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Why Facebook temporarily shut down a Springfield, Mo. veteran’s profile and group page

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 10:51 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - An Ozarks veteran says Facebook interfered with her mission to serve and protect.

Teri Daniels is a member of a group called Veterans Protecting the Homeland. She is also the treasurer at the local Disabled American Veterans. Veterans Protecting the Homeland is group of honorably discharged veterans. Its purpose is to back up first responders. Daniels says the group once secured the perimeter of a large crime scene. And in another part of the country, veterans protected a school facing a threat.

Daniels says in early November, her Facebook profile was disabled for 30 days. She says it was the week after she became commander of the group’s north central region and did a roll call, asking everyone to check in and share their availability. She says her last post in the group was an announcement about a comrade’s death. And Daniels says she is far from the only member who has had their profile disabled.

We asked Facebook to look into her case. They say the group’s North Central region Facebook group was removed in error in November for representing a militarized social movement. The social media platform admits the action was taken in error. Facebook restored the page. A Facebook representative says, because Daniels is an admin of that group, her account was disabled. Facebook apologized for the error.

“That’s really hard to deal with, because you can’t get on there,” said Daniels. “You can’t help first responders if you can’t make contact.”

Daniels could not post, comment or like anything on Facebook for a full 30 days.

“We are not a militia. We’re an organization that literally works as a support mechanism for local, state and federal government,” says Kevin Campbell, founder of Veterans Protecting the Homeland. He says it’s far from the first time they’ve had this kind of problem.

“It’s literally forced many members, either we’ve lost to these members by deactivation from Facebook, or by them simply leaving because command, all my command staff, all my executive staff, have been deactivated,” says Campbell.

Facebook admits other VPH regional groups, the Southeast and Southwest regions, were also removed by mistake.

The group has started a website, https://www.vphnational.org/ and is considering other social media platforms.

Daniels has regained access to her Facebook profile and plans to continue to serve.

“I love being there for veterans or active duty, and to back the local authorities,” says Daniels.

Facebook has a form you can fill out if you believe your profile or page has been disabled by mistake. Find the form from the platform’s help center here: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/logout?id=260749603972907

Facebook says it can’t restore accounts that were disabled for severe violations of the Facebook Community Standards.

A Facebook spokesperson says, “We continue to invest heavily in more people and better technology to ensure that Facebook is both a safe place and somewhere people can freely discuss different points of view. While enforcement isn’t always perfect, we’ve taken significant steps to improve our efforts to remove violating content.”

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