Facebook has suspended more Fallout 76 roleplayers over the past week, without a warning or explanation. Towards the end of last year, the social media company suspended members of a Fallout 76 roleplay group called Free States Militia.
Fallout 76 is an online action role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and was released in 2018.
More Fallout 76 roleplayers have come out to say that their accounts have been restricted. The users that have been restricted by Facebook did not receive any warning, explanation, or instructions on how to appeal the decision.
“When you go to the page that tells you that you’re banned, it glitches out, and you have to hard-stop the page to get out,” said the creator of Fallout 76 group called House of Bedlam, Valorie Kaye. “I checked FB help groups. Multiple banned people, same exact ban, and same weird glitch. I had to restart my phone three times yesterday to exit Facebook.”
The account restrictions came shortly after the January 6 riots at the US Capitol. Since then, social media companies have increased censorship, including permanently removing some accounts, in an attempt to combat “election misinformation” and “incitement of violence.”
Facebook has policies against criminal behavior and violence involving “organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence.”
The restricted users theorized that the platform’s moderation systems are flagging the Fallout 76 lore as incitement to violence.
For instance, the Free States Militia is based on an in-game militia movement that unsuccessfully tried to create a new society.
Additionally, some of these groups offer game weapon trading, which the moderation systems could wrongly flag as criminal activity.
To avoid tripping Facebook systems, the Free States Militia group, which had some of its members permanently banned last year, started using coded language.
“Even in the written stories, we have been careful to alphanumerically substitute letters in certain words so the intent of the story can be met without using what we thought were the trigger words,” explained the leader of the group, Bobby, speaking to PCGamesN.
Regardless of those measures, some members still had their accounts restricted.