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After spending $57M on Facebook ads, I was kicked off (jordan-shared.medium.com)
393 points by CPLX on Jan 4, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 300 comments

Let's be fair here.

Shared.com is in the business of producing and distributing crap content. That's a subjective term, but it's like the supreme court ruling on pornography, you'll know it when you see it.

These guys most likely "skirt the line" to just operate as a mediocre and crappy content distribution network, that at scale, makes a lot of money because there is a certain subset of the population that will eat up any content at any quality level.

Facebook decided they don't want to be a part of this type of content distribution, and they made a conscious business decision to not to engage with it's owners and operators because it will simply result in an exercise of splitting hairs and a reduction to the ridiculous. They just aren't going to bring themselves down to the level... and I don't blame them.

Facebook is absolutely full to the brim with “crap content”. Crap content happens to be what drives engagement, so hosting crap content is a large part of Facebook’s business model.

You’re speaking with a pretty authoritative tone there as though you’re absolutely sure that Facebook has had a change of heart and only wants to host quality content, and there’s no other reason why the pages were removed. Do you have some sort of proof for that, or are you just speculating? If you’re speculating, don’t you think it would be a good idea to match the tone of your post to your true amount of confidence in what you’re saying, so as not to misinform people who might read your comment?

Please don't harangue another user like this. The site guidelines put it this way: "Have curious conversation; don't cross-examine."


Curious conversation requires a certain lightness of touch. You can still make your same point that way; actually it will work better that way.

He asked for proof. What part of this statement do you object to? Or is asking you this question not allowed as well because it's not curious enough?

> You’re speaking with a pretty authoritative tone there as though you’re absolutely sure that Facebook has had a change of heart and only wants to host quality content, and there’s no other reason why the pages were removed. Do you have some sort of proof for that, or are you just speculating?

What is objectionable about that post? The OP said "Facebook decided they don't want to be a part of this type of content distribution" as if they were privy to some business decision that was not public knowledge. The reply simply asked them to substantiate it. I do not see any hostility in it.

To me the second paragraph reads like a classic internet cross-examination, barraging someone with questions in order to back them into admitting some misdeed. I can see how it could be read otherwise.

I can see how it could be read otherwise

Isn’t in the HN guidelines to “respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize”?

Sorry but I'm with _vertigo on this one. Maybe it could have been slightly more tactfully worded but I would not classify this a 'haranguing' and _vertigo makes a very salient point. There is no shortage of questionable material and businesses that are allowed to be monetized and advertise on Facebook. It seems that this particular company may have become too high profile and is being punished not for violating Facebook's vague terms of service but for the risk of bringing light to it and unwanted scrutiny.

Hilariously, I found myself wanting to downvote dang for criticizing this thoughtful cross examination. And more hilariously, I had upvoted both the parent comment and its grand parent.


It's obviously a judgment call but I don't think the GP comment was super pejorative. It was fulminating a bit (also against the guidelines), but not so much that we would post a moderation scolding. The issue with the comment I replied to is that it crossed into a personal harangue. That tends to degrade discussion much faster—note how with https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25634048 the thread is already headed down the drain.

Who are you dang?

Are you an official representative of HN? Because it appears that the vast majority of your comments are nothing but comments about other people's comments, or directives to follow guidelines.

Frankly, it seems more positive for the community to vote with their feet on comments and posts vs one individual continuously navigating through posts and threads telling people how to behave.

I'm serious about the first question...

> Are you an official representative of HN?

Yes, he is. See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25225775

hahahaha, if you've been on HN long enough, you'll see that dang is a selfless mod that does a damn good job and keeping HN pure as possible.

He is the senate.

You’ve been on HN since 2009, surely you know who dang is.

Dang keeps HN civilized. As readers we are in his debt.

Yes, I'm a moderator here. Sorry about all those scoldings and chidings. I know they're annoying, and if it helps at all, they're even more tedious to write than to read [1]. But unfortunately the system can't regulate itself without feedback from some dedicated component—this is very clear. If we went by upvotes alone, the site would be dominated by indignation and sensationalism [2] and other failure modes for HN.

It's interesting to ask why. I thought about that for years and I think I found an answer. It's because although the community has many smart and well-intentioned people, each is giving only a fragment of their attention to HN (at least I hope they are). Some critical functions, like optimizing the site globally rather than just reacting to specific stories or comments, require someone whose job it is to give full attention to HN [3]. It's not that we're better—except in the sense that one gets better at anything with practice—it's that we play the role of looking out for the community as a whole.

Actually the system has three components: community, moderation, but also software. That's interesting too, because it has always been a property of HN that the core moderators were also the programmers. We rely heavily on software to help manage the portions of the problem that can be handled that way, with the intention of freeing more of our attention for the optimization problem. It only works up to a point, but without it we'd be doomed.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so...

[2] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so...

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22863209

Re: "... each is giving only a fragment of their attention to HN"

Yet even based on this "you" think downvotes are a good idea to keep them, compounding the issue of partial attention with laziness by allowing a single click for a dopamine hit to satisfy someone's half-or-less attention interpretation of something - not required to spend the mental effort to actually qualitatively reply (that you/HN are seeming to strive for) where they'd be forced to pay more attention or their lack of attention will be exposed for fair ridicule via getting responded to; or the qualitative reply will help educate or cause the author being responded to hopefully learn something (that a downvote won't teach them) even if that is that they weren't clear enough with their writing and it's being misinterpreted. I'd implore you to do a multi-month to year trial of no downvotes on comments - I'm sure it'll piss off those who like to think they're right at half-or-less attention and regularly downvote click for that sweet sweet dopamine - and ironically those who normally downvote may actually comment their grievances/complain that there aren't downvotes.

I'm not trying to pick a fight, though I'm really curious how you see these truths I explained above? Having downvotes seems to support a lower quality, less discussion, and less requirement for attention - which seems contrary to what you seem to be working towards?

Please don't delete your comment since this is a great reminder for all of us, but yeah, dang is an active HN mod.

I read the earlier comment as making aggressive, common-sense inteferences from 'facts' sprinkled through the original posting-- FB ended direct engagement with shared.com a long time ago, the shared.com ads were placed through 3d party contractors (maybe this is less exceptional than it sounds) and the OP says the reason he's sure FB was ok with the whole thing was shared.com's transparency about its business model ... which sounds like an admission it's low quality, that FB initiated communications about quality in the past, and that the OP was aware the shared.com content had implications for FB business standards. Those might be incorrect inferences, but they seem fair from the OP's marketing release.

An alternate hypothesis is that most of the spend referenced by OP is ancient and relevant only for old-time sake. Again. OP didn't say that exactly, but it's a fair thing to question based on how the OP wrote the posting and selected the relevant time period.

I would go so far as to say that "crap content" is Facebook's entire business model.

Hey now, my friends dogs and kids are very interesting! Or were when they used to go outside...

If they could, they would eliminate dog/kid photos entirely because they don't make money off that stuff. They just show you enough of your friends dogs and kids to keep you around to view the profit generating crap.

> They just show you enough of your friends dogs and kids to keep you around to view the profit generating crap.

This was the realization that finally tipped me over into getting off Facebook.

I realized that every time I was posting pictures of my life to share with my friends, I was providing the bait that drew them in and forced them to watch ads and other drivel.

It works because many FB users (probably the vast majority) don't fact-check anything. I've lost count of the number of times I did and found it to be untrue.

> If they could, they would eliminate dog/kid photos entirely because they don't make money off that stuff. They just show you enough of your friends dogs and kids to keep you around to view the profit generating crap.

Therefore it makes them money.

In the sense that bait on a hook fills a fish's belly.

No, in the sense that bait on a hook fills the fisherman's belly.

> don’t you think it would be a good idea to match the tone of your post to your true amount of confidence in what you’re saying, so as not to misinform people who might read your comment?

IMO, this should be part of the HN guidelines. HN would certainly be a better place if everyone followed this rule.

I stand by what I posted. I'm allowed to be authoritative as I want in my opinions and what I deem to be a personal analysis of what is a subjective issue. If you aren't in agreement with my assertions, you are free to click the down arrow to the left of the post.

Please don't respond with this sort of indignation even when the feeling is justified. It takes the discussion way off topic and encourages worse from others.

Absolutely. I just mentally add “in my opinion” to everything I read and its liberating; I think way few people do it. More people should see the good wife.

People (myself included) read these comments like a debugger — “How can that be?! I triple checked my ‘brain base’... that’s wrong, must fix”

Although I usually ignore responses like in the GP, I like what you wrote here. It implicitly names the unfair rhetorical attack (effectively the kind of strawman that treats you as if you spoke authoritatively, when you were clearly giving your opinion). But yeah, with the right audience you don't have to respond at all, we'll know wassup.

But he did speak authoritatively, "Facebook decided..."

Facebook didn't decide anything as far as we know, he's presenting his opinions as facts, they aren't.

You're allowed to be anything you want. It's a free country. But 2c worth of advice - representing speculative things as high-confidence erodes your credibility. Unless you have some insight or information that everyone else here doesn't, you're really just full of it.

"Facebook decided they don't want to be a part of this type of content distribution" - That is not stated as an implied opinion, it is stated as a fact with absolutely nothing to back it up. Certainly Facebook is just as filled with this kind of low-quality content today as it was yesterday or three months ago. There is just nothing to support your speculation that this is part of some movement by Facebook to improve quality of content.

> representing speculative things as high-confidence erodes your credibility

I wish you were right, but I actually think most of the time the exact opposite is true: appearing highly-confident about speculative things makes someone seem more credible, rather than less.

Right up until something you say gets proven to be wrong.

The higher confidence you presented your wrong statement, the higher the hit to your credibility will be.

I very much want this to be true but it seems you’ll do fine if you can confidently spew off another explanation.


You could become the leader of the free world, even.

I thought the down arrow was supposed to be used to indicate that a post is of low quality or that it doesn't conform to guidelines, not to express disagreement; and that disagreement was meant to be expressed by posting arguments

It seems more common these days to use it on HN to express disagreement. That wasn't the case years ago.

I suspect it has to do with the reddit / youtube generation becoming adults. Polite disagreement seems to be on the way out.

That theory makes sense, though it's unfortunate, IMHO. Personally, I'd prefer for comments to rank higher based on quality (irrespective of which way they lean) than hivemind inclinations. Seek well-roundedness and all that.

If I suspect something is flamebait (ie, responses are not discussion I think belongs on HN as it's redundant/religious/reactive) and the content's value doesn't exceed that flamebait characteristic, I'll downvote.

ie, I downvote things that I feel have an aggregate S/N degradation multiplier.

I kinda miss /.'s moderation qualifiers.

With all due respect, as someone who has been participating in online communities since the days of FidoNet, I don't think people have really changed. There's just more people, which itself drives up the opportunity for disagreement.

And some of the most disagreeable people on my social media are old farts, too :)

Polite disagreement will often result in downvotes for oneself though. I think this is the problem?

Everyone votes by their own rules. There's no official guidelines on how to use the voting buttons.

Your comment inspired me to submit https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25636267

That's not actually what the down arrow is for.

Citation please.

> Downvoting should not be used for simple disagreement.

Used to be part of the guidelines. Seems as though they've removed it.

You are misinforming the HN audience by making it sound like you know why FB took their action. In a way you are distributing crap content here.

That’s not what the down arrow is for. This is what I’m getting at.

Instead of treating the comment section as a dumping ground for your purely speculative opinions masquerading as authoritative takes, and pushing the burden of nuance onto readers by asking them to downvote if they disagree, I think one should clearly state their opinions in an intellectually honest way. Then there is no need for downvoting if others disagree.

> Shared.com is in the business of producing and distributing crap content. ...

> They just aren't going to bring themselves down to the level... and I don't blame them.

Without being familiar with Shared, I'm willing to take you at your word on the company. I do question your conclusion though. I've seen no indications that Facebook has any standards and if anything they seem to promote crap content not bury it. If it drives engagement and doesn't bring legal trouble to their doorstep, Facebook seems to be all over it.

Which makes me think there is something else going on here.

There's a difference between "crap content" shared by users on the platform, and crap content promoted via ads.

The difference is primarily the fact that the crap content promoted by ads pays Facebook's bills.

The natural conclusion being that they're sacrificing money for some higher purpose, surely a praiseworthy act.

Exactly. Number of crappy Chinese comedy videos with millions of reacts is astounding.

I run a consulting company and if I decided to stop working for a client the right thing would be to give some explanation even if it's "We don't think your website meets our quality bar".

Almost 80% of the ads I see on Facebook are of similar quality. If they're trying to reduce low quality content on their platform, than they should just say that.

Why open yourself up to a lawsuit though? If you say something that can't be solidly proven now you have to deal with lawyers

Because it's the right thing to do and I doubt it really has much influence on liability unless you say something like "we're not working with you because you're a black woman".

I watched a documentary called “Suits” a while back about a corporate legal firm and that convinced me that you are wrong. Those well dressed professionals will use anything you say against you in the court of law!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1632701/ is a documentary?

I am afraid you failed to read the fine print ;) I think the average legalese boilerplate is along the following lines: All characters and events depicted in this film are entirely fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

You're replying to obvious sarcasm.

Poe's Law


All "episodes of Galaxy Quest are true historical documentaries".


Because of the scale at which Facebook operates, and the various antitrust etc investigations constantly surrounding it, they probably have every reason to be circumspect in such cases. As much as I am personally in favor of transparency, I can understand why Facebook thinks it's not in their best interest to communicate any reasons for severing business relationships. Anything they say can and will be used against them, and pretty much nothing they say will benefit them.

Typically consultancy companies declining work will give a reason that maintains the relationship, which often isn’t the real reason.

If you hate the people, that’s not the reason you tell them. You tell them you don’t have sufficient resource to provide the level of support you would want to put on the project, or that you don’t feel you can be price/quality competitive because of some factor and don’t think you are a good fit compared to your competitors.

I would never tell a client that their website “doesn’t meet our quality bar” - that’s basically saying “we are too good for you” and I would personally think it’s incredibly condescending - just look at Berkshire Hathaways website!

From the article, Shared.com and its subbrands already didn't have a relationship with Facebook, they had a relationship with "third-party contractors." They already had stopped working for them.

Wow, you were right about crap content. I'd never heard of shared.com, but the articles on that site are complete garbage. I really don't understand how that sort of thing can generate enough money to spend millions of dollars on ads.

Obviously anecdotal but from my experience of having done a bit of tech support for many friends and family members, this kind of content is extremely popular. By this kind of content, I mean what I consider low-effort memes, jokes and gifs surrounded with copious amounts of ads. Many if not most users seem to be ok with it.

The shared.com content seems to be harmless fluff. Unless there's something underhanded going on here, I am inclined to admire their ability to turn manure into gold.

Yeah, but it's so bleak.

10 years ago, that kind of site was called a "content farm". I don't hear that term used much lately. Google spent a lot of effort peeling dreck like that off of their search results with limited success. Facebook, it seems, has had use for them until recently.

The OP/CEO seems comes off as utterly delusional when he says... > "Until recently, we had more than 25 million enthusiastic fans on 11 pages."

Yeah, right, "enthusiastic" if he really means getting them to click on stuff by exploiting subconscious glitches in the human basal ganglia overriding cognition.

Facebook + Shared.com must have been good while it lasted, at their users' expense, but f them both.

I grew up reading the Iliad under the covers in bed and share your pain. I still read the fluff, though. All work and no play... ;)

This is very common content marketing content. These articles are not intended to educate the reader, they're written to get high search rankings, and high click throughs.

So is the business that I buy an ad on Facebook, someone clicks on it, I then show them a bunch of ads, and I get paid enough for those ads to recoup the money I spent on my Facebook ad, and then some?

Kind of genius, in a way.

I always wondered who's actually making the money, when so many ads inside free mobile games are for other free mobile games. Someone has to actually buy something at some point!

I wish there was a global tracker for services that make money through ads, that reported the percent of ads that are for other services in the same category. All that data is secret though, probably.

I don’t actually know. And I was about to joke, but on second thought bet it is actually true, that at the end of the chain, all the money is in actually selling ED pills, hair-loss treatments, and porn.

Or just blatant click fraud.

Ye I believe so. They have like a picture of Britney Spear and an drug addict with the text "You can't believe how the celebtrity looks now" but no Britney if you click the article. I have seen it on Forbes looking over a shoulder without adblock.

I guess they do click scams via bots too?

Sounds like an application of Sturgeon's law fits, here.

arbitration. Spend less on FB ads than what you earn shoving ads into the users browser. That's the real thing here, FB knows they can get crap content and earn more than 54 million lost in advertising it to 3rd party.

I was with you until this statement:

> Facebook decided they don't want to be a part of this type of content distribution

Facebook's entire business model is built around the proliferation of "crap" content.

You are right about content. But in that case FB should have clearly communicated about violations for those pages and given a chance to correct them.

Also taking down personal accounts seems more like an automated action where a graph of related accounts are taken down.

It's not even about violations (which there may not have been), just some kind of explanation. "Hey we don't want to be involved in this kind of content, we're making a judgment call to disallow it."

With regards to this, my point was that Facebook doesn't want to get into a long drawn out discussion with whataboutisms and splitting hairs on policy.

They made a business decision to move on from this content platform. I love to hate on facebook with the best of them, but they really don't "owe" anyone anything.

There seems to be this pervasive attitude in technology circles that platforms "owe" other businesses and individuals something when they build businesses on top of said platforms. Just because you spent 54MM in ads on a platform doesn't entitle you to anything when a legal or business decision has to be made. Is it crappy not to communicate and give an explanation...? you bet it is. Did that 54MM in spend generate anything for Shared... you bet it did. Everyone was a winner until Facebook moved on.

I suspect that Facebook and Shared working to negotiate out of this will just result in a lot of spinning wheels, ammunition collection on both sides to pursue legal remedies, and nothing of real value changing. Facebook said we're moving on. Done.

Okay there are two separate issues here:

1) I think it's very unhelpful to speak in terms of "not owing things" to people and defending anyone whoever does the absolute minimum until they're dragged kicking and screaming to extend the most basic courtesy. Part of being a decent human being is extending such basic courtesies to others even when there's no legal obligation to do so, and, when an org doesn't do that, it's absolutely right to call them out on it.

2) If you're right, that this only came after extensive negotiation in which FB did reveal their objections, then yes, it's fair to call the advertiser out on that, for misrepresenting what explanation FB gave him.

Edit: Also,

>With regards to this, my point was that Facebook doesn't want to get into a long drawn out discussion with whataboutisms and splitting hairs on policy.

That's not relevant, because FB can recognize when they're making a judgment call; my point was just that it's courteous to at least recognize when you're doing so.

In what kind of Lalaland is 50 million nothing?

I guess parent comment is comparing facebook's quarterly revenue (~20 Billion) from ad sales, 50 million would be a fraction of a percent of 1 quarter of ad revenue I would imagine for a company like Facebook.

In the context of advertising, I read "57M" as $57,000. They would normally write 57MM if they meant $57 million, wouldn't they?

> In the context of advertising, I read "57M" as $57,000.

?? I would expect to see $57,000 abbreviated as $57K.

That's now how they roll in that business. CPM for instance = cost per thousand.

Maybe they all studied Latin or learned Roman numerals?

Yep, the 'M' means 'mille' as I understand it. 'MM' is 'mille mille', or 'thousand thousand.'

Do you mean like the Roman "M" for thousand and "MM" for million? That is mixing Arabic numerals with Roman numerals.

MM to denote millions is reasonably common in some fields: https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/ot...

If it was Facebook's policy to remove what hackernews determines to be "crap content" then this should be communicated to the users so that they can adjust their behavior. They did not change their policies nor was the account flagged as being outside the TOS.

Well let’s be fair here.

They made that conscious decision after running away with the money.

After the first few mil wouldn’t you understand your partner a little better?

At 57 it’s a rocky divorce and you know full well who you were sleeping with.

To be fair, it's a business transaction. I can sell you $50 million widgets, and decide to not sell you any more for (almost) any reason.

Depends on the product and your reason for refusing to sell to a particular customer/group who is not against your TOS. This is not like there was a contract and you decide not to extend. It sounds more like "I dont sell to gays anymore and I don't have to explain myself to you". Not cool. Especially if you rely on that product for your business. Even if your business is something like Shared.com.

Yeah but this is not really the same. You spend money on advertising to build up your brand, your followers are your capital. Facebook took money for ads, that did indeed build up the follower capital, but then suddenly they didn't just stop accepting ads (which would have been fine), they destroyed the capital by removing their page.

At least that's how I understand what happened.

Divorces often happen when one parties standards change.

> Shared.com is in the business of producing and distributing crap content.

Isn't that essentially FB's goal too? Albeit crap content that hits your brain's pleasure center

Ok, but if an advertiser spends $57M across many years generating likes on the platform and doesn't change its business practices materially across that timespan, it seems like they might be entitled to a refund when the pages are shut down.

Why? They paid for a service and received it.

If your ISP decides to pull out of your area and sends you a notice that your account will be closed at the end of the month, would you expect to be reimbursed for the years of service you paid for?

How can you know Facebook decided anything? It could just as easily been an algorithmic error.

Algorithms don’t close 57 Million dollar advertising accounts without some oversight.

Not even “move fast and break things” evolved algorithms?

(I suspect you are right though, and this is more likely to be a “hot or not” type arbitrary decision from a management team developed around superficial face value judgements and zero empathy... Apple ended up with a “Jobs culture”, Facebook reflects Zuckerberg...)

That is pure speculation. Algorithms are all completely individual and a catch all term for basically anything done in software automatically. Whether the algorithm factors in advertising dollars or not is a complete unknown.

"Facebook decided they don't want to be a part of this type of content distribution"

I still see lots of these types of ads on Facebook, just from different publishers. Are they broadly going after it?

At first glance, Facebook's content is a way crappier. Did you check "Recommended videos" section recently?

There's a lot not to like about Facebook and Uber, but they both replace systems that were much less reputable (i.e. ad networks that delivered all manner of deceptive and malicious ads, or taxi operators that were low quality and dangerous).

> Facebook decided they don't want to be a part of this type of content distribution

Isn't that a slippery slope? In my country, Facebook decided not to ban some right-wing posters for hate speech because the right-wing in power had managed to get one of their OWN into Facebook, who "advised" Facebook that fighting hate-speech from such people would adversely affect Facebook operation in India as the government in power won't be happy about it. This person also got Facebook to take down opposition ads during the elections, thus harming their electoral prospects.

Source: Facebook and Narendra Modi: How FB’s policy head in India allowed a BJP politician to spread hate online so that it would not hurt its “business prospects” - https://churumuri.blog/2020/08/15/facebook-and-narendra-modi...

There are lots of crap game ad, crap video ad, and crap fan page ad. I would be glad if fb banned them all, especially crap mobile game ad.

>Your Page has been unpublished

They even give them a reason. How is:

>they kicked me and my pages off without warning or explanation


What reason are you talking about?

The only message that I can find which might qualify is, *“Due to repeated Page violations, you can’t post to any Pages eligible for monetization.”

That doesn't explain what the violations might have been. And in the dashboard where they were supposed to see said violations, no pages were marked as having any violations.

Which boils down to, "Due to repeated violations that we won't tell you about..."

Yeah, in their position I wouldn't consider that an explanation either.

They explicitly said they will not provide any reasons, for "security reasons".

> Facebook decided ...

How do you know that?

You answer gives me vibes of the recent spat of apologetic answers to the news of Apple banning the "Amphetamine" app in that you defend a behemoth banning something or someone on vague grounds - a discussion on this type of Stockholm syndrome can be found here [1]. My response on to how to handle the shenanigans of these corporate megaliths - by shunning them [2] - was voted down so I have to assume that this is not seen as a viable option either. Is the general opinion here really that we are to simply give in to the whims of these companies? The argument here is that shared.com distributes "mediocre and crappy content". If that is the bar by which companies are to be measured Facebook itself would never be able to meet it.

I sense a need for a new Ralph Nader, someone who has the clout to take on these companies and put them in their place. That place is not in the halls of power, it is not at the dining table of lawmakers, in the ear of regulators. Their place is on the market where they are to compete with other companies, where developers and users use their power of choice to keep them from attaining too much power as they currently clearly have.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25618066

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25606807

> Is the general opinion here really that we are to simply give in to the whims of these companies?

Ans: I can't pay for the $2M house I bought in Noe Valley on a normal salary.

That is just a matter of priorities. That $2M house in Noe Valley is a $500K house elsewhere as many ex-Californians have already found out. Yes, that'd imply moving elsewhere which creates another stack of priorities to sort out, some of which actually would point towards moving as well - where do you want your potential or actual children to grow up, etc. Still, sometimes there is a need to give up some temporary comfort to preserve a longer-term comfort.

> Shared.com is in the business of producing and distributing crap content.

They must have pissed off Zuck some other way because I don't think that he cares about that.

And who are Facebook to decide what is crap? Since they claim to be somewhat of a public utility surely everyone within the bounds of the law should be able to post what they want.

Facebook are, of course, not a publisher, yet they are now the editor?

Sounds to me they are whatever they want to be, depending on the audience.

> Facebook has systematically shut down our 2 small businesses during a pandemic and economic crisis without explanation.

If you've spent $57MM on Facebook ads, are you still considered a "small business"? Perhaps I'm out of touch. I think the warning about building your business on someone else's land still applies but I'm not sure how you get around that when so much of the world's attention is controlled by a few truly giant companies.

The US Government, specifically the SBA, defines a small business as any business with fewer than 1,500 employees and less than $38.5 million in average annual receipts.

I was surprised by this definition too.

That sounds a bit strange, I would count any business with more than employees to be "medium" and 1000 to be large. Think of coffee shops: 1500 people allows you to have a network across multiple cities.

But w.r.t. the amounts of money, they spent $57MM over 15 years, so it's $4MM/y using very rough math.

Upd: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards... says on p. 29 that it's less than $27.5MM or 1000 people, so you are right, it's quite a high bar.

Upd2: EU caps small businesses at 50 people and medium at 250, which sounds much more reasonable to me https://www.ucl.ac.uk/procurement/suppliers/smes#:~:text=Def....

Hunh, I would have thought it would be "or". I'm surprised as well!

I think that it could be considered a small business, but on the upper side probably. Their ads are the supplies they use to make their product. It works out to 4 million a year, although I doubt they were spending anywhere near that much starting off (which is why I think they could be past the point of the public's perception of a small business).

It would be like looking at how much a small business fabricator spent on metal and other supplies. That number is going to be larger than what they actually bring in as profit. If ads aren't your supplies then it would absolutely be an indication of being a large business if you spent $57 million on marketing.

The term was probably used to garner sympathy. "We, poor, small business owners, in the process of extracting the last bit of your muddled brain's attention, ..."

But I'm sure they wouldn't have spent $57M if they hadn't extracted more than that from other advertising parties.

Are we really going to be willfully ignorant of the fact that it's $57m CAD over 15 years? That's $3.8m CAD per year. Come on now. Let's not try to exaggerate the numbers here.

I also don't see how shared.com is any different than buzzfeed.com. Is the deciding factor the number of things listed in an article? Like whether the list is of 8 things or of 38 things? What's the difference between those two sites?

> If you've spent $57MM on Facebook ads, are you still considered a "small business"?

My thoughts exactly. Not necessarily agreeing with FB's act here, but this post and the way they connect their issue to a hot topic these days (small businesses) seems hypocritical and an attempt to make people sympathize with them. That's not what's happening here. They should instead talk about the entirety of their business (all their pages, not just a handful) and then claim it is a small business.

> I think the warning about building your business on someone else's land

There aren't really any businesses which have sovereign territory

Funnily enough, I worked for a company that sold software to casinos, many of which very much exist on sovereign tribal land, where they're often the single major business entity.

It led to some quirkiness: we had to disavow ourselves of almost all cloud services. They wanted all the software and data on-prem because they didn't want anything on U.S. soil.

That's an interesting position (and I'm not disputing it) but if you were a business that has sovereign territory, you still need utilities (Internet).

Penn State has its own data-centers, is part of the Internet2 consortium and has dedicated fiber to both AWS and Azure but you're still ultimately reliant on those you're leasing the connections from - even if you own the fiber, you're probably leasing the right-of-way/poles/etc.

So ... how do we build an Internet that's fully inter-connected but can withstand actions by the few relatively large carriers? Thinking about it a bit more, isn't the effect of having a few large network providers analogous to the issue with BitCoin having a few large mining operations in effective control of the ecosystem?

Carrier's ability to influence has everything to do with their duopoloy on the last mile to the eyeballs.

If you're in the position to lease a connection to an internet exchange, you've got tons of options for transit from there. And leasing fiber is generally a matter of location and cost, not content; I don't know if it's strictly common carrier, but it might be.

Satellite fleets?

Which could theoretically be done today but then you'd be a tenant of Musk. I really think the idea of mesh networks is great for neighborhoods but can it be extended to a global-scale network (well ... continent scale until there's a personal communication mechanism that will cross oceans)?

EDIT: This was posted on today's "Who is hiring?" thread - not really p2p Internet but ... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25633106

You can theoretically run a very low bandwidth set of links over any radio technology, including HF which will give you that long range connectivity.

Problem is, people expect streaming video on their smartphones. You can't do that over low bandwidth over the horizon links.

Continent scale? Depends on the continent. No way to do that in the Americas, there's just too much open space. You could do it in many cities I do think.

I imagine there are no upper bounds to the growth of satellite communication capabilities other than physical limits. Extrapolating a few decades at current growth rates out the network be enormous.

Well, at least not currently. The East India Company didn't worry about building their business on other people's land. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_rule_in_India

There are a couple authoritarian states that have fully-owned state enterprises that people might also argue are one-in-the-same.

> There aren't really any businesses which have sovereign territory



On a single someone else's land then?

Going multi-platform from the start is probably not the way to go as you are adding complication before you have the basics rounded out, but once you are spending that much on advertising you presumably have a sizable turn-over and should have long ago looked at diversifying to deal with situations like this which (even if temporary) could kill the business model.

Of course if FB is truly the only game in town for your target audience, you have a problem there...

You don't have to be sovereign to own land. I own land.

Aren’t countries a business?

I don't think that is $57MM in one year. I think that is over the lifetime of the business.

Another sign that several FAANGs exist as a monopoly. When you're so big that you can provide effectively no customer service to a customer spending in the 10s of millions (and they have no competitor they can go to afterwards) there's a problem.

I agree with you. When the issue of Apple's anti-competitive behaviour comes up on HN, it is always rebuffed by saying Apple does not have a monopoly—its US share of smartphone market is merely 40%. This is demonstration that you don't need a 100% market share to act anti-competitively. Facebook and Google each have less than 30% market share in ad spend in the US.

The fact that 30% app store tax exists and both stores (App Store by Apple and Google Play Store) have somewhat similar strategies highly indicate collusion going on. Apple only changed it for people making under $1m a year after people got mad and they got sued by Epic Games or they knew Epic Games was coming for their asses. But they know that majority of their revenue comes from pubs making over $1m a year which they still tax at 30%.

Then the fact that they hold Safari backwards to cripple the adoption of PWA's (Modern Web Apps). They don't allow real competitors to Safari either. The competitors that exist like Chrome or Firefox are just Safari under the hood on iOS.

iOS and Apple have single handedly crippled the innovation on mobile web. Safari is the modern Internet Explorer but Apple forcing people to use it directly or indirectly and not allowing real competition on iOS.

This is straight up anti trust material and they should face scrutiny for it. Sleepy lawmakers should wake up.

Not only does it harm American businesses, but also businesses across the world.

Even if Apple shouldn't be subject to an anti-trust suit, I think the whole industry should be regulated to counter how Apple goes about it's business - if Google could get away with acting like Apple does to it's customers they probably would, Microsoft would also love to but they've been bitten before.

Basic legislation guaranteeing certain freedoms for the consumers costs Apple and Google et al. nothing but massively empowers consumers in a sector where information about the products is largely controlled by the creators of said products.

This also prevents products becoming e-waste when the company is done supporting them.

Perhaps you would also consider book publishers as colluding since they too have a "tax" to publish books.

Even with ePubs book publishers are likely to take 50—75%. Print books the publishers still take 85% and higher.

Now that is a tax. But I would not call it collusion.

There was distribution that costed precisely $0 in middle man fees. Software downloaded from the web (if you already have the audience, the distribution costs are marginal on the web).

Then Apple decided to cut it out. And also cripple web apps so they can't even be alternatives properly. Can you build a Mail app on the web? No. Apple didn't add the required features to Safari that developers could build on top of. And Chrome/Firefox/Edge did add them and they work. However on iOS, Apple does not allow them, instead they're forced to use Safari under the hood with Chrome/Google branding sprinkled on top.

Tell me how much publishers pay to distribute on Windows from their websites? Or the WebApps that don't need to be installed? Apple provides little value as a middle man.

The just wanted to be parasite middlemen and they don't deserve to be. They're the mafia.

Go for them under anti-competition clauses. And if there is indication that they have colluded, start trust busting on both. Google is already not trustworthy. They colluded with Facebook already. And Apple colluded to lower wages with other tech companies.

It is entirely reasonable to think that this is anti-competitive and hinders innovation.

The reason the 30% exists isn’t collusion, it’s what both thought they needed to charge to make money on 99 cent purchases given how high transaction costs were.

Even today, it’s likely they don’t make much on those 99 cent purchases, last I looked transaction costs were probably over 10%.

To be fair - I'm more concerned about things like buying companies so that they have exclusive access to various technologies thereby denying other companies the ability to use them, e.g. the sensor used in the Kinect.

Sadly, only 40% when your opposition is fragmented and frankly a crap interface.

There are many things I like about Android, but most of them are philosophical.

I find navigating it atrocious and I have spent quite a bit time reverse engineering some applications.

Again, this is the competitor to apple? How much does each market capture. I suspect apple is doing much better here.

I think in USA, it's 60/40 in favor of Apple. Globally, 70/30 in favor of Android https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/worldwide

When Apple rejects your App you receive an explanation and even screenshots and a call from the reviewer with suggestions how to fix it.

Except sometimes Apple rejects your app such that you can't do anything to fix it. They straight up tell you that your whole concept isn't allowed to exist on the app store. I think I've seen a couple of stories about this a while ago. Or if there's any semblance of UGC, you're supposed to have a moderation team that would enforce Apple's ridiculous policies. Oh you're an individual and don't intend to turn that into a company? Tough luck, sorry.

They do? I was under the impression that they don't.

I specifically remember submitting an app, and getting denied. The response we got was relatively vague, saying it was breaking ToS. No screenshots, no call or anything of the sort.

This was the first submission though.

They do, Previously I wrote a few things about my experience with Apple. Rejection is manageable when you deal with people since you can actually reason with, unlike algorithms.

Here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25137475

I can at least get Apple on the phone. Sometimes I can’t even get an actual human to email me back from Google.

I’m curious why the author didn’t take this to court?

Perhaps it can evolve into a class action lawsuit. That would teach FB and other FAANGs.

The author is fully dependent from FB. He cannot bite the hand that feeds him. I think it’s a smart move to reach the front page of HN before taking this to court.

If he’s been kicked off their network, does he have anything to lose by biting the hand that used to feed him?

I think the idea is that they might be more likely to reverse the discussion in response to a forum discussion than to being served legal papers.

The cost of lawyers is >0 and the chance of winning is 0. Better to take whatever cash you have and walk away than sue.

Whining at the right people has a nonzero chance of getting him back on Facebook.

Lawyering up has zero chance.

To court... for what? Choosing not to do business with the author? That's not illegal. That doesn't become illegal just because they've done quite a bit of business in the past.

Facebook and google are not the only places to advertise.

Please enlighten us. Porn networks do not count.

I haven't spent a dime on online ads, but if it were my problem, I'd go though the top Alexa websites and see if they accept money for ads.

The days of that kind of thing are over. Everyone does placements using ad networks.

Best you'll manage along those lines is approaching celebrities and youtube/insta stars and getting them to endorse your product.

This is typically what companies spending 57m on ads do. Its less expensive per click/impression as fb/Google don't take a cut. More expensive to manage.

what do you have in mind other than Facebook and Google as online advertising (actually any advertising) that has the same reach?

believe it or not, advertising existed before 2010.

Believe it or not, people used to physically borrow movies from shops and return them 2 days later!!! That doesn't mean that I can still walk to my newsagents and borrow a copy of Pulp Fiction on VHS.

Things change, and Facebook and Google are now the big players in online advertising, accounting for a large majority of the ad market. Other platforms exist, of course, but by cutting out Google Ads and Facebook you're going to be targetting a very different user base and are cutting out a significant share of the market.

Online Facebook + Google take something like 50% of all ad revenue. Since the product being advertised is a website, offline advertising is probably a lot less effective than online.

It did, and it still does. The biggest difference is that now, FB and Google and a few others have a scope that is an order of magnitude larger than all other advertisers combined. They've gained almost total market control over advertising, hence the word monopoly.

and then there was a massive revolution in the way that people consumed content, and now FB and Google account for the vast majority of advertising consumption (not spending: consumption)

Sorta. Where else would you advertise if you’re specifically trying to reach people who are doing web searches for your product category?

To be fair, ads on Facebook aren't generally appearing in response to searches. But there are plenty of high value lower traffic options, such as specialized blogs and newsletters that have audiences fitting your target market - you have to work to find and work with them but at a certain scale it makes sense (at "I have $57m to spend on ads" scale, potentially not).

Looking at shared.com content - If I was forced to guess what might justify this apart from an FB screw up, is that while no single post breaks FB rules. The quantity that they are posting now breaks a new FB policy and that shared.com is seen as producing huge quantities of low quality, click bait content that FB see as 'polluting` their platform, leeching away users/ad viewers.

That is just a guess.

I'm with others who point out that FB is already a dumpster fire of junk, so jettisoning low-quality clickbait isn't on their agenda.

What I do think is on FB's agenda is producing and profiting off of low-quality clickbait directly. Thus, someone at FB could have decided the OP's business is competing with them. Even if you don't agree that FB is all about low-quality clickbait right now, it shouldn't shock anyone that FB might decide to get into that market and take steps to squash a potential competitor.

Who pays money to show ads on shared.com? At first glance it looks like generic adsense, probably opted in to any available ad exchanges.

So presumably facebook is miffed that it pays better to take eyeballs away from their feed and point them at google ads.

It does make one wonder why FB doesn't stick adsense on the feed or increase the price of their ads; clearly there's plenty of room for arbitrage.

> The quantity that they are posting now breaks a new FB policy

Could you tell me more about that? What new policy?

The policy I guess at in the rest of that sentence immediately after the words you quote.

Oh, you were guessing. I thought there was a new rule against high volume content sharing and as a page manager that got me scared because it would have flown over my head without me noticing.

I've become increasingly more skeptical when I read those stories.

Let me be clear, I absolutely despise Facebook, but as I understand it, they are massively under fire from all sorts of governments over moderating the content which is posted on their platforms. There is a chance that this business knew they were doing something borderline dodgy in a grey area and Facebook started to weed those "bad" actors out in the moment of heat. I'm not implying that this is the case for sure, but it's not entirely impossible to imagine. Perhaps it's good that when governments take action and put pressure on FAANGs that they are even prepared to cancel a 57M customer if that means staying in business for themselves.

That's the really bad thing about being the victim of algorithmic discrimination (like I was too with FB ads) and quasi-monopoly abuse. There are plenty of people with similar stories like this one complaining on forums like r/PPC. Dealing with Facebook is like a bureaucratic nightmare from a Kafka story even for customers who spend millions of dollars.

But of course these cases remain a minority or else Facebook would already be bankrupt. That's why the majority will call these people whiners, probably guilty, and so on.

Basically, what Facebook is doing is automatized slander. You've violated some policy but we don't tell you which one. You've been caught in "suspicious behavior" (an actual term used by them) but we don't tell you what we mean by that. You've tried to circumvent our policies - or maybe you haven't, just beg us to give you another chance.

Let's just say it's not fun having to deal with this, and no company should rely much on Facebook ads.

I agree that skepticism is necessary, but it's likely a lot less logical than that.

They probably tripped some algorithm.

This happened last year to podcast-addict (one of the most popular applications in Google's Android store) [1]. The lesson I take away is: even big players spending millions are subject to the algorithm.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23219427

This reads like an outcry from a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I see this as a good sign. I haven't used Facebook in over 6 years and don't intend to. Everything Facebook is piholed on my network. But I'm glad they're starting to kick out trash content producers.

And yeah, like others have said, if you spend ~$60M on Facebook ads (among others), I don't think you can call yourself a small business. This is like those 6 year old companies that still consider themselves startups.

If you make enough revenue from content farms to spend that much on ads AND getting kicked off of Facebook jeopardizes your "business" that much, I'm gonna assume you engage in some dark patterns to collect/sell data of your visitors, or to place ads in shady ways, or some form of SEO pollution. At the very least, you run native ads disguised as content. I wouldn't want to have any business with you either.

> If given the chance, I would go to great lengths to adjust my business, to right whatever wrong Facebook believes I have committed. I would change my business model, and shift the direction of my business to ensure I am fully compliant with Facebook’s policies. I have done it many times before. I would like to do it again.

This is a reminder Facebook is too powerful.

>e, I would go to great lengths to adjust my business, to right whatever wrong Facebook believes I have committed

Also a reminder not to base your business on a functionality of a monster.

Sounds to me like this should be the zillionth warning sign that leaning on a FAANG for any significant portion of your business activities is a critical mistake.

If there is no customer support, there is no reliability, period. You can delude yourself into thinking you have a resource, when what you have is a niche in somebody else's place.

Of course this will throw his business into chaos.

Time to sue Facebook for unfair business practices. Or if that's not allowed under the TOS, walk away and find the next path.

Every story I hear paints another stroke of the picture of Facebook turning into a cesspool of AI-controlled careless swamp of attention-grabbing, only mitigated by reporting on their most callous bullshit.

Lumping all the FAANG companies, or even parts of these large companies together like this is just lazy. Netflix is unreliable and has no customer support? Are iPhones unreliable? Should business not rely on AWS?

HN deserves better than sweeping generalisations and shallow black and white polemics.

I cannot wrap my head around how that could even be possible?

They mention they had FB representatives physically received at their offices. Couldn't they join those directly?

I expect that if you spent 57 mio $ in any business, the minimum would be to have a direct telephone contact with a sales rep / account manager and to review the relationship quarterly.

The ~$60million is over 15 years, so it's about $330k/month on average, which is still a very substantial amount of money, but at "Facebook scale" this is pocket money you find in the sofa; their revenue is about $5.8 billion a month. For Facebook, the effect is like refusing to serve a customer their coffee at a coffee shop.

I suppose that's the real problem with these kind of issues; you see the same on e.g. YouTube where even fairly large channels acting in good faith can run in to problems. I don't think there's any malice involved, but it's just too much effort to fix, there are other things going on, and they've got enough money anyway: so why bother?

Even just a few years ago, Facebook's revenue was a lot smaller, so that would explain why they were more outgoing at the time.

$330k/month means that you could have multiple employees specifically and solely tasked with managing this one account. It is not a small amount by any means.

You could but isn't the whole thesis of the internet-business a la Google or Facebook that it's "automated"?

Ad buy isn't that automated. Check out vendors like Wordstream -- it stays complicated above the minimal purchase threshholds.

Not true at all. 330k a month might at best get you one representative who has a book of business around 75-100 accounts.

jgurewitz's post is probably closer to the expectation. $330k/month is a nice chunk of change, but that's their primary revenue that's expected to mostly go to support the rest of their business operations. They're obviously not going to spend all of it on employees to manage that specific account.

It’s not dollars, it’s CAD, so significantly less.

Well yes and no.

FB revenue in 2019 was 70e9$. I also assume that Freebies spending was not constant over the 16 years. So their spending represented almost 1/10000 of FB revenue.

I agree you can probably afford to lose that as a business owner but you probably can't be "meh, whatever" either. I expect that a decision of that scale would have probably be considered by many people / relatively highly ranked employee.

(At least, at that scale, I wouldn't give the authority to two low level support staff and an algorithm to delete 1/10000 of my global revenues...)

To clarify: I don't think that "meh whatever" is literally what people are saying (to each other or themselves), it's just that there are also other customers, new leads, and all sorts of other things to do, so it's more of a "doesn't matter enough to actually take action"-kind of thing. Or, in short, "meh, whatever" :-)

And there are probably other factors as well, such as poor internal communication, algorithms making poor decisions, and more. But those are all solvable problems and I suspect that "meh whatever"-attitude plays a fairly large role in them not getting fixed at various levels. I mean, if my company left 330k/month on the table then I'd run after that faster than Usain Bolt. But do you think Zuckerberg or other top-level managers at Facebook will?

But I have no insight in any of this, so I'm just guessing really...

They do say that they no longer have that avenue in the article:

> I have visited their offices and have hosted their representatives at mine. I still cherish my relationships with all of them.

> Over the past few years, however, the lines of communication have gone dark. Instead of our trusted Facebook partners, we found ourselves trying to communicate with 3rd party contractors who didn’t always share our goals and objectives or understand our business. There was little interest in helping us understand new Facebook policies or what we were expected to do to comply with them.

This is not the first time I have heard something like "There was little interest in helping us understand new Facebook policies or what we were expected to do to comply with them. " This is generally said when the new policies are intentionally designed to keep out a whole niche of shady behavior, so that complying would require to abandon their core business model; i.e. it's not really expected that they would comply, the policies are explicitly written to stop doing business with them and also every future company like theirs.

If they could work out something with the customer representatives to mostly keep doing what they want to do while fitting within the letter of the policy, that would just indicate a bug in the policy text that needs to be fixed.

> They mention they had FB representatives physically received at their offices. Couldn't they join those directly?

Two sentences later it becomes clearly that those contacts have left or whatever and they have been since dealing with whoever was not really involved with Facebook.

A business that creates garbage content with a business model that almost exclusively relies on another garbage company's ad platform.

I have very little sympathy for companies that run ads in the first place. This just seems like good news to me.

The bigger picture is that it can be anyone's business - even the most "pristine" one. Getting banned without any notice when you run a business is just low and pathetic.

I agree that banning people from platforms for no reason isn't cool. But what do people honestly expect from Facebook? Running ads in the first place is contemptible. Basing basically your entire business model on running Facebook ads is stupid in the extreme. If you're greedy enough to run your business like that, you reap what you sow.

I visited "shared.com" and the content looks pretty innocuous. The first story is about office chairs, the second is about celebrity engagements. Sure, it's clickbait, but we're talking about facebook - not nature magazine.

Maybe facebook changed their ad policies to prohibit this kind of content. That's within their right but they owe an explanation to their advertisers and perhaps some wind-down time.

This sort of arbitrary ban-by-T&C, with no judicial oversight, is further evidence that Facebook, and likely all large tech companies, are abusing their monopoly power and need significantly more regulation.

Probably got mistaken for misleading political content. If you search for `"shared.com" "trump"` or `"shared.com" "biden"` there are some pretty tabloid-tier conspiracy articles.

Can confirm, I just did these searches

CBD maybe?

cbd site:shared.com

This immediately set off my bullshit detector:

>Our legacy promotional business, Freebies (freebies.com, free.ca), publishes notices of free samples, savings and coupons from great brands. The majority of our expenditure on Facebook is through Freebies.

Translation: Promoted marketing content and clickbait sites of very little actual content value. I'm absolutely unsurprised FB banned them.

Much smaller scale, but I got kicked off Adsense after running for over 10 years. No guidance, no feedback, etc. Even our direct Adsense rep said she had no input with the policy teams. They kept about 1.5mm in revenue.

It is hard being wholly dependent on a large company (Google, Facebook, etc.), but not much choice you have either when riding that wave on their product.

Lots of comments on here about whether it is good or bad to kick this particular company off the platform.

Regardless of if the overall decision is good or bad, how FB goes about it, including messaging and forewarning is something that there is no excuse to not get right.

Saying look at our ToS is absurd.

> Facebook had taken action against me, personally, that one assumes are reserved for the worst in our society — criminals, pedophiles and conspiracy theorists.

Lumping in conspiracy theorists with pedophiles? This guy is an ass, his business was probably barely legitimate, and I don't feel sorry for him in the slightest.

I read this as a tongue-in-cheek joke.

Different outlets for different kinds of mental illnesses. There aren't really any levels to being disgusting. Once you hit that definition, you end up alongside with everything out there that fits it. Spreading hate, lies, paranoia, disinformation, your personal delusions is disgusting as is pedophilia.

This kind of intolerance is disgusting to me.

I'm surprised by all the comments blaming the author here. Even if their content is garbage, they made foolish business decisions, yadda yadda, Facebook's policy of banning business accounts and all associated personal accounts with no explanation or recourse should not be allowed legally.

"Facebook had taken action against me, personally, that one assumes are reserved for the worst in our society — criminals, pedophiles and conspiracy theorists."

Yah, it's those conspiracy theorists that are the worst in society.

I've been in therapy for years after my uncle tried to convince me the mob killed JFK.

Cult-like conspiracies like the QAnon stuff are not harmless. Comparing them to criminals is warranted, at least after the incident where one of them attempted a mass shooting.

But still that quoted sentence is quite weird. Banning someone from an online platform is the standard procedure for policy violations, not just for the "worst in our society" no matter how you define those.

Be happy they did, you can now build a better a world by stopping feeding facebook. Put your money somewhere else.

I uninstalled the app a couple weeks ago. Amazing positive difference in my mental health and focus.

Now to kick my HN habit...

This won't be a popular comment but if your entire business model is based upon the existence of FB, you should have had a formal contract in place, as well as dedicated points of contact. I can't imagine that someone with millions in annual spend couldn't require this of FB.

IMHO FB ads a a pile of #@!

In my experience, a message sent to the appropiate FB group can outperform by a factor of 10 facebok ads. Not just clickthroughs, but also repeated visits after 2 weeks.

If you buy traffic from a specific country, they will send you from whenever else* while they charge you for geolocated traffic. Sad thing IP addresses are easy to geolocate this days and they miserably fail to do it.

I wonder how they work with stuff you cannot compare like similar audiences..

I hope you understand the fault lies completely in you.

Facebook is know to do or say whatever is needed to further their business. It not a new thing, it is a pattern of deception well documented here on HN.

By choosing to build your business on FB platform you should have understanding, that you are not really building your own business but rather you are building business for FB which lets you build business on their platform until such time they decide it is not worth it and kick you out.

You chose an ally that has no morals and you let yourself be completely dependent on their willingness to keep you.

Every business owner is responsible for thinking for themselves and investigating their partners. If this was your only partner, on which you were completely reliant for your business, it means you have catastrophically neglected your responsibility. Have you done your job you would realize that there is a risk and you would try to save or diversify in case the worst comes. Instead you were just focused on reaping benefits rather than thinking long term.

Pass the message to other people as widely as possible so that public is aware of how FB conducts business so that less people will face the same tragedy in the future.

Platforms like Facebook can be an avenue to a great revenue stream but we've seen time and time again they can be capricious, passive aggressive, and tone deaf. Some day all of this will catch up to them but in the meantime, being dependent on any one platform for your survival is like playing Russian Roulette with an automated gun.

Before anyone gets too impressed (though I may be too late judging by the chorus that has formed), it's $57M CAD, and over the course of 14 years, so roughly about $3.2M USD in spending per year, or roughly $266k USD per month. Fairly typical customer.

I wonder if this is an opportunity for business insurance.

I.e., being shunned by Facebook or Google is a high-consequence, low-probability, hard-to-predict event.

You may as well treat it like building a factory in an earthquake zone.

Step 1: Make something that is right on the edge of being acceptable according to facebook's T&C

Step 2: Take out $10 Million Policy

Step 3: Have your buddy at facebook flag your content

Step 4: Split money with buddy from facebook

Lots of comments here to the effect of "shame on you for letting yourself be so dependent on them", but the awful thing is that there are so many businesses whose unit economics _only_ make sense if they can buy visitors via Facebook. They are way, way cheaper for a lot of B2C businesses than any other ad network. I don't know why. Is it because people who are browsing FB/IG are bored and actively looking for ads to click on? Either way, it sucks that no one else offers the same access and CPM/CPC etc

Sounds like cases of 'play with fire, you're going to get burned'.

If your business is dependent on FB, time to pivot. Q. E. D.

Trying hard to empathise with company spending $57m on ads. Failing.

This probably had nothing to do with FB proper as is simply a form of state or corporate sponsored https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zersetzung

This guy or someone in his business or personal circle has caused problems for someone and they've leant on him.

Around 20% of all deplatforming originates with these covert coerce requests from states or big corporate

> If given the chance, I would go to great lengths to adjust my business, to right whatever wrong Facebook believes I have committed. I would change my business model, and shift the direction of my business to ensure I am fully compliant with Facebook’s policies. I have done it many times before. I would like to do it again.

15 years ago or so I happened to become a moderator on forum for script kiddies. I had been a temporal appointment for a month, because of another anecdotal funny story, but what I've found while being a moderator, that all those script kiddies trying to sell some stolen data were open for a discussion of their behaviour. In a good way open.

Before me (and by the way after me, and even with me) the forum was a mess. A great heap of kids trying to outcry others with their offers to find a buyer for their crap. There were strictly sounding rules, like "do not post into your forum topic (to get it on top of others) more than once per day", which were violated frequently. The approach of a moderator before me was to temporarily ban anyone he caught crossing the line.

I was the reason of my temporary assignment to this forum, and I tried to do the best I could. So I started to take notes, and I talked to people, explaining them what they did wrong, and what consequences they would face when I'll run out of time to talk with them. It worked like a charm, they were ready to conform to the rules, conditionally on the rules for everyone not just them. I used banning as a way to affect behaviour, but mostly short-term bans, no more than a day long, just to make sure they noticed me and to give them a feeling that they were punished enough and all their guilt is in the past redeemed and forgotten. (The guy before me could kind of dug up some half-a-year old violation and use it as an official reason for ban, while the real reason was violation of a pecking order, with him on the top).

I had learned a lot from that. From the other hand I have been never worked for 12+ hours a day for a month without days off. It was exhausting. If I had some tools for automation it would be easier, but I never got time to write the tools I needed.

I know that Facebook is a lot of orders of magnitude bigger then my problem was, so I'd likely be mistaken if tried to extrapolate, but nevertheless, my guess is Facebook have run out of resources to manage that mess and is trying to shrink it.

I seriously hope these guys get their pages re-instated. Crazy that Facebook would ban their personal accounts as well. I wonder if they have decided that the concept of "sharing" something is redundant with Facebook's own features, so they decided to wipe it out. Shame on FB.

That said, I don't know of many "small businesses" that can pull $52m in ad spend, even if it's over 20 years ;)

This stood out to me too, but that's ~$2.5m a year, and if the business is ad-arbitrage (buying FB ads to get views on ads on their own site), then I could imagine it being quite low margin, 15% margin is a ~$3m a year business, and if you're paying 5 employees, taxes, etc out of that last $500k, I can understand calling that "small".

A lot of the commenters are ignored the major point here. "Facebook have given them no explanation on how their content violates their guidelines"

Facebook has been happy to take their money all these years, now all of a sudden they are bad guys.

At the very least Facebook owes them a better explanation.

These so called "content recommendation engines" pollute the web with low-effort, low-quality garbage writing that hooks less discriminating users while collecting reams of data to improve ad targeting. Good riddance, I say.

For all those doing math and commenting regarding Facebook revenues vs this ad spend while you do your math keep in mind that Facebook revenues are reported in US dollars and the $57M mentioned in this article is Canadian dollars.

It’s hard to understand that a business partner for 15 years and after dozens of millions of dollars spent can kick you in the @@s and ghost you without any explanation. This kind of behaviors from large corporations have to stop.

Bit of a stretch to call Facebook a "partner" to _any_ business. They're racketeers and building a business on the back of them is frankly insane.

If you pay such a large amount of money I think “partner” should be the right word... but you are right, they don’t deserve that. May be “cannibals” is more appropriate.

No one but Google, Apple or Amazon are remotely close to being 'partners' with Facebook. Unless you count hedge finds or multinationals in other industries.

Facebook's cash flow is enough that even this company's revenue is a rounding error on _weekly_ numbers.

In other words, FB don't care, don't let the door hit you.

If some player has a few billion in FB revenue at stake, I'll bet they can at least reach a first tier CSR.

If they can ghost you this effectively, you were never a business partner.

If they were an actual business partner, you could rely on the terms of the contract the two of you arrived at to define your partnership to give you recourse, assuming your lawyers were competent.

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