Following a recent blog posted by Facebook, the social media platform committed to “keep Facebook groups safe” by cracking down on groups that might be promoting violence. A role-playing militia group playing Fallout 76 was caught in the crossfire, and was mistakenly shut down.
The “Free States Militia” Facebook group was accidentally and quickly shut down (via PCGamesN), where players of Bethesda’s online game would post lore and role play with each other as characters from the in-game world. The group’s creator, Bobby, found out they were banned by trying to log onto their page one day to find he couldn’t log in.
“After restarting my phone with no luck, it became clear my account had been disabled,” he said. “I tried to contact the other leaders of the group and found they were all unsearchable. We eventually got in touch through a PSN message and all were found to have had their accounts banned from Facebook and our Free States Militia game page removed.”
It seems having the word “militia” in their group name is what triggered Facebook’s AI-powered bots, which are supposedly supported by 15,000 real human content reviewers. When reached for comment, Facebook realized the group wasn’t an actual militia force, but rather role-playing gamers. They apologized and reinstated their accounts and group page.
Bobby noted their role-playing group also interacts with other role-players, however their groups don’t have the word “militia” included, like the Vulture Raider Gang and the Enclave Armed Forces.
Facebook’s original blog noted they “banned a violent US-based anti-government network connected to the boogaloo movement and removed 106 of their groups” and have expanded their policy to “address organizations and movements that have demonstrated significant risks to public safety, including QAnon, US-based militia organizations and anarchist groups that support violent acts amid protests.”