Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic January 02, 2018 - 2:30 pm

Facebook says it’s OK to sell seal-skin items

"We recognize the deep importance of seal and other animal products to Indigenous Canadians"

JANE GEORGE
It's ok to sell seal-skin kamiks like these ones offered for sale on a Facebook swap and sell page, says the social media company, which back-pedalled on its restrictive commerce policy after some similar postings were refused. (PHOTO/FACEBOOK)
It's ok to sell seal-skin kamiks like these ones offered for sale on a Facebook swap and sell page, says the social media company, which back-pedalled on its restrictive commerce policy after some similar postings were refused. (PHOTO/FACEBOOK)

It was all “a mistake,” says a Facebook spokesperson, that a Facebook posting selling seal-skin mitts was refused.

In December, right before Christmas, an Iqaluit woman, a member of one of the city’s two sell-and-swap Facebook pages, which together have nearly 30,000 members, wanted to know why her posting on the sale of new seal-skin pualuks (mittens) was refused.

The Iqaluit seller had received a message that her posting was “Rejected: There are issues with your product. It looks like you’re trying to sell an item that doesn’t meet our policies. Common items we don’t allow people to sell include animals, guns or illegal products.”

Facebook said in a statement forwarded to Nunatsiaq News that “we recognize the deep importance of seal and other animal products to Indigenous Canadians and want to clarify that products like the one the seller posted are allowed for sale on our platform. This post was removed in error and the seller is encouraged to repost the item. We apologize for this mistake and value the feedback that helped us identify and correct it as quickly as possible.”

A Facebook spokesperson, who did not want his name to be cited, said in an email that “our reviewing system is robust but it’s not perfect.”

“Sometimes things get flagged when they shouldn’t. That’s why it’s so important to get this feedback so that we can fix mistakes as quickly as possible and learn from them,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said Facebook reviewed its commerce policy, which does not allow the sale of animals, living or dead—and animal parts, including pelts, and determined that items like mitts, jewelry, boots and jackets are allowed within the policy.

Facebook’s Marketplace launched in Canada only in July 2017, although its commerce policy, which applies to buy, sell or swap pages, has been around for “quite some time,” Facebook said.

“The removal of the seal mitt posting was a mistake. The seller should be able to re-post without problem,” the spokesperson said.

If a seller’s items on Marketplace are flagged and removed when they feel that they shouldn’t be, the seller can request an item appeal on Facebook’s Marketplace Item Appeal centre here: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/953354718105045

Content prohibited on Facebook still includes illegal prescription or recreational drugs and tobacco products such as snuff, which has also been advertised on Facebook in Nunavut, as well as adult products or services, and alcohol.

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(3) Comments:

#1. Posted by Cause célèbre on January 03, 2018

A great victory over the oppressor has been won!!!

#2. Posted by Identification of Products on January 03, 2018

I wonder how Facebook detects items that it prohibits from selling on its platform? Must be a technical process, as I can’t really imagine staff monitoring millions of sales around the globe on a regular basis.  How did mitts or sealskin mitts get detected off of a list of animals, guns or illegal items? Or tobacco, alcohol or adult content?

Just curious how the system detects and weans off items.

#3. Posted by Ivar the Boneless on January 04, 2018

#2 Probably by key words

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