Facebook bans Fallout 76 roleplay group

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Facebook bans Fallout 76 roleplay group

Members of the Fallout 76 group the 'Free States Militia' woke up to a shock at the start of the month, as their role-playing group was banned from Facebook, when it was mistook for an actual militia group.

Speaking to Kotaku, admin Jessica Dickey described the group as a "video game fan site based on an in-game faction of the same name," adding that "It makes no sense, especially when there are real life militia groups still up and running on Facebook."

The group was reinstated later that day, after the the group took to Twitter and quickly gained the support of the rest of the Fallout 76 community. "We apologize for removing the Fallout 76 Groups in error and have since restored the Group and admin accounts" a representative from Facebook told Kotaku. "We are committed to taking action against Groups tied to violence. We have both AI that detects these groups as well as 15,000 human content reviewers, but occasionally Groups are removed in error. If we detect a Group is connected to a dangerous organization, we may remove the Group and associated admin Profiles are disabled."

Considering that the rules of the group include: "be kind and courteous, don't be a douche" as well as "no hate: don't be a racist prick, don't be a homophobe", it does beg the question how this role-playing group was banned in the first place. It's hard to know what rules the group broke but for a company with the resources that Facebook has, should this really be happening?

The social media site has historically taken a softer stance towards hate groups and hate speech, with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg telling Fox News earlier this year that Facebook should not be "an arbiter of truth", in response to a post from Donald Trump about in-mail voting. In contrast, Twitter slapped a big old factcheck on a similar tweet from the US president.

And despite finding the time to ban a role-playing group for a video game, Facebook is still allowing hate groups on their platform despite apparently banning them in the summer. Just last month, the civil-rights group Muslim Advocates released a timeline on their blog, detailing instances since 2015 where the "platform’s event pages were being weaponized by militias, white nationalists and hate groups to threaten American Muslims."

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