When Facebook Doesn’t Believe You

That time Meta decided mountains were spam

Paul Greenberg

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The Facebook woes of a great, little magazine

What happens when Facebook decides you’re spam? This is the fate of an award-winning magazine called Adirondack Life that publishes out of the north country of New York State. Larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, Adirondack Park is a unique tapestry of public and private land, lakes and mountains, rivers and meadows that demonstrates real hope for the possibility of human coexistence with nature. Adirondack Life is a primary voice of that hope.

Unfortunately, Facebook has reached the conclusion that all that hope is spam. Or, rather, its algorithm and systems, operating it would seem outside the frame of human discernment, have plunged the magazine into a Borgesian feedback loop that threatens its very existence.

We’ve survived increases in the cost of paper and postage, and managed to hang on during this global pandemic. But the one thing we can’t seem to figure out is how to get help from Facebook, even reach an actual person there to talk to.

As a regular contributor to Adirondack Life and a friend of the magazine’s executive editor Annie Stoltie, I’ve watched with dismay as this digital torment has played out over the course of the last year. All of Stoltie’s queries have fallen on deaf ears (or on protocols that don’t even have ears). In case any of those protocols are listening to Medium, here’s what she has to say:

“Adirondack Life is a regional magazine that’s been around for more than 50 years. From our headquarters in Jay, N.Y., 20 miles east of Lake Placid, we’ve weathered changes in technology and shrinking newsstands. We’ve survived increases in the cost of paper and postage, and managed to hang on during this global pandemic. But the one thing we can’t seem to figure out is how to get help from Facebook, even reach an actual person there to talk to. It’s like pushing a boulder up Mount Marcy. In winter.

Since the beginning of December 2021, after our website was hacked, sending people to spam, the social media monolith tagged anything posted from our website as spam, with this message: “This…

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Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org