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Facebook blocked a newspaper article about police brutality

If you tried to share a New York Daily News article about police brutality on Facebook today, you may have run into trouble. The article was blocked from sharing on Facebook for much of the afternoon, with some users receiving a message that the content had been blocked because it “includes content that other people have reported as abusive.”

The Verge confirmed the block shortly after noon ET. Facebook prevented the article from being scraped by the company’s link tools, and also stopped the URL from being shared. Other Daily News articles were unaffected. Our tests seemed to indicate spam issues, with the error message reading: “Posts that look like spam according to our community guidelines are blocked on Facebook and can’t be shared.”

The block has since been lifted and seems to have only lasted a few hours. Reached by The Verge, a Facebook representative said the article was mistakenly listed as spam as a result of an automation error. It’s unclear whether brigade voting or other user campaigns might have triggered the automated error.

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