Cameron’s People Messed Up
I posted last Thursday about Kirk Cameron and the issues he had with Facebook. I made the assumption that individuals had been reporting the link to his website and that was what caused his site to be blocked. But I also noted that part of the problem could have come from the fact that McAfee was blacklisting the website.
Well, it seems the problem was more the latter than the former. In other words, Facebook’s system, which seeks to protect its users from harm by preventing links to dangerous or spammy sites, automatically responded to historical problems with the domain in question by blocking it. Facebook released a statement explaining what happened. Essentially, the domain (website address) had previously been used for spam and therefore was previously blocked. The resolution to the problem was to show Facebook that the new website was no longer a spam site. As soon as this was shown, Facebook unblocked the site. So not only was Facebook innocent of wrongdoing; so were its users. Cameron, in his claims of discrimination was completely off base.
To put it in plain English, Cameron’s people registered a domain that had been previously used with a spam website. Due to that history, the domain continued to be marked as problematic, so Facebook automatically blocked it.
Pick Domains Carefully
There is actually an important lesson to be taken from Cameron’s experience. When you purchase a new domain for your site, you want to make sure it doesn’t have a negative history that will cause your new website problems.
As far as the YouTube issue, my guess is that there are two possibilities. The site linking to the video or video linking to the site might well have caused the block as a result of the domain’s history (or blacklisting on McAfee) much as with Facebook. Or perhaps people stared reacting to Cameron’s claims on Facebook and thought it would be funny to keep the problem going. They might even have been angry that Cameron was accusing Facebook of being prejudiced.
So it seems Cameron’s claims were completely without merit. No one was trying to block his site on Facebook. Instead, his folks failed to do proper research when choosing a domain and ended up causing his own website to be banned.
As before, I will say, it is entirely inappropriate for people to blame a website for discriminating before they find out what is going on. Here, the problem was based on a technical issue. Facebook automatically blocked a domain that was previously known for spamming. In response to the problem, Facebook has stated it will work to make certain that its filter refreshes more frequently, while at the same time protecting its users from spammy or dangerous sites.
I’d like to add, I don’t particularly blame individuals for believing what Cameron said in terms of his website being blocked. The responsibility for creating this non-story lays with Cameron, bloggers and the press, who should have researched the issue before attacking Facebook. I myself should have been more careful before assuming that individuals were reporting the link. I should have focused on the issue of McAfee blacklisting the site and looked more at whether that was the source of the problem.