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Facebook confirms it briefly limited White House official Dan Scavino's account

File photo of Dan Scavino. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Washington, USA Mar 19, 2019, 11.11 PM (IST)

Facebook Inc confirmed Tuesday it had briefly blocked White House social media director Dan Scavino from replying to comments from a reader, saying it was aimed at stopping "automated bots" and had apologized to him.

The social media company said in an emailed statement that it caps "the amount of identical, repetitive activity coming from one account in a short period of time, such as @mentioning people. These limits can have the unintended consequence of temporarily preventing real people like Dan Scavino from engaging in such activity but lift in an hour or two, which is what happened in this case. We’ve been in touch with him and have apologized for the inconvenience."

Earlier Tuesday US President Donald Trump said he will look into Facebook's decision to block public comments by White House social media director Dan Scavino.

Scavino posted a screenshot late on Monday of a message from Facebook saying he was temporarily blocked from making public comments because some of his comments had been reported as spam.

Facebook said the issue was an "unintended consequence" of the platform's policy on scam, adding, it has been in touch with Scavino and has apologized to him.

Explaining the error, Facebook said it caps the amount of identical, repetitive activity coming from one account in a short period of time as to stop automated bots.

"These limits can have the unintended consequence of temporarily preventing real people like Dan Scavino from engaging in such activity, but lift in an hour or two, which is what happened in this case," a Facebook spokesperson said.

"Dear Facebook—AMAZING. WHY ARE YOU STOPPING ME from replying to comments followers have left me - on my own Facebook Page!!?? People have the right to know. Why are you silencing me??? Please LMK!" Scavino said in his post earlier.

Trump pounced on the issue. "I will be looking into this!" Trump said in a Twitter post.

Facebook said the issue is "content-agnostic and is solely about addressing potentially scammy repetitive behaviour."

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump accused social media platforms Facebook, YouTube and Twitter of favouring his Democratic opponents over him and his fellow Republicans. Alphabet Inc's Google owns YouTube.

Twitter declined to comment while Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Story highlights

Facebook said the issue was an 'unintended consequence' of the platform's policy on scam, adding, it has been in touch with Scavino and has apologized to him.