After banning the community for 500 thousand subscribers, others decided to go to the “shadow”. Users found the author of “sabotage”, and he apologized.
In the middle of May, several popular meme communities on Facebook changed their privacy settings and became secret. All this is due to concerns about getting into the ban, where the group with 500 thousand subscribers turned out to be. Users found out that one Indonesian achieved blocking, but social network algorithms did not recognize it.
The incident was called “groupocalypse”, and the management of the social network promised to restore the communities with memes deleted by mistake and block the spamming ones.
Groups with memes massively “disappeared”
On May 13, a popular closed account with Crossovers Nobody Asked For memes (“Crossovers that nobody asked for”, abbreviated CNAF), which 500,000 people subscribed to, blocked for no apparent reason. The administrators tried to create a new group, but after a day they were also banned.
Many groups with memes on Facebook are closed because such privacy settings provide administrators with more moderation options. Despite their closeness, everyone is added to such communities.
Several Facebook administrators of large groups found out that the Indonesian Reporting Commission (“Indonesian Complaints Commission”, abbreviated IReC), which allegedly conducted the spam attack, was responsible for blocking.
Facebook users took screenshots of already deleted posts, where the IReC administrators were happy with the blocking of CNAF. Among the screenshots was also a list of other groups with memes that the community planned to launch attacks on.
On Reddit , they suggested that the creator of the IReC posted porn to the group, and then complained about these posts. Others decided that he had attracted assistants. The administrator of one of the groups reported that the spammer “wrote a bot” to complain about the community and facilitate their subsequent blocking.
Although there was no information about attacks on other groups on Facebook, the rumor quickly spread throughout the social network. Then groups with memes began to change privacy settings to “secret” as a precaution. Secret groups see only current members. They can not be found through a search, and you can get there only through a personal invitation from a community moderator.
“Messages that similar pages with memes change settings caused a lot of noise. Everyone was afraid that their groups would be next, ” said one of the Facebook pages with political memes to Mashable. “It is better to be safe than sorry,” said another.
Users who subscribe to closed Facebook groups receive a notification if the community changes their privacy settings. The sudden flow of such notifications caused confusion among many subscribers of meme pages on Facebook.
Groups unblocked, spammer apologized
Soon, the administrators of the hidden groups found that the Indonesian Mohammed Salim was behind the IReC activities. They found out his address and phone number. According to Know Your Meme, Salim was found in real life and beaten, after which he deleted all accounts in social networks.
Salim admitted that he really is the leader of the spamming community. On May 16, the Indonesian group Teman-teman Bulu Burung published its official statement.
As the leader and founder of IReC, I apologize to everyone who has become our victim. I went to this to remove all the negative on Facebook, including religious offensive jokes, inaccurate information and everything else that violates the rules of the social network.
Another motive was anti-Indonesian groups, in which I found there xenophobic remarks and insulting jokes.
I deeply regret what happened. As the leader of IReC, I stop the activities of the group and take responsibility for everything that happened.
Mohammed Salim creator of the Indonesian Reporting Commission
We removed several groups after we discovered content that violates our security policy. We learned that this content was laid out in order to sabotage groups that did not break the rules. We are working to restore the work of the groups that were attacked and to prevent this from happening in the future.
After the restoration of CNAF, users filled the page with memes ridiculing the Indonesians and Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook users called the phenomenon Groupocalypse and the Great Zuccening of 2019. The verb “to zucc”, derived from the name of the head of the company Mark Zuckerberg, is used as a synonym for “block”.
In The Verge noted that group administrators were afraid of blocking, because the algorithm that allows you to complain about the content, works imperfectly. Because of this, moderation is vulnerable to spamming attacks, according to journalists. According to them, the panic among the most active communities on the platform shows how users do not believe in the company’s ability to foresee problems and prevent them in advance, and not after what happened.
Facebook is not the first time faced with problems associated with the moderation of user-generated content. In February , information about the dangers of vaccinations spread on the platform , in March a video from the live broadcast of the New Zealand terrorist attack was uploaded to the site .
In early May, at the F8 2019 Developer Conference, Facebook announced that after the site’s redesign, it will focus on communities: groups will receive new functions, and users will be advised of new friends based on shared pages.