Facebook shuts down page of lead DADT repeal group based on fake complaint

UPDATE: I contacted a friend at Facebook who got someone on this immediately, and Josh Seefried, another co-founder of the organization reports that the page is back up! Thanks to Facebook for getting to this quickly.

OutServe played a key role in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. They’re an organization of active duty gay, lesbians, bisexual and trans members of the military.

I just spoke with OutServe’s co-director Ty Walrod, and as it stands, OutServe says that someone using a fake name and fake email address contacted Facebook to complain that the OutServe Facebook page was somehow infringing on OutServe (they used a fake OutServe “legal department” email address). So Facebook simply shut it down. Now Facebook is telling OutServe that it needs to get the fake complainant to rescind its complaint or they won’t put the page back up. But of course, how do you get a fake person with a fake email address to rescind their fake complaint?

This reeks of SOPA/PIPA. Of Internet types shutting people down with no due process, at the slightest whiff of someone, anyone, even a fake person, making a claim against you. And then the burden is on you, after you’re shut down, to try to prove you’re innocent – though this is actually worse, making you find the person who lied to shut you down. This isn’t right.

Not only does Facebook need to reopen this page, pronto, but Facebook also needs to establish a better process than simply telling people they’re out of luck unless they can get the fake complainant to rescind his fake complainant. This is starting to reek of an anti-gay action by the fake complainant, and we can’t have Facebook setting up a precedent where they pull down the pages of legitimate gay groups every time a homophobe makes up a lie.

Here’s the email paper trail from Facebook, it looks pretty dumb.

From: Ty Walrod
Date: January 11, 2012 4:25:26 PM PST

Hi all,

OutServe might be able to use your help. Last Friday, without announcement, Facebook shut down our public page at facebook.com/outserve/ citing a baseless report of intellectual property violations. The page has more than 11,000 followers and is a key component of our communications strategy.

If this happened to us, it could happen to ANY organization’s public page.

Per Facebook guidelines, we took steps to remedy, immediately contacting [email protected] (dialogue below). Of course, the complaining party used a fictitious name and a fake email account (from Mailinator), and we have made FB aware of this fact. After their initial response, we’ve heard nothing back, even after numerous tactful follow-up emails to FB User Operations.

We’re trying to play by all the rules but apparently we’re not pushing the right buttons. Any help from this group would be appreciated. The attached screenshot and messages below are yours to use/post/forward or disseminate. In the end, we just want our page back online.



We have removed your Fbpage: OutServe from Facebook because we received a report alleging that it infringed or violated the rights of a third party, and/or because we have reason to believe that you are not authorized to represent the subject matter of the Page.

We strongly encourage you to review the content you have posted to Facebook to make sure that you have not posted any other unauthorized or infringing content. Please keep in mind that it is our policy to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers/violators when appropriate.

If you believe that we have made a mistake in removing this content, then please visit http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1108 for more information.

The Facebook Team
Hi Josh,

Thanks for your email. As you know, we received a claim of alleged rights infringement regarding the removed content. Per Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, users are prohibited from posting infringing content on the site.

If you believe that we have made a mistake in removing this content, then please contact the complaining party directly with the following information to resolve your issue:

Notice #: [355141187832687]
Contact Information:
Name – [Mary Drescher]
Email – [[email protected]]

If both parties agree to restore the reported content, please ask the complaining party to contact us via email with a copy of the agreement so that we can refer to the original issue. We will not be able to restore this content to Facebook unless we receive explicit notice of consent from the complaining party.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

User Operations

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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