This past Thursday, Facebook suspended my personal account for three days after I shared a link to Rush Limbaugh’s website, where the nationally syndicated radio host commented on the newly-shelved movie “The Hunt.”
Suspending me for linking to a Rush Limbaugh article?
And saying the article had nudity and/or sexual content in it?
If current patterns hold up, Facebook will likely suspend me again. And again. And again.
They may likely suspend you too — if they haven’t already.
Am I angry or upset?
Am I surprised?
No, not given Facebook’s political biases.
Do I suspect this is only one small part of a Facebook dress rehearsal to stifle as many conservative voices as possible in 2020? So that Republican President Donald Trump won’t get re-elected?
This is just a theory, of course.
Too many conservative friends of mine say Zuckerburg and his crew have repeatedly put them in “Facebook jail” merely for expressing right-of-center points of view.
One friend said he got suspended for saying illegal immigrants, for instance, are guilty of breaking the law.
Another conservative Facebook friend of mine who also got suspended says he now hates Facebook “with a burning hot passion” and hopes “Trump’s Justice Department breaks this company up into a million pieces.”
My liberal friends never complain about having their Facebook accounts suspended. Not that I know of.
Reportedly, a sizable number of people in the technology industry have it in for conservatives and Trump and have vowed to do all they can to assist Trump’s Democratic opponent next year.
The article I shared from Rush’s website was mostly a transcript of his words on the radio from earlier that day.
The movie is said to depict vengeful East Coast elites kidnapping a group of “deplorables” from the middle of the country, taking up arms, and hunting down these [Trump voters] in the forests for sport.
In fairness, the article did contain a still from the movie where one fully-clothed female character has a gag in her mouth after the antagonists (or, from Hollywood’s point of view, protagonists?) kidnap her.
Did that photo alone violate Facebook’s precious (and ambiguous) community standards?
Surely this was a misunderstanding, and surely Facebook took the article out of context?
I appealed my suspension. Facebook employees took another look, and lo-and-behold, they decreed that the suspension stands. This was no misunderstanding on their part.
In the past, people have doxxed me and members of my family on Facebook in a clear attempt to do harm. Other people have made threats. Some subtle. Some overt. I complained to Facebook and asked them to remove all that content. Facebook did nothing. Facebook employees said they found nothing wrong.
As you may have already guessed, this is not my first Facebook suspension. No; not my second, either. In fact, it is my third.
Last August, Facebook suspended me for three days after I posted an article from, of all places, Reason.com. The author, Clark Neily, vice president for criminal justice at the (controversial??) Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute, said many people in Congress have likely committed a wide variety of non-violent crimes and are hypocrites for wanting Trump impeached.
That article, according to Facebook, was spam.
Facebook suspended me again – this time for nearly 10 days – last December after I posted video of a fight at a Wendy’s restaurant.
Okay, I’ll concede that maybe I violated Facebook’s community standards just that one time.
People on the right, though, may have a lot to say about next year’s presidential election. And they may have a lot of constructive criticism about the policy objectives of next year’s Democratic presidential candidate.
But if Facebook employees dislike their criticisms, these people on the right may have to find a place other than this social media outlet to express themselves.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Mark Zuckerberg-Facebook” by Christoph Scholz. CC BY-SA 2.0.