Facebook Faceoff

Facebook Says Blocking Viral ‘Reasons My Son Is Crying’ Tumblr Was a ‘Mistake’

Sorry, no censorship scandal is afoot.
(Photo: Tumblr)

(Photo: Tumblr)

Over the weekend, a Tumblr called Reasons My Son Is Crying went viral, thanks in large part to Reddit. The dad responsible for the Tumblr uploads photos of his kid crying with wry captions about the backstory behind the meltdown. “I wouldn’t let him drown in this pond,” is one example.

This morning, BuzzFeed discovered that Facebook began blocking users from sharing a link to the Tumblr. Many users also awoke to find the link they shared last night deleted from their Timelines.

So what’s the deal? Was this a Facebook censorship conspiracy, with the company taking a moral stand against the mildly controversial Tumblr that seems to capitalize on a child’s misery? Not exactly.

A Facebook representative told Betabeat that blocking the link was “a mistake by one of our automated systems,” and noted that it’s “already been fixed.” When we tried to post the link again, it was successfully published to Facebook. Furthermore, deleted posts containing the link appear to be back.

It’s unclear exactly what caused the automated system to flag the post, but we surmised it might have to do with just how quickly the Tumblr spread. If links to it went from zero to thousands in a matter of hours, it’s easy to see why Facebook’s robots might think the link was spam or contained malware. A Facebook rep told Betabeat this “wasn’t exactly” the case. “This was a false positive on an automated system that has 100’s of features, so it wasn’t based on any single factor,” he clarified. Seems like Facebook itself isn’t quite sure why the link was blocked.

So go forth, Facebook user: post links to crying babies to your heart’s content.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com