Instagram's terrifying false positive nearly ruined a tech writer's life

Earlier this week, tech writer and Google Ventures general partner M.G. Siegler received a late-night notification from Meta informing him that his accounts on Instagram, Threads, and Facebook had been suspended for a horrifying alleged violation that he refuses to even name.

Despite frantically appealing the suspension, Meta stubbornly upheld the decision and wrote:"No one can see or find your account and you can't use it. All your information will be permanently deleted. You cannot request another review of this decision."

From Siegler's Spyglass newsletter where he recounts the kafkaesque incident:

I repeat: you cannot request another review of this decision. That's it. It's over. Never met the judge who suspended me. The jury to whom I appealed. Only the executioner. Sorry. Have a nice life.

Perhaps in prison – as clicking on the "Read more about this rule" relays a few bits of information you never want to read. Including the notice that Meta is required to report this to the appropriate authorities. Jesus Fucking Christ.

At this point, I stopped dicking around and messaged anyone and everyone I knew at Meta/Instagram from executives on down. But it was also the middle of the night in the US now. I was freaking out.

Fortunately, Sigler is well-connected in the industry, so he was able to work outside of the algorithmic bureaucracy that Facebook employs. This fiasco exposes the nightmarish reality of how little due process exists on platforms that wield enormous power over our digital lives. That a simple glitch or bad algorithm could falsely accuse someone of the worst offenses and then summarily convict them with no appeal is a terrifying prospect.

Read his full account here. It's a horrifying glimpse into the capricious wrath that awaits us all should we displease our Silicon Valley overlords.

Previously: Zuckerberg personally and repeatedly thwarted efforts by Meta`s management to address teen mental health dangers