Facebook Purges Yet Another Conservative Site

By Rachel Alexander Published on June 19, 2019

Facebook continues to ban conservative sites and members. One of the latest victims is Dysfunctional Veterans. The group, run by a veteran, raises money to house homeless veterans.

Michael Rivers told Big League Politics how Facebook temporarily banned the page because he bought ads to raffle off an AR-15. The group didn’t violate any of Facebook’s policies, he said. They used a licensed firearms dealer and is composed of two online retailers that comply with all laws. 

Off, Then On

Facebook initially approved the ads, but took them down after eight days. The company unpublished Rivers’ group and suspended three staff members for 30 days. He has appealed the suspension, citing Facebook’s own policies to them. The group appears to be back up now.

Rivers runs a non-profit organization focused on providing housing to homeless veterans. It receives money from profits made from the Dysfunctional Veterans retail operation. Facebook banning the group may hurt the nonprofit. 

We need to stand our ground instead of retreating to some “separate-but-equal, walled-off social media universe.”

Rivers says Facebook has banned his group before. Facebook unpublished it right before the 2016 election. He was not told why. It had a huge negative effect, because his memes were reaching millions of people. 

Notice you never hear about liberal pages and members being banned?

Alternative Social Media 

But there is some good news for those who believe in freedom and open debate. Jordan Peterson, the New York Times best-selling author and vocal advocate of free speech, is starting a new social media platform free of censorship.

Thinkspot is available in beta now. Peterson explained, “Once you’re on our platform we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law.” 

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That’s not the only alternative. Parler and Gab are both competing to draw conservatives. Trump campaign officials are considering opening an account for Trump on Parler. The president has grown increasingly critical of Twitter and may be considering leaving it. Trump supporters have started joining Parler, including Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.

Don’t Desert

However, we should not completely desert the existing platforms. As The Stream’s Tom Gilson argues, we must still engage on and fight for access to the social media giants. We can’t run away.

Conservative platforms would only attract conservatives, he argues. They will not engage everyone in the realm of ideas. We need to stand our ground instead of retreating to some “separate-but-equal, walled-off social media universe.” 

Separate conservative platforms that don’t censor speech also run the risk of becoming havens for white supremacists and hate groups. Extremist groups kicked off of Twitter and Facebook have taken refuge at Gab. Real hate groups will need to be dealt with. 

We do have the chance to support and build the other emerging options. So why not take a multi-pronged approach? It may take a little more effort, but wouldn’t it be worth it?   

 

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC. Follow The Stream at streamdotorg. Send tips to rachel.alexander@stream.org.

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