My Facebook Conservative Banned Story: Social Media Teddybear Or Political Propaganda Machine?
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By: Patrick James
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As We the People delve deeper into the interwebs, connecting with old friends and new acquaintances, one lone bastion of disproportional vastness towers above the rest; Facebook.
It is of no consequence as to whether you consider the 32 year old CEO Mark Zuckerberg an internet “wunderkid”, philanthropist or intellectual property thief, his “baby” has created a social media platform that spans multi-generational gaps, connecting long lost friends and lovers with the click of an emoji (a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication), for those of you not in the “know”.
The “Zuck” has made it easy for everyone to understand and use it via their computer, tablet or cell phone on a platform of communications that spans the globe. He has created a microcosm of society, unbridled and unencumbered by face to face contact. “Keyboard Commandos” and wannabe writers alike, reposting fifteen seconds of media generated, “if it bleeds, it leads” sensationalized news, in their own abbreviated “meme” speak… turning our lives into a reality-based game of “post office”. For those that do not remember the game, by the time a story reaches you, it has been relayed to you in slightly different tone and timber, until the true intent has been completely obliterated..
Now, as a week passes after the Facebook CEO entertained top conservative media leaders during a mid-May meeting, Glenn Beck’s response to his overall experience was much softer than most people expected;
“…based on our research and my personal experience with Facebook, I believe they are acting in good faith and share some very deep, fundamental principles with people who believe in the principles of liberty and freedom of speech.”
Many conservatives are claiming that Beck is a “sell out”, either being paid to respond as such, or doing so out of fear of retribution from the social media giant. Whether you are a conspiracy theorist or not, one has to wonder exactly what was said in that meeting for Mr. Beck to respond in “proverbial” puppy dog fashion. Being well known for his conspiratorial banter, especially concerning perceived censorship biases and freedom of speech issues, Glenn Beck has been painted much differently in The Blaze article written by Jason Howerton;;
“…Beck is giving Facebook the benefit of the doubt until “smoking gun” evidence emerges, which he admitted is a possibility.”
Many conservative type Facebook Pages have seen a noticeable reduction in their organically fed reach (internet term for the amount of people reached via a post without pay), something we all knew was going to happen as Facebook announced their plan for changing algorithms that could affect the reach of “all” pages as they attempt to monetize their efforts. Yet there are some pages who seem to be enjoying the same, if not better reach, since the new plan was launched. Is it coincidence that many Facebook pages, conservative in nature, seem to have been targeted for “hate speech” type postings based on political ideology while other pages less politically motivated enjoy higher organic reaches?
Is this “noticeable” drop in reach a direct result of a subversive and clandestine Facebook plot, or just the price of doing business with the biggest social media giant in the world? In an article on Breitbart by Allum Bokhari, Facebook claims they have investigated themselves and have cleared themselves of all allegations of “Trending Topics” tampering;
“Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature. In fact, our analysis indicated that the rates of approval of conservative and liberal topics are virtually identical in Trending Topics. Moreover, we were unable to substantiate any of the specific allegations of politically-motivated suppression of subjects or sources, as reported in the media.”
I think there are a few Conservative Facebook Pages who might disagree with your investigation results, Zuckerberg, as yet another prominent conservative Facebook page owner loses his posting privileges. For sharing the following meme on I Never Surrender.. MΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ, the owner received a 30 day suspension from a posting on his page that originated from an employee. The odd thing about this particular meme is; it has been shared on Facebook for the last several years on many Facebook Pages and the owner hadn’t even posted the image himself. It would appear that the page owner was intentionally targeted because the Facebook “violation” also occurred simultaneously on several other prominent conservative pages, yet was only removed from two and resulted in only one suspension.
Now, many may consider this meme to be radical in nature, stating that conservative pages are inciting violence against our government by posting such things. Although this might be true when taken out of context, one must also recall that our Founders did the exact same thing many years ago, when they felt their government was becoming tyrannical.
Many of the citizens of this country believe the government is “out-of-control” and must be made accountable for their actions. We as a Nation of freedom loving Americans have started to take notice of overzealous politicians, and we’re voicing our opinions on the biggest social media platform in the world.
A substantial number of the owners of these social media pages have been placed under an immense amount of government scrutiny, finding themselves listed on radical patriotic watchlists or tagged as “fringe” terrorist groups; people who have dedicated endless hours of internet searches and postings, looking for the perfect meme to relay their passionate emotions regarding liberty and freedom. They are educating themselves on Constitutional principles and Founding Father doctrine, via the very documents and texts from the past leaders of our country that helped shape and breath life into the greatest Nation of people in the world. Hoping beyond all hope that the posting of articles, memes and comments based upon the words of our Founders will wake the citizens of this country, and they’re doing all of this from behind a computer screen. Attempting to convey meaning, intent and feelings through pictures and words is rapidly becoming one of the most prolific methods for social media users.
Writers have been born out of Facebook Pages and posts. Companies have been formed. People are becoming entrepreneurs, creating opportunities to better themselves and their families. Lives and livelihoods are at stake for many of these people, so emotions are high as passion burns within the hearts of true Americans.They are creating their own paths toward success and making an impact on the world around them.
All of this is contained within the hands of one man and his “brainchild” of success, as he holds the balance of power over his social media empire. However, are his actions showing a complete lack of disregard for our 1st amendment right to freedom of speech?
As a true follower of Constitutional principle and Founding Father doctrine, I have to say that Mark Zuckerberg is free to choose who has a voice and who does not. True capitalism would dictate that a company is not held to the same standards as our government, but can by their own volition, choose to disregard our government protected rights.
These “rights” that everyone seems to believe our government is endowed with, are really rights bestowed upon us by our Creator. The wisdom of our Founders was to further protect our rights from our own government, not from private corporations. We must choose who we do business with, and who we do not. That is the impact the We the People have over corporations. Don’t like the business practices of one company? Don’t use that company. If enough people don’t use said company, company fails. But what happens when this company holds dominance over all the others?
It creates a fine line for Mark Zuckerberg to walk, because We the People can either choose to use his product or not. We all choose to use Facebook and as such must adhere to its policies and procedures, regardless of how slanted the biases may appear.
So as generational gaps blur from behind a blank screen, the internet will continue to create friendships and enemies out of odd partnerships as Millennials and Generation X’ers blend their generational differences via social media. I think we all have to “blow the sand out of our cracks” and stop getting our “feelie goods” hurt every time we perceive someone’s words or actions as a slight or slam.
But I will say that as we continue to evolve into the hi-tech world of communications, Mr. Zuckerberg’s platform carries with it a large amount of responsibility and power. How he chooses to use that power, will be his greatest success or his ultimate failure, so choose wisely sir… choose wisely.
Patrick has worked as a firefighter/EMT for several services, as well as a custom metal fabricator, certified personal trainer and chef. He grew up in the rural suburbs of Detroit, it was during his frequent trips to Northern Michigan where he learned of his love for hunting and fishing. He spent several of his adult years in upstate South Carolina, his love of extreme sports took root in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains as he learned to rock climb and kayak.