Hi Trish – I posted a super normal picture and it was flagged and taken down. I don’t know what I did or what to do. Help!
Hi there, and welcome back to Ask Trish (and the first Ask Trish of June)! For those of you fellow folks living in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you’re enjoying summer weather, wherever you are.
Thank you so much to this week’s questioner for the fantastic (and relatable!) question. Though this may not be a universal experience, from what I’ve heard, it’s not an uncommon one: you post something totally normal on social media or another platform…only to have it taken down. You may be told that your content violated the platform’s “Community Rules” or “Community Guidelines.” But you don’t get it…how does, say, a picture of your rose garden violate Community Rules? The answer is, it might not…but because platforms’ content moderation can be imperfect, your content may get flagged anyhow. I’ve also heard of friends even having accounts accidentally banned – for no reason – and then suddenly restored. All that’s to say: mistakes happen.
But even if it’s a mistake, to your question, it’s still a frustrating, confusing experience, and you might feel a little helpless. Is there anything you can do? Yes, there definitely is. And this week, that’s what I’ll get into. In this post, I talk through how to appeal what you believe is a mistaken content decision on three super popular platforms: Insta, TikTok, and Facebook. To make this info. easy to use, I’ve tried to make it brief, offering you all simple-to-follow steps. I then end with some brief reflections on how to ensure you’re posting content that is safe and smart online.
Sound good? Let’s get into it. First up on “How To Appeal a Mistaken Content Decision” is…
The good news is that you absolutely can appeal a mistaken content decision on Instagram. There are two ways to do so:
- Open up the message you received about why you received a violation.
- Click for “Ask for a review” at the bottom
- Follow the on-screen instructions
If, for some reason, that’s not working for you, try this instead:
- In the app (not on your PC!), go to your profile
- Tap the three horizontal lines in the top right, then tap “Settings”
- Tap “Help”
- Tap “Account Status”
- Tap the content that was mistakenly down, and then tap “Request a review”
- Tap “Submit request”
Pretty simple, huh? Stay tuned to hear back from Instagram. If, after they review your request, Instagram still decides your content should remain taken down, you can appeal their decision to Meta’s Oversight Board. (Do know, though, that, in that case, there’s a good chance your content in fact presents a very difficult, tough question about what does/does not violate Community Guidelines, as opposed to something totally innocuous.
Next up, there’s…
What about TikTok? Great news – you can appeal a mistaken content decision here, too. Once again, there are two ways to do it (both quite similar to Insta!):
- In your TikTok Inbox, click on the message reporting your violation
- Tap “Submit an appeal”
- Follow the instructions provided
- Go to the video in question (you should still be able to see it)
- Tap “Community Guidelines violation: See details
- Tap “Submit an appeal”
- Follow the instructions provided
And…all done! Stay tuned to hear back from TikTok. Oh, and one important note: please be sure not to delete the content that is under review. If you do, and you win your appeal, TikTok may not be able to get rid of the violation associated with your account…which would be even more frustrating!
And finally, we’ve got…
Once again, it’s not too tough to submit an appeal. Just follow these steps:
- Get on your PC and head over to Facebook
- Click your profile picture in the upper right corner
- Click “Settings & privacy”
- Click “Support Inbox”
- Open the message Facebook sent you about your content violation
- Click “disagree with decision”
All done! And once again, should Facebook get back to you with the same decision, you can appeal their decision to the company’s Oversight Board.
Now, briefly, before I wrap up the post, I want to end with some thoughts/reflections on sharing content online in a manner that is smart and safe – and thus, not likely to violate any platforms’ Community Guidelines. First, it helps to familiarize yourself with the Guidelines. Have you ever read or thought about them? I’m willing to bet no…which means you’re in the dark, and that can make you vulnerable to inadvertent violations. When you have a moment, take 15 minutes and browse the rules. Not only will you walk away with a great understanding of the platform’s rules, it’ll be interesting food for thought about how platforms draw boundaries. Second – and if you’ve read Ask Trish, you’ll be familiar with this one – think before you type. Always ask yourself: is this joke taking it too far? Will I regret this tomorrow? What would my family think of this? In the moment, something might be funny…but a few hours later, you might realize how awful it is…but it’s too late. Think critically about what you say and do online, the same way you do in-person. And finally, third, when in doubt, get a second opinion. Ask a friend or two or even a family member what they think. If you’ve got the sign-off from several folks, especially a family member, you’re probably all good to go.
I hope this post was informative and helpful – and that you’ve come away with a better sense of what to do in the case of accidental takedowns and how, generally, to be smart and responsible when you post online. Whether you now have other related questions (which I’m always happy to answer!) or there’s now a completely different issue on your mind (also totally here for it!), please don’t hesitate to share your questions, thoughts, or perspectives here. Your question just might be featured in an upcoming TikTok/blog post! Not only do you get some helpful advice (and, if I might say so myself, an ~incredible~ Ask Trish video), our entire Ask Trish community benefits, too. Your decision to share a question may encourage someone else with a question of their own to do the same! So, please, please, please take just 30 seconds (no kidding, that’s all the time it takes), and fill out the form. Thank you in advance for your fantastic questions!
I hope you enjoy a great rest of your week,