TODAY |

Wellington’s charity Batman ignored by Facebook after page removed

We're talking about Wellington Batman. He doesn't want his real name known, so we'll call him Bruce. Bruce had worked in special effects, so decided to go the whole hog for a Halloween costume one year and create a Batman suit to make him the envy of every Dark Knight fan.

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‘Bruce’ brings joy to the faces of people young and old, but the social media giant wiped the smile off his as he tried to learn why his page was taken down. Source: Fair Go

The response he got was nothing short of incredible, so he decided to put it to good use. He started to do hospital visits, school fairs and charity collections. Whatever the event, there were always kids, young and old, wanting their photo taken with him.

"It's really cool to see the look on a kid's face when they think they see the real Batman," he says.

His work as Batman grew and grew and eight years ago, he started a Facebook page to let people know where he'd be appearing, and for parents to share the photos they'd snapped.

All was going as well as a finely-tuned batmobile, until one day his Facebook page was out of reach.

Bruce explains, "there was a warning note saying the page had been taken down because another page similar to mine had breached community standards. There was a button to dispute the decision, so I clicked on the button .. and the page was gone".

So much for being able to dispute it. So Bruce tried to contact Facebook, following the instructions they give. He went to the Help Centre and put information into the "Report a Problem" link. He didn't get a reply.

But Batman doesn't give up easily, so he did the same thing again ... and again ... all up some twenty attempts to contact Facebook, and nothing. There was only one course of action left, Wellington Batman got on the batphone to Fair Go.

Fair Go is well aware that social media's begun to take on more of a role when it comes to censoring posts and pages. Facebook says the decisions are based on whether or not its' code of community conduct is breached.

Bruce has no problem with censorship taking place, "I'm all for keeping the community safe but from people that are doing something wrong", he adds "I haven't done anything wrong I'm aware of, if I have tell me and I'll fix it".

But faceless Facebook proved impossible to get hold of. They have some 45,000 employees working for them, the but not a single one answered repeated attempts by Bruce to understand why his page had gone.

We showed Bruce the Code of Conduct that Facebook uses. It has four main platforms. These are safety, dignity, privacy and misrepresentation. Bruce could think of nothing on his page that breached any of these. All the photos were supplied by parents, and the posts were all about upcoming events.

Armed with this information, Fair Go got in touch with Facebook directly. We had a power Wellington Batman could only dream of ... access to a named Policy Communications Officer at Facebook.

We gave them the details of Wellington Batman's page. Within a couple of days, the page had been restored and an apology sent. Holy achievement!

Bruce was thrilled. He'd thought eight years of photos were all lost. He couldn't thank Fair Go enough saying "you guys are awesome, to do in a few days what's taken me months and even then I couldn't achieve it, I'm really appreciative of that".

But it didn't take away his frustration. Given all the effort Facebook puts into getting people to spend more time on their platform, he's astounded they put so little into their customer service.

He adds that for the average person, or even for a superhero, "there really isn't anyway of getting in touch, no phone number, no email".

If Wellington Batman could fight Facebook on this one, he would. But he feels his time is better spent getting back to his good deeds. He'll just be sure to download all his photos as he goes.