by Liesl Clark
Welcome to Trash Backwards, home of what Pinterest has recently labeled “spam or other inappropriate content”. While we can connect you with some good ideas for ways you can reuse your spam tins, we don’t believe our ideas and articles are inappropriate or spam on their own. Here’s our story:
In March, we set up a Trash Backwards account at Pinterest. In two months, we’ve garnered 0ver 2500 followers on our most popular boards, 1100 Pinterest users following our entire account, 1800 pins and 15,700 repins. We love Pinterest, not least of all because it helps us prove our curated content about how to reuse, repurpose, regift, or even refuse to buy-new the stuff of our everyday lives is of interest to Pinterest users. From the hundreds of reuse options for pallets, wine corks, mason jars, and T-shirts to the smart home hacks reusing bread clips, silica gel, and toilet paper rolls, our followers are engaged in sharing these transformative tips, DIY projects, and smart solutions.
We’re not selling anything on Pinterest, nor do we participate in any affiliate programs with sites such as Amazon. In fact, not only are we not selling anything, we’re working to get people to stop buying new items and throwing out old ones. Trash Backwards is the hub of a movement providing solutions for our world’s excessive waste. We’re developing a mobile app to enable users worldwide to upcycle, repurpose, fix, sell, donate, or pass along just about anything under the sun. We have been utilizing Pinterest’s enticing pinboards to connect people with reuse solutions for items of all kinds, and we love the immediate feedback from followers on our pins.
We also occasionally pin our own original content about reducing, reusing, repurposing and rethinking our everyday trash. We publish approximately two new posts to our website per week and then pin one or two images to a board or two per post, amidst the hundreds of other wonderful pages of reuse ideas we find on the web or through Pinterest.
About 10 days ago, without warning, all of our pins to our own content were converted from live links to our site to a screen that looks like this:
This impacted every pin and repin to our site. We received no warning from Pinterest. We discovered it when we went looking for an explanation to the sudden death of traffic from these pins to our site. On the plus side for Pinterest, it appears that their new spam filters work well to stop traffic to suspect sites. On the downside for us, we truly don’t believe that there is anything spammy or inappropriate to our original content.
It took 2 messages to Pinterest’s Help Desk and 5 days to get a response, which was simply an automated response to our second message indicating the problem was “solved.” But the problem has not been solved completely, as far as we can see. It appears that we are now able to pin our own content without being flagged as spam flag, but there’s one important consequence that has not been addressed as of this writing. Each of our pins that was flagged as spam/inappropriate content still carries this warning, and we have no way to delete or edit the repins. We can delete our own flagged pins of our own content from our own boards, but only Pinterest has the power to remove the flags from the repins of our original pins. For now, our Trash Backwards pins are out there marked as “spam or other inappropriate content”, and there is nothing we can do to restore our good name.
Spam I Am (Not): We promise we aren’t spam. At Trash Backwards, we want you to buy nothing. Enrich your life by reusing what you already have. This is personal for us. We have pictures of our own kids on our site, complete with documentary shorts we’ve filmed all over the world to educate others about the planet’s crises of too much waste.
We’re not giving up on Pinterest; we plan to persevere. Since we can’t delete the repins of our so-called spam, we tried to create a new board called “Spam I Am (Not)!” We wanted a way to corral all our spam-labelled pins, taking them off our popular boards. Unfortunately, while others can repin our flagged content, we cannot move it ourselves. So, what’s an un-spammer to do? PINgineers, please help us! We do love Pinterest, but we’d love to see authentic original content treated as such, not labeled as spam or inappropriate.
If you believe your pins have been inappropriately flagged by Pinterest, please let us know. We’d love to put our heads together to further understand how individuals and organizations can deal with this. If you are a Pinterest engineer who can help us fix this, please see our most recent support ticket #134083. We’re looking forward to the resolution of this matter to everyone’s benefit.