argue that they don’t do a good enough job at keeping Facebook spam free, they are important. And as a result of their complexity, they are likely to go wrong from time to time.
This was a mistake with our spam filter and our engineers have resolved the issue. We’re constantly updating the rules used by our spam-fighting engine, and this particular phrase erroneously got caught in the mix.
In this case this meant completely banning an otherwise innocuous three word phrase from the entire site.
So it was all just a mix-up, and soon enough, everyone will know just that. Oh and despite claims, typing the phrase into Facebook does not put your account at risk of termination.
Still though, it’s a pretty spooky phrase to get banned! What did you think happened? Did you believe the “glitch” explanation, or do you still think the reason is something a little more unnerving?