The internet is full of cute cats, but some can have devastating effects.
On Friday evening, Chennai-based technology blogger Varun Krishnan was locked out of his Facebook account after he shared a photo of an innocent looking cat with a friend.
“It might sound stupid but this just happened to me,” Krishnan told Mashable India. “I was chatting with friends, got one cat image on WhatsApp, it was so cute that I sent it to a friend.” But when Facebook Messenger app immediately asked Krishnan to re-enter his credentials, he knew something was amiss.
“Before I realized, my devices were getting logged off. Even on PC, Messenger notified me that my Facebook account has been disabled, he added. My photos, my Facebook Ads account (Varun runs FoneArena, a tech blog), they wiped my presence off Facebook in a matter of seconds for a cat photo.”
Facebook didnt offer any explanation to Krishnan as to how that photo violated its terms of service that led to his account getting disabled. Its a funny photo of a suit wearing cat. Though, when examined closely, the photo also has some blurred text in a foreign language.
Reports suggest that others who have tried sharing the same photo some after making alterations have also had their Facebook accounts disabled. We also tried doing this with a test account but nothing happened.
Facebook has reinstated Krishnans account, and apologized for the incident. The company, however, didnt elaborate what about the picture made it block the account. Our team found this was a mistake & have restored your account. Were sorry for the trouble this caused you, Facebook Security Communications team told FoneArena in a statement.
Facebook has gotten more alarmed lately about the pictures people are sharing on the social network. Last month, over 100 of Facebook’s biggest meme pages boycotted the website for a similar reason, and in the hope of exposing and making “transparent the reporting and deletion process on the worlds largest social network, and show[ing] how it contributes to the censorship methods of the future.”
This isnt the first time Facebook has blocked a users account after it had issues with images they were sharing. Over the years, the companys methodology and judgement over what it deems fit to be shared on Facebook have been questioned and criticized by many. Last month, the social juggernaut blocked South African TV and Radio Producer Msizi Nkosi after he shared images of Swazi Maidens wearing traditional attire.
The company also was under hot water after it removed Napalm Girl photo from its site. Norway newspaper editor had blasted Zuckerberg for censoring the iconic Vietnam War photograph. We have reached out to Facebook for more details. In the meantime, try not to share that cat picture with anyone.