In a world dominated by social media, many people look to Facebook & Twitter for the free flowing dissemination of information often lacking in traditional media outlets. Not content with the censorship of conservative voices such Alex Jones and actor James Woods, Facebook took it upon themselves to obliterate over 800 mostly conservative highly followed pages and journalists in a massive blow to freedom of speech under the guise of "rules violations"... just in time for the midterm elections. One of the first major voices silenced was Free Thought Project, a centrist publication which had over 3 million fans. Understandbly upset by this, they took to Twitter to voice their discontent:
Facebook has unpublished our page— Free Thought Project (@TFTPROJECT) October 11, 2018
After 5 years of building fans Facebook has officially unpublished our page (3.1 million fans) so we can't post on it anymore. This is truly an outrage and we are devastated. We will do everything we can to recover our page and fight back. pic.twitter.com/H3AmHTT8Qo
Shortly after posting to Twitter, they were hit with a second massive blow when Twitter decided to follow Facebook's lead. The censorship across the social media giants was only just beginning as across the world administrators for many respected outlets were dealt the crushing blow of mass censorship without an avenue of appeal. Mainstay liberal news source Anti-Media quickly discovered that they were among the Facebook casualties, and similarly took to Twitter with the news that over 2 million people were now left in the dark:
Emboldened users began to cry foul, but it was in vain and fell on deaf ears as the Twitter account for Anti-Media was suspended nearly immediately following the tweet. The social media giants had their infinity guantlet, and with a single snap of their fingers over 800 accounts disappeared like dust in the wind. Among the silenced were pages such as Press for Truth, Cop Block, Noisy Room, Right Wing News, Reverb Press, Nation in Distress, and many more. Many journalists both conservative and liberal that worked with the now defunct pages found their own personal accounts suspended as well, without recourse, effectively silencing them from discussing the experience.
All of this comes at a time when Facebook & Twitter are under growing pressure from Congress regarding their perceived censorship agendas, which they previously denied, and new revelations about the extensive Facebook hack that saw highly personal information pilfered from 30 million users. The actions of today are establishing legitimacy to the arguments and fears voiced by conspiracy theorists for years that alternative thoughts are subject to rampant censorship. No doubt the critics who consume mainstream media will at first glance applaud the censorship of these voices, since the current narrative is that they were associated with conservatism and a Russian propaganda conspiracy (which couldn't be further from the truth). This creates a very slippery slope that should have us all concerned regardless of stance... many of the victims were far from conservative.
The voices silenced were not Nazis or radicals, they were normal men and women of all races and political parties who simply disagreed with aspects of the divisive agenda perpetuated across mainstream media and sought to curate platforms for reasonable discussion; as a result, they have now paid the price. They were people who advocated for controversial reforms on marijuana policy, police policy, immigration policy, and government overreach to name a few. Reverb Press for example often posted attacks on President Trump and referred to Republicans as “cheating scumbags” to its over 700,000 followers. Reasonable People Unite, with over 2 million fans, often reported negatively on the Trump administration and issued this statement:
"I would gladly abide by Facebook’s terms if I understood what they were," said Chris Metcalf, the publisher of the left-leaning “Reasonable People Unite” which was shut down along with eight additional Facebook pages, which he said had a total of 2.25 million followers. “I am a legitimate political activist. I don’t have a clickbait blog. I don’t have a fake news website. And I haven’t been doing anything that all the other pages in this space aren’t doing.”
In a statement co-authored by Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher, former White House National Security Director of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook declared that in all it removed “559 Pages and 251 accounts". In August, the pro-NATO think tank Atlantic Council announced it was joining Facebook as a partner. Facebook released a press statement at the time that praised Atlantic Council, stating that they would "serve as the eyes and ears of Facebook" and provide a "positive role in ensuring democracy was practiced correctly in the future". Among the board members of Atlantic Council are Henry Kissinger and Michael Chertoff, hardly the folks you want in charge of deciding what speech is allowable and what speech must be censored.
Meanwhile, mainstream media is in full spin control. They have dismissed the pages and journalists as shills and agents of a conspiracy theory by Russia to manipulate the election (NY Times), as if we are too stupid to know better. This is thought control, pure and simple... the very manifestation of George Orwell's warnings. It is abhorable and must not go unnoticed, for it is only a matter of time until they have taken away our rights to free speech across every major platform and regulate the dissemination of information until it becomes criminalized. The conspiracy theorists were right, we should be afraid.
A world where you are not free to voice your opinion is a very dystopian future. The actions taken by Facebook & Twitter were against mostly very tame organizations that were civil in their discourse, and sought to foster amicable conversation across party lines from both sides of the political spectrum. At Unfollo, we hold true to two simple ideals: social media should not censor such discussions, and private information should be kept private (we can't sell your data if we don't even collect it). We are the privacy centric social platform, agnostic in our moderation without political bias, and we welcome the refugees afflicted by the abhorrent actions of Facebook and Twitter. We are not a blog, we are a full on startup, privacy focused Facebook & Twitter replacement.