Facebook blocked National Weather Service in Columbia even during major winter storm

Facebook blocked National Weather Service in Columbia even during major winter storm
(Source: National Weather Service | Twitter)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/Charlotte Observer) - Add the National Weather Service to the growing list of “fraudulent” accounts being disabled by Facebook.

NWS officials said Friday morning that their Columbia, S.C. Facebook page was disabled in late November “due to FB’s newly implemented security requirements.”

That means the weather service in Columbia was not allowed to post anything on the major winter storm that roared across the Carolinas last weekend.

NWS officials announced Friday the account had been re-activated, apparently after Facebook was convinced the Columbia office wasn’t impersonating the nation’s leading weather forecaster ... or trying to influence an election.

“Our account was one of the many NWS accounts across the country which was locked,” said a release posted on the newly restored account. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.“

It is not clear how many other NWS Facebook sites were blocked, but the agency’s headquarters posted an advance warning on Nov. 13 that the problem was spreading.

“NWS Headquarters has been working with Facebook to mitigate these issues,” said the warning. “Should you notice a long period without any posts from us, please know it is not intentional.”

Facebook has faced intense scrutiny in 2018 for hosting fake accounts, as well as pages accused of promoting “hate speech (and) terrorist propaganda,” according to the Washington Post.

Last month, the Post reported Facebook has removed more than one billion fake accounts.

It wasn’t clear exactly why the National Weather Service in Columbia made the company’s hit list.

Facebook says it disables accounts that don’t follow its terms, including “using a fake name, impersonating someone (or) violating our community standards.”

In late November the NWS Columbia Facebook account was disabled due to FB's newly implemented security requirements. Our...

Posted by US National Weather Service Columbia South Carolina on Friday, December 14, 2018