VIZ responded by announcing the suspension on Twitter, saying “We can appeal, but if we get it wrong, we’ll be ‘permanently deleted’. Oo-er”, but has taken the suspension in its side. already working on more “user friendly” alternatives…The British sense of humour and some British place names and companies do seem to run afoul of Facebook on a regular basis. Last December, the Brecon Beacons Blackcock Inn pub’s profile was suspended for the use of “racist or offensive language”. The Independent reported the manager of the pub said he explained the name referred to a black cockerel but could not get the ban lifted.
Thankfully, it seems customer furore and media coverage has now seen the page restored, so perhaps there’s hope yet for VIZ.
Cuddly makeovers notwithstanding, it might not be an easy job for VIZ to get the page reinstated, despite many complaints on a near-daily basis about other Facebook pages that could be considered more offensive than the adult comic’s.
The rules governing social media websites like Facebook are in a constant state of flux and there could be several reasons why the Page was suspended – and not necessarily because someone complained about posted content.
“While Facebook and other social media websites can serve as valuable marketing assets, that will, ideally, foster customer growth, goodwill and loyalty, potential risks abound for businesses that do not stay abreast of the evolving rules governing their use,” US law firm notes on a useful post about Facebook page suspensions.
“Many of the millions of Facebook users throughout the world are not aware that it is almost impossible to contact Facebook directly. Apart from the contact form provided to users along with the suspension/deactivation notice, there is no publicly listed phone number or reliable e-mail address available for users to contact Facebook directly for purposes of pleading their case. This almost always leaves users at the mercy of Facebook to decide if and when to restore their pages to active status.
“It does not help that Facebook is notoriously unreliable in its response time, with reactivation ranging from a few hours to several weeks, even for the most harmless of infractions.
“One of the most reliable ways to promptly get through to Facebook is to retain counsel that interacts with Facebook and other social media platforms on a regular basis,” they advise. “Experienced social media counsel will most likely have contact information available to reach Facebook personnel directly and, if you are lucky, formed working relationships with Facebook technicians that will give you a leg up in having your Facebook page restored in a timely fashion.”
Given that VIZ is owned by a major British publisher – Dennis Publishing – let’s hope they’ll soon sort the matter out – be it the result of legal entreaty or media coverage!
Update: Good news. The VIZ Facebook page was restored some 12 hours after being ‘unpublished’. “We’re back,” the VIZ team announced. “They wouldn’t tell us what we did, but we promise not to do it again, whatever it was.”