We have had some incredible performance on Facebook. We build a page that grew over 330,000 fans and a group that had over 360,000 members in less than 2 years.
And then one day, after all of this hard work, everything was removed in an instant by Facebook. The reason?
Kind of sad, that we never took a screenshot of the actual page itself, all I have are the analytics.
NOTE: This article is 100% my opinion based on my own personal experience. I am not claiming anything as fact.
Starting From Suspicious Notifications
It all started with our group, “Anime World Unite!,” the banner photo was reported as “copyright infringement.”
New Years Eve, maybe Facebook was rolling out some brand new copyright rules?
The First Copyright Infringement
Admittedly, it was just a fan art we found from Google. Had the original artist found it and claimed copyright infringement against it? It’s totally possible right?
I agree that we shouldn’t have used some random art from Google… as if every other anime group doesn’t do that? So why did we specifically get targeted???
Okay fine… We’ll change the picture! That’s what I thought anyways…
The Second Copyright Infringement
Not only did I change the picture, but I deep fried the image as well just as a meme.
I deep fried this image so much that even if it was just taken from Google, it was virtually unrecognizable. People in the group were commenting about why the banner image looks so messed up.
Okay, now I knew something was up. Literally within the first 2 minutes of updating the banner image, someone must have reported it AGAIN. Time to try something new.
COMPLETELY 100% MY RIGHT TO USE
The above banner photo was the third and final group banner photo before the group was eventually deleted from Facebook.
Dissecting this image:
The Background is a royalty free, no attribution required, commercial use image found from Pixabay. Same goes for the earth icon behind.
The hexagon pattern was made by me from scratch. Lastly, the official AnimeWorld mascot which was designed by CDS Studio and licensed commercially, exclusively to AnimeWorld and its owners.
Can you guess what happened within the next 5 minutes of me uploading this banner photo?
I guess Facebook has some kind of three strikes rule? Because shortly after receiving this third notification, my Facebook group and the profile of every admin in the group (including my own profile) was removed from Facebook without any prior warning.
Clearly Someone Hates Us
I think it is obvious at this point that someone was manually and indiscriminately reporting fake copyright reports against us.
Did their friend get banned from our group? Are they admins for a competing group / page? Why us? Why would someone do this?
Furthermore, why did Facebook blindly believe every copyright report they sent?
How Does Facebook Copyright Infringement System Work?
I have extensive social media experience, from YouTube to Twitter, I’ve seen how these platforms handle copyright infringement claims.
However, when it comes to Facebook I have never seen a system so terrible and poorly thought out.
The Vague Email from Facebook
You would expect there to be some useful information in the email right? NOPE!
So what useful information do you get from these emails? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
Do they tell you WHO the third party is that is claiming your content? NO.
Do they even tell you WHAT content exactly is being claimed? NO.
Is there an easy way to get in contact with Facebook and file a counter report? NO.
So how exactly are you supposed to file a counter notification when you don’t even know WHAT content is being reported, WHO is claiming the content, and HOW to respond to Facebook?
(The notifications I showed above were one time notices shown upon login, if I didn’t see those, I would have never known what was being claimed.)
Clearly, it shows that Facebook is not very helpful when it comes to copyright claims.
According to the Facebook help center, they “regularly” provide the name and contact information for the person who filed the copyright report. I guess our case was the exception?
Not only was our Facebook group removed, ON TOP OF THAT, every admin who was in charge of the group had their Facebook profiles deleted.
Way to go Facebook, that is such a great and reasonable thing to do. When a group is reported for copyright infringement, go ahead and delete the group without asking us our side of the story AND delete everyone who is an admin in the group….
That was it. Every family vacation, every photo of my dogs, cats, and friends, my high school memories up until now… all vanished completely!
That was my punishment for using MY OWN image as the banner photo on my Facebook group. (Also everyone else who was an Admin of that group, sorry guys…)
Who came up with this?
Okay so our Facebook Group was removed completely, the page was still there, so let’s get in touch with Facebook and see if we can get the group restored.
We successfully submitted a counter DCMA Takedown Claim. The Facebook help center was not so helpful about finding this, so here’s the URL. Thanks!
After explaining pretty much the same situation explained above, the contact from Facebook, Jordan, did the right thing by restoring our Facebook group!
Time for Heavy Cleanup!
This just goes to show how much we actually cared about complying with Facebook and trying to keep a clean and compliant group.
Now that we got our group back, we moved FAST to clean up any hentai, porn, or other questionable content. Funny how Facebook doesn’t remove any of that content but puts the responsibility on Group Owners to do their job for them and if anything slips through the cracks WE are the ones that get punished for it…
Since Facebook groups are places where members can post anything, we turned on post moderation and closed the group to any outside content until further notice.
Why does Facebook punish the group owners for content made by group members? We didn’t post it.
In fact, while post moderation was turned on, we didn’t post ANYTHING….
The Next Day, Group is Taken Down AGAIN
… What was the reason? You guessed it, unknown copyright infringement from an unknown third party with no specific content identified.
Luckily my Facebook profile was not removed, but I was banned from commenting, messaging, LIKING, or doing anything on Facebook for 3 days.
Notice how is says “because YOU shared something…” I didn’t share anything. I literally didn’t post anything from the time the group was made to the time the group was taken down except for an announcement that the group was back up and that everyone should join our discord (which isn’t a violation of Facebook’s guidelines as far as I am aware.)
Threats and Spam
Speaking of our Discord server, shortly after our group was removed for the second time, a few suspicious members joined our Discord and started spamming and sending us threats.
What started off as a minor annoyance quickly turned dark.
In the normal world of the internet, when some random idiot makes threats to you, you can safely ignore it, ban them, and move on with life.
However, in the world of Facebook, apparently ANYONE has the power to remove anything they want from Facebook.
The next day after banning this loser from our Discord, you can guess what happened next???
The Page was Removed
The very next day when I woke up, the page was removed for, you guessed it, “copyright infringement.”
And just like all the other notifications before, I have no idea WHAT content was infringing, WHO is claiming that content, or HOW to appeal it.
You might be thinking, maybe there is more information in the email?
Same story as before… Zero information whatsoever.
Contacting Facebook, again, and again…
Since both the Page and the Group were removed, and since I was now disabled from posting on Facebook for an additional 3 days, I had no other options but to continue trying to plead with Facebook.
From the day my page was removed (January 10, 2019) to the current date (January 19, 2019), I have not had a single response from Facebook regarding this issue either in the same thread nor any new cases I tried to open with Facebook.
No a single response from Facebook…
An extremely epic run on Facebook, 2 -3 years of very hard grinding work, posting 1 – 3 times per hour, 24 hours PER DAY, after hiring multiple writers, facebook page and group managers, having grown an awesome community and audience, spending thousands of dollars on Facebook promotions and ads…
ALL OF THAT was taken away from me for a few fake copyright notifications. Specifically me by the way, because I know a lot of other anime page managers who have been fine.
Was someone angry with me for being removed or banned from the group / discord? Did we post something that offended someone? Why would anyone go out of their way to report copyright infringement? Are memes counted as copyright now?
Why is Facebook’s system so vague and hard to work with? Will we ever get our page / group back?
Even if we do get it back, is there even any guarantee that we will be able to keep it up?
The Most Disturbing Thing
How is it possible that Facebook can allow ANYONE to have the power to remove a large page or group by simply filing a copyright claim?
One of our group moderators was so pissed off, they decided to try reporting another group and… low and behold, it was removed!
Sorry whoever runs that group. Facebook clearly doesn’t care.
So why the heck not? Why don’t you go ahead and report every Facebook group and page you can until Facebook finally realized their system is flawed?
Facebook clearly doesn’t care about us and we don’t have any shred of hope that they will do anything for us…
The Facebook Copyright System is Deeply Flawed
There is a huge problem with Facebook if any content can be removed by simply reporting it.
No questions asked, no verification from the rights owner…
Facebook seems to just delete anything so they don’t have to be responsible for any copyright infringement themselves.
The Moral of the Story?
You and your business are NOT safe on Facebook.
Anyone can report you for copyright infringement, even YOUR OWN CONTENT and Facebook will probably do nothing except delete your page and profile and be done with it.
Facebook support is only useful one time and after that, apparently they don’t like responding.
ANYONE has the power to remove anything they wont on Facebook by simply filing a fake copyright report.
UPDATE – 1/22/19
One of the members on our Discord server (whose name has been censored out) sent us a screenshot from a private conversation they had with someone who was previously banned from our server.
We are not sure what to make of this conversation. If this is just a troll trying to take credit or the real deal.
If it really is true, then I find it funny that they still aren’t satisfied and have to resort to bragging about it a week after the deed has been done. We have the full conversation, but this was the main juicy part.
It seems like this person doesn’t take any guilt in their own actions as they are obsessed with insisting that we brought it upon ourselves?
This case still isn’t closed yet as our page and group are still in Facebook limbo.
It has been well over a week since I have heard any response from Facebook regarding this issue. Will keep you guys updated on the situation!
Our Group AnimeWorldUnite! was restored.
However, we have put the group on total lock down until further notice. This means:
– Nobody can post in the group
– No posts will be approved
– All mods / admins were removed except for me and two others.
We will wait a few days and see if this madness has stopped before opening up the group again. At least we have regained our 370K group members.
A glimpse of hope as we finally heard back from Facebook.
We finally heard back from Anaís from Facebook who successfully restored our Facebook page! Everything has been restored back to normal…
…Well at least that’s what I thought anyways.
Look at the time stamp 3:45PM. The instant I got the notification that my page was restored, I logged into Facebook only to see that my account has been disabled.
You guessed it. The GROUP was taken down again. Even though ZERO posts were approved in the time it was up, apparently the group can just get taken down for any reason or no reason at all?
To make matters worse, another group called “AnimeWorldUnite!” has sprung up, with the same exact Facebook URL as our group, please note this is NOT our group.
What good is having our page restored if I can’t even manage it?
Now we will have to wait again and hope Facebook will do something about this whole mess.
Saying goodbye to all our content. While my personal profile is still disabled, we do still have EDITORS on the page who can post and delete content. Time to delete ALL video content on the page.
Wow, all those views gone because these greedy anime companies think they’re helping the community by straight up deleting content and influencers from Facebook?
Another great classic, sorry…
Also mysteriously we have been receiving messages with people wanting to buy the group.
We have NEVER received messages like these before, let alone 3 in a row like this. Kind of suspicious that after I received so much grief from the group that I would rather not have it at all, some people conveniently want to buy it off my hands now.
The page and the group have been reinstated for a considerable amount of time now.
However I have no means to post on it because my PERSONAL account is still disabled.
I received a response from a corporate drone named “Rita” who insists that TOEI ANIMATION somehow has authority over whether or not my PERSONAL account can be restored.
I knew something was suspicious when I saw an @zoho email address. Apparently the content was claimed by Aiplex, some spammy copyright infringement enforcement company.
Apparently there is a petition to shut down Aiplex because so many people have accused them of making fake copyright reports against them here.
This makes no sense because the group / page was already reinstated by another Facebook admin AND my personal account never posted anything relating to Toei or anime content for that matter.
How am I supposed to approach Toei and tell them that the “content” i.e. my personal profile page (which never posted anything related to Toei) needs to be reinstated?
One thing I have learned from this whole experience, if you don’t like an answer from one Facebook rep, just keep contacting them until you get another.
They don’t even read the reasoning anyways, I always get a pre-written response from them no matter how detailed I go with this.
Update – 2/07/2019
The situation has been completely resolved now.
Just keep trying… over and over and over again until someone listens…
Disclaimer: This article and any content relating to Facebook, Facebook employees, etc, is 100% our personal opinion and not presented as fact or claims!
Super weeb. Can not even name one anime that I have never heard of.