KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the social media site Facebook has been monitoring scams, misinformation, and graphic content; taking it down almost as quickly as it appears.
A young woman in Loudon County has learned the hard way how Facebook is keeping on top of its community standards, especially questionable materials. She called WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare after being “blocked” by Facebook.
Her Facebook account has been suspended and it happened a few weeks after she first reported some graphic websites. Then, when she posted the screenshots, at the time she didn’t realize it would be considered “objectionable.”
Brittany Waggoner is an animal lover and also considers herself an advocate for abused children. Regularly, she keeps in touch with many of her friends — and had been on Facebook for 11 years, until last month.
“They took my account, completely. Even on Instagram because they own Instagram,” Waggoner said. Brittany’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been taken down, she says because, in early August, she reported pictures of child exploitation and nudity and quickly got a response.
“‘Thanks for letting us know things you don’t want to see on Facebook. You’ll receive an update in your support inbox when the report has been reviewed,'” Waggoner read to WATE’s Don Dare. “Yes the next day, August the third, I reported, anonymously reported, it looks like a spam website for displaying nudity also child exploitation.”
Waggoner is a member of the Save Our Children Movement. Disturbed by pictures on several websites, Brittany, unfortunately, posted screenshots to Facebook friends who like her are opposed to child exploitation.
“As soon we caused a bunch of noise about it and brought it to light and said, ‘hey look as soon as you type it in, this is what you get.’ The next day it came up and said: ‘Child sexual abuse is illegal. We think your search might be associated with child sexual abuse.’ And then the very next morning, it says my account has been disabled.”
Waggoner had unknowingly violated one of Facebook’s recently updated standards: Objectionable content — which includes hate speech and graphic pictures.
“Apparently, I went against community standards because I like to speak up for children,” she said. “These kids, they need a voice. The day before they took my account that I had posted, the reason, I said, why I am so motivated and passionate about the Save Our Children Movements is because I was one of those kids. I was a 9-year-old, I told people, ‘hey, this is what is going on’ and no one believed me.”
Waggoner has since appealed Facebook’s disabling her account and is trying to get it reactivated.
So, far, she’s been unsuccessful. Yet, Waggoner says the exploitive websites remain.
“They way I look at it, these things are up there and if I can report it and I can screen-shot it, that’s why I didn’t see that being an issue,” she said.
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