I must have hit a nerve with the Establishment. It seems that a Facebook bot is trying to censor The Different Drummer Soundtrack now. I have asked for a review of their decision. I have not heard from them as of yet.
The reason they are trying to censor me is clear as mud. They say they are accusing me spam. Which is strange because I’ve posted a link to my own blog on Facebook many times. Is this somehow not allowed? It’s not like I was sending personal messages to all 450+ Facebook friends.
I uploaded a blog post talking about the baseless media attacks on Tulsi Gabbard. Both the New York Times and CNN have accused her of Russian support and Hillary Clinton accused Tulsi of being groomed by the Russians for running as a third party candidate.
It’s not clear what in my post violated Facebook community standards. I’ve looked up the standards and here’s what I see.
I think this Facebook policy is entirely reasonable—up to the point where it talks about allowing people to use misleading or inaccurate information to collect likes, followers, or shares. My question is, who decides what is misleading or inaccurate?
CNN and The New York Times did, in fact, try to attack Tulsi Gabbard prior to the debate, and made claims about her unsupported by any evidence. They are doing this even though they are also the host and moderator for the debate respectively. They can’t call themselves neutral journalistic sources after making baseless claims like that, and frankly, it should also disqualify them from being moderators of the debates. CNN and the NYT know that they are fully responsible for what they broadcast or print, and reporters and commentators are held accountable by their bosses for what they print or say on the air.
I started off as a journalism major as an undergraduate and was also an editor of my high school newspaper in the 1980s. I know what journalistic objectivity is supposed to look like. I know what neutral language is supposed to look like, and neither the NYT article or the statement from the CNN analyst match that. And making accusations of being favored by “Russian bots” and making accusations of being a “Russian puppet” without supporting evidence other than a self-described “expert” is a serious journalistic no-no. At least my blog post linked to multiple sources supporting my assertions. You may disagree with my sources and my conclusion, and that’s fine, but you can’t say that the concerns I raise are baseless.
And furthermore, who decides what is misleading? The call for censorship on social media raises serious questions about who gets to decide what the truth is. I do believe there should be some censorship in that I agree with Facebook 100% on their policies about hate speech. But where Google and social media companies walk on shaky ground is when they reserve for themselves the right to determine what truth is.
If Facebook doesn’t reverse their decision, I suspect it will have more to do with content than allegations of spamming. I don’t make any money off of my blog—this is purely a work of love and self-expression. I’ve never made any attempt to monetize my blog, and never will. I don’t really see the point in doing so.
I should also point out that my article expressed admiration for Tulsi Gabbard for finding ways to connect with people who might think quite differently from her. I have long felt that people from different backgrounds would find that they have more in common than previously realized, and while people like Bernie Sanders have understood this pretty well, too, Congresswoman Gabbard really embodies a countercurrent against hate of the “other” that is downright refreshing.
So I have put in my appeal of their decision. I am hoping that it was a bot that misread my intentions and that a human review will confirm that I didn’t intend to spam or mislead anyone. If that ends up being the case, I will take down this post.
Otherwise, well, it wouldn’t be the first time I was censored by a website. I was actually personally banned from posting on Daily Kos, because—unbeknownst to me—I wasn’t allowed to advocate for a third party on their website. Daily Kos’s goal is to advocate for the Democratic Party. Frankly, I think that speaks volumes about the politics of the Democratic Party nowadays. It wasn’t always like that—the liberal positions was always to oppose censorship. I wear Daily Kos’s banishment like a badge of honor. If Facebook continues to censor me, I’ll wear that like a badge of honor as well.