Categories Uncategorized Routing Around Facebook’s Attempt to Block Me Post author By John Scalzi Post date February 20, 2014 41 Comments on Routing Around Facebook’s Attempt to Block Me Hey, that link to this site that Facebook won’t let you click on, because it’s “unsafe?” It goes here. Share: By John Scalzi I enjoy pie. View Archive → ← Houston: I’ll See You Memorial Day Weekend At Comicpalooza → Sean Fodera Makes an Apology 41 replies on “Routing Around Facebook’s Attempt to Block Me” How does it feel being considered a risk? Risky! Sometimes I get that annoying bot message two or three times, and then I post exactly what I tried before. I always said you should come with seatbelts. (No, I didn’t.) Must be the “Insect Army”. They’re afraid of buggy web sites. Probably because of the threats of violence, I mean! The very first comment is about a mallet! – Apropos to very little I have Admuncher set to remove scripts with the word “facebook” and block the url ‘facebook.com.’ Some pages load faster, most have fewer buttons, some break. Don’t flatter yourself. That message pops up most every time for links for me. If I had to guess, the “Unsafe” label probably means a link led to malware or porn. Looking over the links on that page, the only one that could possibly do that is a dead link to pervocracy (not putting .com on that or this could end up being a similarly unsafe page). “Scalzi Porn” is most definitely the name of a garage band. All you technical “fixers” – I think you are missing the point. It’s just humorous. :-) You can add that link to your Facebook page as whatever dot scalzi dot com slash 2014/02/17/mary-robinette-kowal-offers-herself-up-as-a-useful-representative-example/ I complained to Facebook when their “unsafe site” message came up the first time. This is what happens when people “report” a page to Facebook as being offensive. So, people don’t like the fact that you’re so egalitarian and shit. FWIW, McAfee’s SiteAdvisor software thinks the page in question is unsafe: “When we visited this site, we found it exhibited one or more risky behaviors.” I haven’t found it to be complaining about any other page on Whatever, which makes me wonder if (a) the page in question had been hacked or (b) somebody’s snuck a malware-containing comment past the Mallet. Hm. Odd. I looked at all the links on that page. If I had to guess, the problem is the post dated: February 17, 2014 at 10:10 pm It contains a link to p e r v o c r a c y . b l o g s p o t . c o m Which may be labeled an “adult” site by some webbots. If you remove that link, the problem might go away. I got the same thing from McAfee from the link here. May not be a Facebook thing. I think I got to that post before with no problem so there may be something else going on. Good on you! This post clearly says that the link was blocked, so people who don’t want to read stuff blocked by Facebook are warned. Meanwhile people like me can read it. May your karma points go through the roof. :) I’m not a part of Farcebuk. Link worked fine. Facebook has a tendency to keep people from seeing things they will hate. Your post probably ticked off enough people that it got “blacklisted”. Greg: It’s been linked to before from here so I doubt it, but just in case I edited the comment to keep the link but not spell out the URL. I also get the message from McAfee about the link being unsafe. I think this is no Facebook problem. Josh Jasper: *chuckle* (and a handful of peanuts, flung from somewhere in the Callahan’s ‘verse) –glinda Huh? I don’t understand … How strange. Scalzi: It’s been linked to before from here so I doubt When I clicked on that link from my computer, I got a warning from my antivirus software that the site category was “adult”. But that just might be my software. I have no idea how facebook figures out when to warn. And someone already pointed out above that it could just have been that a facebook user merely clicked on a “report site” thing over the link to your page because they didn’t like your politics. I have seen some “normal” sites get temporarilly get hacked and my computer will throw up an alert that its a malware site for a while after the hacking was undone. But I think you’ve said your wordpress stuff is actually handled by an outside source, so I’d guess if they do wordpress for a living, they’d have most/all of the patches in place for you. It would be interesting to see what, if anything, clears up the Facebook block. just as an aside — pervocracy is NOT a porn site. i mean, i assume most everyone [who cares] knows that, but then again, you know what they say about assuming… i actually think Holly[except zie changed hir name, but i can’t remember it right now, because i haven’t slept in 2 days. sorry!] and John would get along REALLY well. they have lots of things in common, when it comes to worldview and POV [from what i’ve read from them both, i mean — i’ve met John briefly at a con, once. never met Holly-but-that’s-not-hir-name-really, though i wish i could meet hir.] not that i think John’s big into BDSM, but the everything else around it — SSC, Enthusiastic Consent, Safe Spaces, stopping the people who are ACTUALLY the problem, the anti-creeper con policies, etc etc etc. and they’re both snarky and sarcastic and hilarious. and, wow, babbling, have i mentioned i’ve been awake something like 50 hours? i need to figure out a way to let my computer know when i shouldn’t be allowed to post… why don’t we have A.I.s? i would KILL for a Minerva or a Mycroft… It’s been flagged on McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, which some other services (yahoo in the past) use to filter/block links as well. http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/http%3A//whatever.scalzi.com/2014/02/17/mary-robinette-kowal-offers-herself-up-as-a-useful-representative-example/ Oddly it shows they have categorized it as malicious despite it showing as safe on all the enumerated tests. No malicious links, no infected files, etc. Most likely the McAfee blacklisting on that one post is the source of sites like Facebook also treating it as malicious; they probably obtain those services from McAfee. In the past this sort of experience has been noted by people who have posted controversial posts and it may be a form of trolling. Even stranger, McAfee lists your site in general as safe so this does appear to be very specificly targeted at that one post. This includes results from both TrustedSource and SiteAdvisor http://www.mcafee.com/threat-intelligence/domain/default.aspx?domain=whatever.scalzi.com http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/http%3A//whatever.scalzi.com/ So basically all their automated tools fail to flag your site, but the moderated classification of that specific post is still “Malicious” with no explanation given. Very odd. Usually Blacklisting can be undone in a few days by following the site-advisor link and, as owner of the site, submitting for retesting. Based on the test results published (all green) this does seem like it was manually flagged – not sure if user reports can be used or if it was done by an actual McAfee employee. I mistakenly searched on twitter for SFWA and there are a lot of people cheering on the “old guard” for resisting the censorship of those hypocrite lefties and calling us “public whiners”. So there are quite enough people to flag this page as malicious, it seems. The writer of pervocracy is Cliff. I’m not sure that’s it because I’ve linked directly to posts on pervocracy on Facebook without anyone getting warnings. I’m guessing a bunch of people reported the link to try to get Facebook to block it, I’ve seen that happen with other sites (happened at least a couple times I’ve come across with Skepchick and Pharyngula). McAfee is saying the same thing. That seems odd, since I’m not having that problem with the other parts of your site. Is it possible that someone is doing something malicious? Well, you are certainly high profile enough for some fedora-wearing script kiddie to try and take advantage of the many security holes in WordPress to hack the site, but I assume your techie would have noticed that sort of activity. So like the others I’m thinking it’s basically a malicious campaign to report your site as unsafe to Facebook and various security vendors. McAfee site advisor for p e r v o c r a c y.b l o g s p o t . c o m http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/http%3A//pervocracy.blogspot.com McAfee says its “safe”. Below that it has an entyr that says “Here’s what others think about this site. This doesn’t change how the site is rated, but it gives you an idea of other people’s experiences” and that shows about 50% of folks rated it with some sort of problem. Not sure if linking to a bad site would get you listed as a bad site. Is it just a weird coincidence that the person who threatened the entire world with a libel lawsuit just for linking to a dailydot.com article that quoted him is also the source of many of the quotes that are on the “representative example” post that is now blacklisted by McAfee? John’s site is hosted by WordPress.com’s VIP service, which one would certainly expect to be as hardened as possible. If a script-kiddie could get through WP VIP, they wouldn’t just be confining themselves to a single page on Scalzi’s Whatever – they’d be taking down every page on I Can Haz Cheezburger while they were at it for maximum lulz and kudos. Somebody(s) has managed to convince somebody at McAfee to manually flag the single page. It will be interesting to learn exactly how that occurred. Well McAfee’s entry for that post has been corrected at least: http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/http%3A//whatever.scalzi.com/2014/02/17/mary-robinette-kowal-offers-herself-%20up-as-a-useful-representative-example/ The good thing is that this means this sort of trolling gets undone a lot faster than it used to, assuming that was the issue. It used to take upwards of 3-4 days. Am I the only one who things it’s funny, those advocating correctness of speech and thought in publishing are upset at being cleaned up by anonymous committees with vague standards? htom: yes, you are the only one. Maybe troll elsewhere? Noadi — THANK YOU, i seriously could *NOT* remember hir name. i should have gone to the site and checked, but for some reason, it didn’t even cross my mind to do so. what’s wrong with me? on another note — i typed in ” whatever.com ” on Facebook, and it refused to post, saying it was “unsafe” — not that SPECIFIC POST, but THE SITE IN GENERAL. that’s… yeah [and i made this comment, about FB, on another thread, but… want to make sure it gets seen. so.] denelian, whatever.com is not the URL for this site. The URL is whatever.scalzi.com. That might make a wee bit of difference. htom: IME (IMO? not sure) those who talk about a _Correct_ way to do things have some pretty specific ideas about what that is, and get annoying when somebody doesn’t do things the _Correct way. You know, the whack the kid’s knuckles with a ruler for writing left handed type. Which is quite different from “Get your hand off of my ass!” “No.” KerPOW! “Thanks.” – Surprised? not really. Shawn There are occasions when The Correct Way is, indeed, The Correct Way; for example The Correct Way to intubate a patient involves Getting it into the Airway, and will continue to be Getting it into the Airway until the sun goes nova, or we no longer have airways, which will probably happen a great deal sooner. This is not an area in which democracy has any role to play; one can have healthy debate between doctors about the best ways of Getting it into the Airway, but no one in their right minds does that when they are Getting it into the Airway, and they sure as hell don’t pause to consider whether securing the airway is, in the great scheme of things, antithetical to the spirit of free inquiry which might point instead to the discovery that there are human beings who don’t need to breathe. Of course, anyone deciding to do so would find themselves in front of a committee, and I suppose they could complain that the rules were too vague, and that anyway the spirit of free inquiry must override the interest of said patient in staying alive, because after all they might have turned out to be the first human being who didn’t need to breathe, and thus humanity would have taken a giant leap forward. But they don’t, because they are not total idiots… It’s funny. Facebook claims they’re trying to protect me by blocking sites, but in all the time I’ve been there, I’ve only come across three sites that were actually blocked: 1. A browser plugin that allows you to control how Facebook is displayed (an obvious threat to their business model), 2. A Spam-blocking service that is particularly effective against email resellers (hmm…), and 3. Now this. Needless to say, I’m not particularly impressed with FB’s attempts to “protect” me. :) @Jacob – I love that Site Advisor thinks this site’s category is Sports. Folks, I’m away until 3/3, so comments are being suspended for now. Comments are closed.