Opinion – Mark Sidney – I’m going to guess that you are catching on to the fact that I’m beginning to realize that I have little left to lose when it comes to Facebook.
For the longest time I had kept quiet and tried not to ‘poke the bear,’ however, now that Facebook has all but bankrupted our family business, which we built by paying nearly $300.000 to Facebook for ‘Page Like Ads,’ which we were lead to believe would increase our distribution network (provided the people who liked and thus ‘followed’ continued to engage with our content.)
This was the case for a few years, then Trump won the election and the consideration Facebook gave us to form our contract, Page reach, suddenly began to dry up. You can read more about what I believe to be fraud on a grand scale, HERE.
I imagine that speaking out about what Facebook is doing to kill businesses like mine, who trusted FB when they said Facebook was a ‘platform for al ideas’ and solicited us to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these ads, will end up getting me deplatformed. After the Oct 11 2018 ‘Purge,‘ which saw 559 Pages (the majority of which, as far as we can tell, as FB refused to give up the lists, were Trump supporting, or otherwise anti establishment Pages) and 251 accounts, mostly of the admins of the Pages which were deleted without notice for ‘inauthentic behavior.” ‘Inauthentic Behavior’ is just the latest, purposefully vague term FB made up, in my view, in order to steal back the space in Newsfeed the removed Pages and Profiles had a claim to. Keep in mind FB had the balls to do this weeks before the midterms, clearly affecting the outcome, to what extent will never be known. Again, I ask, what on Earth would they be so bold and seemingly fearless of the consequences of, in my view, interfering in our elections? What do they know that we do not?
In the past Facebook has used words such as ‘spam’, ‘false news’, ‘inauthentic behavior’, ‘clickbait’ among others, as a pretext to selectively enforce their rules and depatform whomever they please, for any reason, reasons which they rarely even tell the user, from what I have been told. In full disclosure, I received an email, a few weeks after ‘the purge’ warning me that my account would be deleted the next day.
I tried to reply to the email to find out what exactly it was that I was doing wrong but all I got back was this:
“This inbox is not monitored for replies.” Our company had paid Facebook over a 1/4 MILLION dollars, and out of the blue we get some vague emailing saying ‘you’re next,’ we reply, hat in hand begging for more info, asking what can we do to comply, pleading that all we want is to comply, and Facebook does not even monitor the mailbox!
It sure felt to me like they have no real interest in solving this issue and helping me, the just wanted to recapture the space they had sold me in Newsfeed so they could serve more content that makes FB money, pushing my company out. It sure feels like once they got our money, and the data our ads helped develop for FB, they no longer needed us and were not looking for any excuse to kick us off the platform and being their transition to a new, content curation, business model.
I only have one Facebook account, it is in my real name, and I do not run an ‘ad farm.’ ‘Ad farm’ is another one of those words that Facebook uses to hide behind when trying to destroy competitors and those supporters of the President, in my view.
Luckily for me, I had the email of a woman who works at FB, very highly placed, and she helped me avoid deletion. I asked her for the definition of an ‘ad farm’ and she could not tell me. I do not think she didn’t want to tell me, I just think she did not know. I do not think anyone knows, I believe there is no definition, it’s a made up idea that FB uses at their discretion, to delete their competition and publishers and users whom they happen not to like. Not because the unwanted publishers and users break rules but, in my opinion, because they do not like their viewpoints or identity or covet their space in News Feed.
Fast forward to now … After escaping ‘the purge’ nearly unscathed because of my dogged determination to jump through each and every hoop FB laid out, I soldered on. However, week by week my reach continued to erode, all the way from 500,000-2,100,000 reached people per post down to 10-50k per post. In other words, 90% of what I thought I had paid FB nearly $300k for was now gone.
‘Well, you were publishing ‘false news.’ Actually no, we were not. In the last few years maybe we have gotten 2-3 false news strikes, and 0 in the last year. Once Facebook started cracking down on misinformation everyone, especially our team, started triple checking everything. Now that most publications were not posting accurate info, but their articles contained opinions, which I believe were/are antithetical to Facebook’s political activism and goals, Facebook needed a new excuse to recapture all the space in News Feed.
So ‘false news’ was not going to be the rule which the mega corporation was going to be able to use to delete all Trump supporters and unwanted competitors, so they switched their focus to ‘clickbait.’ Facebook defines Clickbait as “links with misleading or sensational headlines.” Breaking, this just in … the purpose of the headline is to get people to click the article and read it. I would understand if people came to our site and immediately left because the content was not what the headline advertised, but that is not the case. Our time on site is higher than it has ever been, and our engagement rates are 20-50%, unheard of in this business. 99% of the people who liked our 3,275,000 fan Page still ‘follow’ the Page. In layman’s terms, we create content the people who like our Page continue to tel FB they want to see.
In case you have been living under a rock for the last 3 years, we live in sensational times. The radical authoritarian in the DS and the Democratic Party appear to be leading a coup de tat against our President, IMHO. I believe the previous administration spied on the opposing party’s Presidential campaign and candidate. We also have evidence that Obama himself may have know about the alleged spying on Trump’s campaign, and perhaps even green lit it. Again, these are sensational times.
I understand misleading users with false headlines is a reasonable reason to restrict the reach of a Page or user. Luckily for us, we do not do that. The leftist censorship police at News Guard even conceded this much:
“Clickbait’ strikes, which last 14 days, during which the distribution of your page is CRUSHED keep appearing on our Pages … every 14 days like magic, imagine that. When we appealed the clickbait strike on our ‘Hillary For Prison’ Page, which we had not posted a link on in 10 days, the system INSTANTLY rejected our appeal. This suggested to me that there is no real appeal process, it’s just a computer reaffirming a decision that was, imho, not based in fact but designed to silence those with opinions FB does not like, or businesses who have claims to space in News Feed which FB wants to claw back in order to add to their $40,000,0000,000/year bottom line.
So, what examples of ‘clickbait’ has Facebook given us? How about this one, which is the current example on ‘Donald Trump Is Our President’, the most engaged with Trump fan page left on FB. Here are the examples I was given, and my appeal was denied:
A direct quote from the video which the article is about, a little opinion about Jaypal being embarrassed … watch the video and look at her face after Homan undresses her, she looks embarrassed AF to me. However, this is apparently only clickbait when I post it.
Look at the reach on Western Journal’s page “Conservative Tribune’ (they do good work check them out.) Their article on this story was perhaps even more aggressive in their title: (Btw, I do not think there is anything wrong with their title, nor do I think there should be any action taken against them for this, I merely link it to point out the absurd selective enforcement of these rules)
Basically the same title, no? Oh, I left out the name of the Congresswoman? Her picture and name tag are in the photo. It’s worth noting that Western Journal is owned by Liftable, a company which appears to have spent handsomely on FB ads, way more than my small company has. In fairness, I do not know if they were flagged for this post, but looking at the interaction on their subsequent posts I suspect they were not.
I will bet my house that Fox News was not flagged for this take on the article, again nearly identical, except less biased as Fox is a news company and we are an opinion blog.
How about the Media Research Center, a foundation which has spent a butt load of money with FB as I understand it, were they flagged?
For argument’s sake, and I do not believe this to be true, but let’s assume all those posts above were flagged. Here is the REAL story:
Glenn Beck’s, The Blaze, posted the same video, EXCEPT, they shared it from the page “White House Brief” whoo uploaded it directly to Facebook, WHB did not put it on their website and link to it. Their post, with a more aggressive and divisive headline, in my view, got distributed to nearly 2,500,000 people. Our link to our site with the same story resulted in our reach being decimated for weeks.
What more proof do you need this has nothing to do with content? Facebook is trying to bankrupt all of the small publishers who post links which take people off of FB to monetize on their own sites, IMHO. The post the Blaze shared was uploaded to FB and therefore people who clicked the video, stayed on the platform. When you upload videos to FB there is also the opertunity for FB to run mid roll video ads which make FB money. My posting links to my site, does not make FB money. Coincidence? Not only was this form of the same exact content allowed on FB, and allowed to flourish, it was also highlighted on the page it was posted to (White House Brief)!
It seems clear to me that these ‘clickbait’ bans and the reduction of reach they result in are merely Facebook’s new way of silencing anyone who they do not want to speak. Facebook is not a platform, it is a group of activists operating as publishers in it’s curation of the Newsfeed, at least that is how I see it. I believe they are trying to move to more of a Netflix style business model and to do so, they need to kick all of us who built the platform off of Facebook.
Clickbait is also apparently fine if you are paying Facebook for extra distribution via the ‘boost’ option:
My understanding of the predicate for CDA immunity was that the platform must be a neutral forum. Facebook is far from neutral. I also believe that Facebook is engaged in predatory, anyticompeditive behavior and I have plenty more proof than just this. As I have said before, I have been working on this for 16 months, gathering evidence and documenting what Fb has been doing.
As I said, do not be surprised if my personal FB Profile or my Pages, ‘Donald Trump Is Our President’, Hillary For Prison’, “Viral Patriot’, and “To The Death Media‘, along with our biggest group “Donald Trump Is Our President – The Group’ are deleted because I dared to fight back.
Facebook has made a critical error, they put me in a position where I have nothing to lose. We are on the verge of going under, all because we decided to spend our marketing dollars with Facebook, rather than with an ethical partner.
Oh BTW here is the other example we were given:
Stay tuned and I have more to expose tomorrow. If you work for the DOJ, FCC, FTC or are interested in helping bring justice to this situation email me at [email protected]