Facebook: The latest battlefield in the war of ideas

fbcensorshipFor better or worse, Facebook has become the latest ideological battlefield.  Over 23,000 fed up conservatives, libertarians and fair-minded liberals (yes, there are some) have decided to take a stand against what organizers of Facebook Blackout call the “arbitrary and capricious policies targeting conservatives with censoring and suspensions.”  On August 25, they intend to temporarily suspend their accounts for 24 hours.

To the best of my knowledge, that’s the single largest online protest against Facebook’s policies to date.  And it’s still growing, despite the best effort of liberal trolls who are doing all they can to make life miserable for those attending.

How miserable?

I’ve been told that one organizer has received death threats, while others have been slapped by Facebook for some of the silliest reasons.

Clearly, liberals are freaked out by the event.  How dare conservatives stand up against censorship and bullying!


Since the protest started, Facebook has doubled down on its enforcement, slapping people for — in one case — doing little more than saying “thank you.”

Sure, Facebook has the right to enforce its own rules, and no one is forced to be there.  But shouldn’t those rules be enforced fairly?

Let’s face fact — Facebook, for good or evil, is the single largest social media site on the planet with over 1 billion users.  Granted, estimates are that 10 percent of those accounts aren’t even human beings, but when you take that into account, it’s still huge.

Most users sign up to connect with friends or school mates or simply goof off online, and really have no idea what is going on under the surface.

But far too many have learned the hard way what happens when an innocent comment rubs someone the wrong way.

Or post something that one of Facebook’s automated agents says is “hate speech” or “pornography.”  You know, like “seizing the day with baby Obama,” or a picture of an elbow.

Suddenly, with no warning, the user is slapped into “Facebook jail.”  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.


Appeals are often ignored, and there is no one to contact to clear things up.

Let’s not forget Facebook’s “guilt by association” rule that says all administrators are responsible for something someone posts regardless of the circumstances.

Blogger Diane Sori, for example, was banished over a link she never posted.  Worse yet, she didn’t even have Internet access at the time.

Facebook, however, couldn’t care less, and ignored all her appeals.

This happens to users all the time.

Facebook refuses to listen and refuses to address the issue.

Pages like “Kill George Zimmerman” are allowed to stand, while pro-veteran pages like “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children” are torn down over trumped-up claims.


Recently, the conservative “Things Liberals Hate” was torn down with no warning and no explanation.  Facebook has yet to explain why it was taken down.  Many other conservative pages have suffered a similar fate.  Page admins I have spoken to all say the same thing — they were the targets of liberal trolls.

And so, over 23,000 are giving up on Facebook for 24 hours.  But they’re doing more than just logging off — they’re temporarily suspending their accounts for 24 hours.

Some are afraid of doing that concerned that Facebook will permanently delete them.  It’s a valid fear, but as organizers have suggested, what’s more important: Freedom or Facebook?

Is the Blackout a good idea?

Some say the effort would be best spent countering the trolls, but sometimes, you gotta give that head-slap to get someone’s attention.

Facebook is, after all, a company in business to make money.

But it has also become the place where political battles are fought.  Liberals have already figured that out and are taking full advantage of it.

It’s time conservatives woke up and learned how to fight back.

You can see the event here.


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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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