As a conservative journalist, I battle daily against the censorship of facebook, the liberal bias of which drives facebook company policy.
Although Powdered Wig’s facebook page has nearly 300,000 followers who should be seeing our articles in their facebook news feeds, we estimate that 1% to 2% actually receive them, the other 98% to 99% do not see our articles unless they go to our page or do a search. While we were paying facebook to promote our page, they were censoring our content. So, we stopped paying them. What’s the point, right? Now our traffic has dwindled to a small fraction of what it once was.
Google and Twitter join facebook (the Axis of Evil, as W might call them) in their crusade against conservative thought.
For years, Google’s Adsense was one of Powdered Wig’s top advertisers, running several ads simultaneously and continuously on our website. Shortly after the election of Donald Trump, Google notified my advertising agency (network) that it would cease placing ads on its member sites (about 100 member websites).
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Not only did Google cease all future advertising, it also kept hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to the network and its members from past advertising. That’s right, money Google had already received for advertising on our sites in the past but had not paid out yet to us, they kept. Larceny, pure and simple!
It has been my contention that the Axis of Evil is clearly violating the First Amendment. Many argue that their sites are private, therefore they can do whatever they want, including censorship and discrimination.
I challenge that. They are public arenas for the exchange of ideas and information.
Then, there is the question of who actually owns a private individual’s facebook page. Facebook will tell you, they do tell you, that they own it. They have the power to do with it as they wish. They can delete on a whim, never explaining why. They have deleted several of mine. I say facebook does not own our pages any more than a web host owns a client’s website.
And how about antitrust? Google, facebook, and Twitter represent a huge segment of the search engine and social media market, and they are growing. Shouldn’t that virtual monopoly be broken up?
Finally, if the IRS can be investigated and punished for partisan political bias, shouldn’t the same apply to “public” media giants? Again, the question is are they public or private. I say public.
Every conservative alt. media outlet is fighting for its survival against the Axis of Evil, facebook, Google, and Twitter. Following is the story of another of the thousands of small businesses being censored and threatened by the liberal Axis of Evil.
From The Daily Caller
The Sportsman’s Shop, a small town business that has been in operation since 1954, says it can no longer advertise products like American flags or outdoor clothing on Facebook because its Facebook page promotes the sales of guns, and includes links that lead to the same.
Located in East Earl, Pa., part of Lancaster County, the store specializes in sport shooting, hunting, archery, fishing and other similar open-air activities. Like many businesses both big and small, The Sportsman’s Shop depends on digital advertising, particularly on social media platforms, to broadcast its offerings. It was for a long time permitted to use the full capabilities of Facebook’s marketing platform, until one day staff at the Pennsylvania store no longer saw one of their advertisements promoting the sale of American flags.
Perplexed by the disappearance of the ad, Jessica Keffer, the marketing manager at the Sportsman’s Shop, reached out to Facebook to see if an error or glitch had occurred.
“Facebook is a great tool. We have found it widely successful with our customers,” Keffer told The Daily Caller News Foundation, adding that’s why she was so anxious to find out what had happened.
After some allegedly insufficient responses from Facebook, Keffer said she later realized all of her advertisement capabilities that she was usually afforded were suddenly unavailable.
“This was very confusing and frustrating,” Keffer said. She contacted Facebook once again, but this time Facebook had an answer for Keffer.
“Ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives,” one of the subsections reads.
Enumerated examples of what’s acceptable include: language like “Gun exposition today!” or “blogs or groups connecting people with weapon-related interests, as long as the service doesn’t lead to the sale of these products.”
Posts with captions “Cheap firearms: Buy now!” and “weapons of any kind, including pepper spray, knives, tasers, or weapons intended for self-defense,” aren’t allowed, according to Facebook’s rules.
But the American flag sale promotion, which was purposefully removed, didn’t contain any such content; it’s a benign ad for a benign, patriotic product. And why would one post cost the shop all of its Facebook-granted ad functions?
Keffer said she was told it’s due to their Facebook page, which also incorporated a link to their own website, not the particular American flag advertisement.
TheDCNF corresponded with representatives at Facebook, who among other details, highlighted their “Ad Review Process.”
“During the ad review process, we’ll check your ad’s images, text, targeting, and positioning, in addition to the content on your ad’s landing page,” the subsection “What We Consider” reads. “Your ad may not be approved if the landing page content isn’t fully functional, doesn’t match the product/service promoted in your ad or doesn’t fully comply with our Advertising Policies.”
In other words, in addition to the publicly posted rules, Facebook told TheDCNF that it evaluates the Facebook page in question, as well as where that page can lead to with any embedded links. Due to the fact that The Sportsman’s Shop’s Facebook page — as well as its hyperlinked website embedded into that page — is filled with content promoting the sales of guns and showing in-house firearm training, the store could no longer advertise altogether.
“We are very frustrated with Facebook’s ad policies,” said Keffer. “Like any business, we want to grow our reach and attract new customers and when you are restricted from promoting your product on a very visible platform it is a huge disservice. Advertising is crucial to any business. Reaching new customers and attracting new clients is imperative to our success.”
Keffer’s statements are especially true given the fact that she is surrounded by competition, some being relatively massive corporations like Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, that have locations not too far from The Sportsman’s Shop’s single spot.
“We are just the little guy,” Keffer explained. “At the end of the day, we are simply trying to promote our product and our industry and our lawful and ethical business is under a microscope because of Facebook’s political and cultural bias.”
Also, the power and effect behind Facebook’s advertising platform is obvious. Facebook, along with Google, dominates the digital ad revenue market, showing that publishers of content — from businesses to nonprofits to agencies — almost need those two tech companies for promotional purposes.
TheDCNF reached out to Cabela’s media relations office multiple times to see if they also have the same problem as The Sportsman’s Shop, but the company failed to respond. A relatively quick probe of Cabela’s Facebook page shows that it does not include firearms and other weaponry. The company even seems like it goes out of its way to only post content that is related to outdoor activities like hunting, without violating Facebook’s policies.
The company does have a link to its website on the Facebook page, that contains the sales of guns.
So, too, does Dick’s Sporting Good’s.
TheDCNF specifically inquired about these two retail corporations. Facebook implied that it allows stores to promote, for example, a backpack, if they link to a site (or that link leads to another site) that doesn’t have weapons immediately accessible.
A visit to Dick’s Sporting Good’s and Cabela’s main websites seems to show that both have firearms and similar products available for purchase deeper within, though still not that hard to find.
When asked if she think’s it would be a good choice to remove all the firearms posts on its Facebook page, and also restructure its website to not prominently feature guns, Keffer sternly said “No.”
“I don’t think this would be a positive choice for us,” said Keffer. “Selling firearms is a huge part of our identity. I think eliminating the posts will have a negative impact on our interaction with customers. Even eliminating that information from our website will be removing a huge part of our identity.”
Facebook’s terms and conditions don’t seem fair to more than just Keffer.
“We find it troubling and irrational that Facebook would find as ‘inappropriate’ normal commercial speech by a federally licensed business engaged in the lawful commerce of advertising and selling hunting and sports shooting firearms which can only be sold to a law abiding citizen after a background check,” Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms and related industries, told TheDCNF. “Recently, the federal appellate court in San Francisco said the commercial sale and purchase of firearms is part and parcel of the right to keep and bear arms.”
Keffer says it’s especially disappointing because they actually train people to use firearms properly, so along with salesmen, they essentially are safety advocates.
Both Keffer and Keane argued that due to its enormous power, Facebook is now inherently “a virtual public square,” where freedom of speech should be expected, regardless of its clear classification as a private company.
“Facebook owes the public a higher duty not to discriminate against free speech especially when that censorship stifles the exercise of a fundamental protected right enshrined in the Constitution,” Keane continued.
Facebook has been accused of censorship many times before, as it constantly struggles to balance coinciding and opposing clamoring from all angles of society. Some worry that harassment and abuse has adulterated the platform and turned it into a vitriolic cesspool. Others say Facebook’s crusade to purge certain content and speech has unduly and unjustly led to the compromise of its free expression ethos.