A group of Fallout 76 players have been banned by Facebook following the storming of the United States Capitol last week, and they believe it is due to the name of their group.
The players have adopted the name of the Free States, a fictional militia movement in Fallout 76 which consisted of survivalists who were willing to begin again in a better world after the destruction of the Great War. Though they were eventually wiped out by the Scorched plague, they were defined by their shared skepticism of the government of the United States, and retreated to their purpose-built bunkers when tensions between their country and China intensified. The Free States also had no interest in allying with any other faction, and were keen to maintain their power by being diffused across the region.
The Facebook group has been banned for the second time, the first occurrence happening last October, and the players don't know why the platform has taken this course of action. "Facebook is unfortunately the easiest platform to reach thousands of people at once, and we will no longer have that asset," said Non_Serviam79, the leader of the Free States Militia on Facebook, in an interview with Polygon. Indeed, owing to the lockdowns in place in a number of countries and the health guidance to help stop the spread of coronavirus, online social gatherings are more important than ever before.
Annoyingly, the group were in the middle of a giveaway while collaborating with other roleplay groups on the platform, and this ban has thrown a spanner in the works. The fact that Facebook has not issued an explanation for the ban infers that it was carried out automatically in a blanket wave of bans. According to Facebook, the Free States Militia has "posted things that don't follow [its] Community Standards more than once." Its policies cover "violence and criminal behavior," including incitement, discussions of public harm, and "organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence." Non_Serviam79 disagreed, and added that the members of the group are only roleplaying within the Fallout world.
"The Facebook page is 100% Fallout related," they continued. "I'd say 90% of the page is lore. We write our stories in line with 76's Free States Militia faction. 5% is group events, and 5% are in-game photos. [We write] about our individual characters and their adventures in the wasteland." They believe that a person-oriented approach would work much better in identifying whether or not a group is dangerous, rather than an automated approach. "Adult games have adult themes. There will be a bleed over from reality into fiction as a result," concluded Non_Serviam79. "Banning words such as 'gun,' 'acid,' or 'militia' only serves to make people feel as though they are helping. But in reality, they are only making things worse."
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