Domestic Education

Censorship Battle: Facebook vs Conservative Voices

UPDATE – July 11:  Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children has been removed by Facebook again this morning.

 

How would you feel if you found a message from Facebook on your wall falsely accusing you of posting something that violated their Terms of Use? Then they tell you they removed it, and threaten, “Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.” Not a pleasant way to start your day. Especially if you have no idea what they’re talking about.

That happened to us on Tuesday, June 18th, just four days after I wrote the article, “Facebook Executive BUSTED for Infiltrating Conservative Sites.” Lady Patriot, Julia Sieben, lost her Facebook page for the second time in a week that same day. We don’t know whether the two were related, but she did exchange emails with the same Facebook employee who helped her get her page back the last time they took her site down. She was told that someone was hacking into her account both times, so for her protection they had disconnected her account. She wasn’t a bit surprised when they told her the last IP address to log in to her account both times were the same, hers.

Yesterday morning Facebook shut down a conservative page with over 600,000 “LIKES”, Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. The page had posted a picture a while back that was unflattering to Muslims. They knew Facebook was unhappy about it, and weren’t sure what they were going to do. Facebook showed their disapproval by destroying these people’s hard work and livelihood. I had a long talk with Rick from Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children yesterday. He told me they started their page on June 1st of last year, and had accumulated all these “Likes” on their page and was reaching more than 2,000,000 (worldwide) in just over 13 months.

Facebook has taken down many conservative pages lately for what appears to be a differing opinion on political issues, especially issues involving Islam or Muslims. The most recent pages include: Pissed Off Right-Wingers, Being Liberal Means Being A Hypocrite, The Conservative Insurgent, Ban Islam, Prepare To Take America Back, and of course the latest, Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.

Since I wrote the Facebook article last month, Facebook banned me from posting links into my own Lady Patriot’s staff group and in any other group on Facebook. For a week, I was not allowed to “Like” or ‘Unlike” any pages, write on any pages but my own, comment on any pages or post in any group. Until I got the pop-up that said I couldn’t post, I had no idea that I was being punished or why. They just banned me. They effectively tied my hands when it came to building our readership through Facebook. It went on for days, and nobody at Facebook would talk to me. While doing some research last night, I did find out from a Facebook Moderator why I didn’t hear back from them.

I am not going to post the link here because this Moderator appears to be sincere and she does genuinely care about the weighty issues she deals with each day. She wrote an extremely enlightening article on her personal blog and answered some serious questions we have all been asking for some time. The following is quotes taken from an article written in April of this year.

  • “Why did Facebook never respond to my report or my ban issue?” – I’ll be blunt here. Overtaxed system, automatic algo ignored you. OR, not enough f**cks given about your issue if manually modded.
  • Does Facebook even see appeals or emails sent about my page or personal issue? Again, bluntly, no.  Facebook keeps and sometimes rotates out, one-single appeal email address that lands on someone’s list of things-to-do. The rest of them just reply with automated messages about how they might help, they might not. They won’t.
  • According to this article, Facebook has 100,000+ Moderators. – “Did I share that *most* of these people make around a dollar per hour to do this job? That’s the truth. Not me though. I am an American who demands rights and all, so I make approximately $29 dollars per hour more than them. Technically, I don’t even have to do any more than make sure they are clicking the buttons in the correct order. I don’t have to look at the images, but most of the time my focus on remaining unbiased in the face of, makes me do so anyway.”
  • Try to understand that for the most part, your bannings are carried out by an automatic algorithm and only a very small percentage of them handled by an actual person. Why is this? While Facebook can boast that they have nearly 1.5 billion users this year, the impressive feat is that they have 1.2 billion active users who log in nearly every day. Each one of those people have a different level of what offends them.

It’s heartbreaking that Facebook damages so many people’s lives just because their algorithms are cranked a little too far to the left. An algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. In simple terms, it is a set of commands that say if this group, page, or individual uses a particular word, then they are “flagged” as a problem. Once a person has been “flagged” another algorithm kicks in to further “watch” them. If they are tattled on, oops, I mean reported enough, or they use that specific word one time too many, they are “warned”. After the warning, they seem to be on borrowed time, as in the case of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.

Anyone who is paying attention to Facebook’s arbitrary algorithms know that these algorithms are set to favor groups and pages with a left world view rather than a right one. We were accused of posting a “link” to an article somewhere off of Facebook that supposedly had a video of a decapitation in it, yet this picture of a  decapitated person  is allowed to remain on Facebook without any problems. Someone reported the page Death to America for containing hate speech or symbols. Facebook said the page “did not violate the community standard on hate speech.” You can be sure, though, that if a page is anti-American, pro-Islam, and has the ultimate purpose to advance the Muslim message in the US, it will be perfectly acceptable on Facebook. The page Behead Those Who Disrespect Our Prophet is one of those that seem to be welcome. After all, it’s all those American loving, Constitution protecting, right-wing-nuts that must go.

These warnings seem to happen whether you are guilty or not. We got a warning without any wrongdoing as probably many people do. Facebook accused us of posting a link to an article that had a video of an Islamic decapitation. We never posted such a link, but we can’t prove it since they “said” they took it down. Nor can we prove that they didn’t join our “team” and do their own posting. Unfortunately, those pesky algorithm’s are on Facebook’s side.

We know they do join the staff on Facebook pages whenever they want. In fact, they weren’t happy when Lady Patriots exposed their executive, Joyce Tang, for placing herself as the Manager of the popular Facebook page, Breitbart – One Voice Silenced, Millions Awakened, without the consent or knowledge of the page’s staff. In fact, Joyce commented on the article. She apologized for forgetting to remove herself as Manager after she had finished her investigation. She went on to say:

“My best advice here is to check out what types of content are most engaging to your fans and continue to post that type of content. I hope this clears up any confusion. “

It was extremely nice of her to try to “clear up any confusion”, but it did not address the real issues we have with Facebook. Putting engaging content for our fans is not on the list of issues. We all put up excellent content, but being able to “share” that content is one of the bigger problems. “Broken” or “nonexistent” share buttons are a real issue. Getting punished for breaking arbitrary rules that don’t exist, being accused of putting content up that never happened, having our accounts and pages taken down without any redress are all serious issues that we would like to see Facebook address.

Facebook’s Public Policy Associate Manager, Frederic Wolens, called me on Saturday, June 15th, the day after my article was posted. He was concerned that I may have publicly posted Joyce Tang’s personal information. Of course, anyone who read the article knows that I only posted her name, her job history, and her job responsibilities, all of which are public information that she put on the internet herself. I wouldn’t even post links to this information because I didn’t want her to be harassed. She seems like an extremely likable person, except for the part where she destroys lives and people’s businesses. Other than that, she seems okay.

What gives Facebook this much power over people’s lives and livelihood? For one thing, they have over a billion users and every online business on the planet uses them to promote their product or service. Even many mom and pop corner grocery stores are going global and using the internet, and consequently Facebook. Most conservatives understand that Facebook is politically liberal, and they seem to destroy more conservative sites than liberal ones.

Daniel O’Rourke from The Misguided Children website says,

“Facebook’s actions in this situation is part of a larger problem in this country right now that is a trickledown effect of the mentality of the current administration in power in Washington D.C. Mark Zuckerberg is an open Obama supporter and Liberal. He and Facebook are engaged in the same type of behavior as the IRS when it comes to harassing and targeting conservative, Christian, Tea Party, and Patriot groups. It is the same behavior that we have seen from the Department of Justice targeting and harassing the free press and reporters in this country. The list goes on and on, but meanwhile, the typical double standard is in effect as always with the progressives, that being the idea that they are “tolerant” and “liberal” only within the context of spreading their message, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and attitudes, but the rest of us with different ideas, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and values must be silenced at all costs, by any means necessary, especially if your message is a conservative one not supportive of Obama.”

This doesn’t seem too out of character for an ultra liberal company who uses their money to buy and sell politicians and people as easily as Facebook does. While their headquarters are in the San Francisco area, they have had offices in Washington DC since 2007 that they use for their lobbying efforts. Facebook created a political action committee in September 2011 to influence the 2012 elections.

In February of this year, Mark Zuckerberg hosted a $3,000 a plate fundraiser for RINO, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto, CA, home. He has been friends with Christie since 2010 when he donated $100 million to New Jersey’s schools.

His latest political foray is in immigration reform. In April of this year, he co-founded a new lobbying group called fwd.us where he has poured tens of millions of his own dollars to push through the immigration bill. According to Wikipedia fwd.us is a 501(c)(4) lobbying group based in the United States that aims to lobby and advocate for its version of immigration reform, changes to the US education system to improve science and technology education, and the facilitation of scientific breakthroughs with broad public benefits. It is primarily supported and funded by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

Many of its “entrepreneurs” are listed below. There are others; however, we have listed some of the main ones here. Most of these companies will be familiar to anyone who has been on the internet for a while. And, us silly conservatives are concerned about internet privacy and our private correspondence and information. Knowing that these guys have our backs just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  • Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates (The go-to guy for Euthanasia and population control)
  • Co-founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman
  • Founder and CEO of Dropbox
  • Drew Houston, Co-founder of youtube
  • Steve Chen, Founder and CEO of Netflix
  • Reed Hastings, Co-founder of Paypal, Max Levchin
  •  Co-founder of Groupon, Andrew Mason
  • CEO, President and Director of Yahoo, Marissa Mayor
  • Founder, CEO, and Chief Product Officer of Zynga, Mark Pincus
  • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt
  • Co-Founder of Instagram, Kevin Systro
  • Chief Technology and Strategy Officer of Cisco, Padmasree Warrior

Notice how many internet related companies are interested in immigration reform. I’ve heard many reasons for this interest in immigration. The one you get most of the time is based on their understanding of the future demand for computer programmers and engineers. With the Progressives dismantling of our educational system, we lag behind most industrial nations. Some say it is for cheap foreign labor, perhaps so. Most of us can’t get by with paying $1 an hour here in the US. Whatever their true motives, that is a lot of money, people and power represented in this group.

Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy has an fascinating take on it. He told the Washington Post,

“The real goal is to put Zuckerberg and Facebook front and center with the Washington elite … to better extinguish a growing call to regulate how his company does business.”

Anyone, especially conservatives, who depend on social media for their livelihood know how it feels to no know what facebook is going to do each day to harass their “politically incorrect” users.

Daniel O’Rourke from Misguided Children continues in his article about losing their Facebook page:

“Am I surprised by this? Sadly, I and many others are not, as we have been watching this type of behavior take root politically, socially, and media wise in the last few years, from the highest echelons of government, to the everyday man and woman on the street, silencing and attacking conservatives is very real, very aggressive movement by a group of people that supposedly love and invite different views, cultures, faiths, beliefs, opinions, and attitudes. That is not the truth about many liberals and their agenda, though. Any American that is capable of independent thought, critical thinking, and rational logic can see, regardless of your politics, faith, and values, that your fellow Americans that are conservative and not supportive of Obama, as is our right under the Constitution as Americans, are under attack. It is despicable, unjust, criminal, malevolent, insidious, unfair, evil, and as un-American as you can get.”

What better way to end this article than to announce that I just went to Facebook, and Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children’s page has been restored. Facebook could not ignore the roar of their fans. When push comes to shove, Facebook is still a business. While most of the time they can push us around at will, they don’t want negative publicity. When they went after Chicks on the Right Fox News got involved, and Facebook apologized. Last week Fox News writer, Todd Starnes had his Facebook page restored and an apology, after they took it down because he said that he supported Paula Deen and loved Jesus. Even the Daily Beast did a compelling article on our July Fourth “Freedom From Facebook Day“. The Daily Beast author, David Freedlander, interviewed Lady Patriots Julia Sieben, Diane Sori, and myself for this article.

There is nothing more disheartening than to have an arbitrary algorithm determine whether our business lives or dies. Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, Chicks on the Right, and Todd Starnes have large pages with enormous fan base. But what about those who only have a few thousand or a few hundred? Who will fight for them? Lady Patriots has about 6,500 in the 7 weeks we’ve been around. Give us a little time and we will have ten, twenty, thirty thousand or more if we have the opportunity. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely up to us. It would seem that Facebook’s algorithms have a lot more to do with it than we do.

Dr. Sharon Schuetz
Dr. Sharon Schuetz
Dr. Sharon Schuetz has a Ph.D. in clinical Christian counseling. She and her husband of 43 years, Michael, are currently pastoring the Sebastopol Community Church in Trinity, TX, and have served as pastor of many churches throughout the past forty-years. In 2013 Dr. Schuetz, with the help of her partner, Julia, started Lady-Patriots.com which eventually had a writing staff of 26 and reached millions of readers over the next three-years until she sold the website and the Lady Patriot Facebook page in 2016. She did not sell the Lady Patriots youtube channel, but it was shut down last year after it was decided that it didn’t meet Youtube's community standards. She served as the editor of the local newspaper in her hometown of Trinity for a while and has since started a news service, Trinity County News L.L.C. She and Michael have three children and ten grand children.
https://trinity-county.news

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