On Sunday, Patrick Howley, editor-in-chief of Big League Politics said that Facebook, the world’s largest social media site, is refusing to give administrators tools allowing them to effectively manage “The Deplorables,” one of the largest and most influential pro-Trump groups on the platform. Making matters worse, he quoted group administrator Dan Schwartz, who said that individuals identified as Facebook employees and/or contractors allegedly played a role in breaking the massive group.
According to Howley, Schwartz placed a note at the top of the group telling followers: “DO NOT POST, AS YOUR POST WILL NEVER BE SEEN.”
Howley further quoted Schwartz (Emphasis added):
“The Deplorables group was essentially broken by Facebook now, for a variety of reasons. Essentially, we enabled post moderation because of the number of racist posts from trolls, who, even when we deleted the post and “member,” we could no longer block them, including several who we now know are Facebook Employees &/or Contractors. When we enabled post moderation, Facebook’s database crashed, and we cannot view your posts requiring Moderator approval; and worse, the Admin panel crashed, so we cannot even turn back off Moderation.
Essentially, FACEBOOK BROKE OUR GROUP.
Schwartz continued, saying the group, which has well over 500,000 “likes,” had numerous technical “problems” since it topped the half-million mark around Election Day. The problems have only gotten worse in the last 36 hours, he noted.
“We have REPEATEDLY made Facebook staff aware of the problems,” he said, but the situation has not been addressed.
At present, Schwartz said, moderators are unable to approve posts from any of their members who aren’t administrators.
“Their sabotage started in November, about the time Donald J Trump was elected and we surpassed 500,000 members by disabling the ‘block user’ function so we could remove trolls, including #FakeNews and ‘click-bait’ posters from Macedonia, as well as bu*t-hurt Hillary sycophants,” Schwartz said on Facebook.
Including himself, Howley said that moderators of the huge group include Pam Geller, Baltimore black conservative radio host Wayne Dupree and Tea Party leader Lori Saxon. We reached out to Schwartz but did not receive a response at the time this article was published.
Howley said he contacted Facebook but has apparently not heard back. We also reached out to Facebook but have not received a response as of this writing.
“So what happened? Why were left-wing trolls allowed to attack the group and why did the wave of attacks all happen so suddenly?” Howley asked.
“We have the liberals and in fact there are secret groups that try to infiltrate the group using fake accounts,” Schwartz explained.
“The trolling is a real problem,” he added. “They’ll pretend to be a Trump supporter and then post something racist or homophobic,” Schwartz said. “What I do is a couple times a day I do a search for (awful words) or sometimes comments in there, but there’s an inability to block people. You unload somebody and then next thing you know they’re back in.”
As a group administrator, I’ve experienced this as well. Schwartz said that if Facebook doesn’t help clean it up or provide the necessary administrative tools, the group is dead. For example, Schwartz told Big League Politics that his “Block User” function has not worked for months even though he reported the issue to Facebook management.
Schwartz says he has been attacked by liberal trolls and Facebook censorship, a familiar refrain heard from many conservative page and group owners.
He recalled one ban involving a cartoon “depicting Muslim men trying to rape a woman while the girl’s father is led away by authorities calling him a ‘bigot.'” Facebook, Howley said, flagged the cartoon for “nudity,” but said the accusation was a “stretch” after having seen the cartoon.
Accusations like that are nothing new for the social media site. As we reported here, one Facebook user was banned over a 2012 Trump campaign button that only showed the candidate’s face. That button, Facebook said, violated the site’s rules on nudity.
Another user was told her profile picture of a lilac tree was pornographic and yours truly was handed a 30-day ban for an image of an eagle transposed on a U.S. flag. That picture, it turned out, was the profile picture of a popular pro-Trump page which was yanked, restored and then yanked again over the same picture.
As we reported here, another major pro-Trump group was yanked for no real reason other than claims the group violated Facebook’s nebulous standards, but was later restored.
Incidents like this are the reason Adina Kutnicki, an investigative journalist based in Israel, and I wrote Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad, available at Amazon and the WND Superstore. Not only do we discuss the real reasons things like this happen, we provide possible solutions and offer tips on how users can avoid run-ins with Facebook moderators.
Update: A Facebook spokesperson responded to our inquiry Monday evening with the following statement:
“Facebook was made aware of a technical issue in The Deplorables Facebook group that is impacting the ability for members to post content in the group. We have identified the source of the problem and are actively working to restore full capabilities to the group. We’re very sorry for this error and have reached out to the group admin so that we may collaborate on ways to improve the groups experience moving forward.”
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