Now Facebook Comes for Conservatives
The social media giant has banned the popular Allen West Republic Facebook page, and many others
First the big tech giants started censoring obnoxious people. They went after neo-Nazis and white supremacists, banning them from their platforms. Next, they went after conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones of Infowars. Most people, including conservatives, will support that. We wouldn’t publish them on The Stream. But Facebook hasn’t stopped with those people.
Now, they’re targeting conservatives.
On October 11, Facebook announced it had removed 559 pages and 251 accounts that had violated its policies. Many of them were conservative. The offenders allegedly broke Facebook’s rules against “spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” The company accused them of promoting conservative opinion for profit. The timing is curious, coming just a month before the midterm elections.
Facebook banned Great American Republic, formerly Allen West Republic. The popular page had acquired 953,000 followers. Facebook also banned the personal account of the site owner, Tanya Grimsley.
Her page does not appear to have violated Facebook’s policies. Grimsley says the site was banned using “lies masked as new rules.” Her website only features articles with links to reputable sites — sites that have a blue checkmark on Facebook and Twitter. She posts the first part of articles from one of these sites, then links back to the original sites for the rest of the articles. She then does this on her Facebook page. While some of the articles have highly charged titles, known as clickbait, they did not lead to ads.
Grimsley’s Facebook contact accused her of the “use of fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names or by accounts not under your name.” The rep said her site posts links that go to websites full of mostly ads. She accused her of allegedly posting the same clickbait links in dozens of Facebook groups, often hundreds of times within a short time span. Some banned pages may have done this. Grimsley’s did not.
Media Matters, which has played a role in getting the big tech giants to ban conservative sites, labels Grimsley’s website “fake news.” Grimsley takes offense at this charge, saying there is no fake news on her site.
And Veterans Too
Also taken down in this most recent ban were a couple of Facebook pages run by a disabled veteran. Brian Kolfage’s Right Wing News and Military Grade Coffee were banned with no warning — after he had spent $300,000 on Facebook advertising. Right Wing News had more than 3 million followers on its page. Kolfage’s coffee site doesn’t post politics, and donates 10 percent of all profits back to veteran organizations. Twitter also banned the Right Wing News account.
Kolfage says he intends to take legal action if Facebook doesn’t put his sites back up. “Never once did Facebook come to us to say there was any issue with RWN or our other pages,” he points out. “Never. But they sure loved taking our money.”
Another veteran-run site that was taken down is Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. Owner Rick Ferran escaped communist Cuba and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. The page is geared to conservatives and veterans. Facebook also banned the page’s admins for 30 days — until after the midterm elections. Facebook told them it was because they posted their website logo on the page — but the admins say they didn’t. The logo looks like something out of a Halloween movie ad, nothing more.
One of the site’s admins say they avoid clickbait. “I’ve personally NEVER written even once in my entire life and have told people who write for us not to do it,” said admin Faye Higbee. This isn’t the first time Facebook took down their page right before a big election. In 2012, Facebook unpublished their site. They didn’t get it back up until 2015, after numerous appeals.
Facebook banned well-known conservative Doug Giles’ site Clash Daily in the recent purge. Like the previous referenced pages, Giles said his page merely posted links to articles on his website. Each of his admin accounts was real and required a driver’s license to set up. Facebook rejected his appeal of the ban..
The Ban Reversed
At least one of the purged pages has been able to get the ban reversed. Dr. Rich Swier found his personal page disabled on October 11. He merely posts articles from reputable sites on his website, which he then posts on his Facebook page. He sent identification to Facebook to show that his account was legitimate, and they apologized and reinstated it.
Sadly, the mainstream media ignored this most recent purge. Even conservative media largely ignored it. What is Facebook saying? They claim only to be making their site better by cleaning out sites that abuse it. They probably do that. But in the process, they’re mysteriously cleaning out conservative sites that obey all their rules.
If you become a well-known conservative entity on Facebook, you apparently make yourself a target. The rest of us who are quieter ignore this at our peril. Facebook’s net of who it bans keeps enlarging. Based on previous behavior, the company isn’t going to stop the banning until even us low-key conservatives have been shut out — or scared into silence.