Facebook and Facebook Messenger are blocking any links, messages, or posts that include Minds.com unless users fill out a CAPTCHA to show that they really wanted to tell someone about the social networking site. Minds is a Facebook alternative that is encrypted, open source, and focuses on free speech. The site recently rolled out crypto tokens to reward users for participation.
If you heard that Messenger might be blocking reference to minds and you were wondering if it was true, Heavy.com tested the rumor and yes, Facebook Messenger is blocking links that include references to Minds.com. But this is not limited to Facebook Messenger. The block also happens if you try to post Minds.com links on your status. This isn’t a permanent block. If you fill out the CAPTCHA, then you can post the link. But Facebook makes it very clear that they recommend users do not post links to Minds.com.
It’s unclear why Facebook has set up this hurdle. Minds.com is not a spam site, it’s simply a newer social network that utilizes cryptocurrency. It also doesn’t raise any malware or virus warnings.
On Thursday, Facebook also removed 800 business pages and accounts. Facebook said in a blog post that it was deleting 559 pages and 251 accounts “that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” But many owners of those pages said they don’t understand why they were deleted and they were not breaking rules or spamming users. After the purge, Minds.com emerged as one of the Facebook alternatives that many people were considering. But now mentions of Minds.com have to go through a CAPTCHA filter before they are approved.
Here’s what happens if you try to post about Minds.com on Messenger or on your Facebook status. (This happened to me, and I’ve seen others talking about the same results.)
First you will see a message that reads: “Security check. It looks like this link is unsecure: minds.com. To protect your account, we recommend not posting the link.” Facebook boldly recommends not sharing Minds posts, but lets you go ahead and do so if you really must. If you try to just hit Submit without the CAPTCHA you’ll get:
You can’t bypass the CAPTCHA. If you just don’t fill it out, you’ll see this in Messenger:
If you do fill out the CAPTCHA, then your post or status will go through successfully.
If you click on “Why am I seeing this?” Facebook will tell you the following:
“Security Check. This is a standard security test that we use to prevent spammers from creating fake accounts and spamming users. If you think this doesn’t go against our Community Standards let us know.”
At this point, you can proceed to a page where you let Facebook know why you don’t think Minds.com is an unsecure spam site.
As of the time of publication, it’s not known why Facebook has set up this hurdle to Minds.com shares. Jack Ottman, COO of Minds, wrote on Minds.com: “Facebook has recently stopped allowing the term ‘minds.com’ to be sent privately to friends using their messenger. The fact that they are monitoring your private messages in the first place is bad enough, but now they feel the need to tell you what you can or cannot say. Scary stuff. We have tried reaching out to them countless times to rectify this but have not received a single response. Oh, and they also deleted hundreds of alternative media pages that people have spent years building.”
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, where a website or link was blocked on Messenger and on status updates. In fact, a search can show people talking about this question and approaching Facebook about it. The only thing the Facebook Help Team has said in response to questions about these issues is a suggestion to run the website through the Facebook Debugger, and then to talk to the Facebook Developers team about making their website complaint so Facebook’s systems will detect it as safe. However, Minds.com has said that they reached out to Facebook multiple times without a response.
If you want to get around it, you can always just post a screenshot from Minds like I did on my business page:
On an interesting note, Facebook is not blocking all its competitors’ sites. Heavy tried posting links to MeWe.com and Steemit.com, and those went through just fine. It appears Minds may be the only competitor facing this CAPTCHA requirement at this time.
This is a developing story. If Facebook provides a public response to the Minds.com CAPTCHA, we will update this story with that information. If you know of other Facebook competitors facing similar issues, let us know in the comments below.
READ NEXT: See the top Facebook alternatives here.