Saturday, October 13, 2018

Free Thought Project hit in FB's 500-page purge

Libertarian and Police Accountability Pages Deleted in Facebook Purge - Hit & Run : - Scott Shackford:

October 12, 2018 - "'Facebook announced Thursday that it was deleting 559 pages and 251 accounts that it claims were breaking Facebook's rules against spam and 'inauthentic' behavior. The Free Thought Project was one of the demolished pages, along with another of [Jason] Bassler's efforts, Police the Police. Both pages ... produced content — stories, memes, and videos — that focused on government behavior and were shared widely among fans, particularly libertarians.

"Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, and Oscar Rodriguez, a Facebook product manager, have explained the purge by writing that they don't think these sites were really trying to engage in political debate but were in fact spam factories.... "Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites [or] to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was'....

"Bassler has editing privileges on a bunch of pages that were affected by the ban ... the result of networking between pages of similar interest.... Many of them, like Bassler, used networking to build a community to reach a larger audience — a normal sort of organizing that Facebook now deems 'inauthentic.'

"The Free Thought Project had 3 million followers and Police the Police nearly 2 million.... Bassler describes himself as a libertarian anarchist, but he says he's tried hard not to push an ideological agenda onto his pages, focusing instead on government accountability....

"The Free Thought Project also ran afoul of fact-checkers, particularly Snopes, which has accused them of misrepresenting stories on several occasions and which frequently describes them as a conspiracy site.... Bassler says he's had four stories pulled from Facebook after fact-checkers deemed them inaccurate. He has had two of those decisions reversed.....

"[B]ut even though Facebook is turning to Snopes to assist with fact-checking what gets shared on the platform, Facebook's latest round of page deletions makes no mention of fact-checking problems as a justification. Reason has reached out to both Facebook and Snopes to see if this fact-checking fight played any role [in] the decision to shut down The Free Thought Project's page or any others affected by the purge. We have not yet gotten a response....

"Bassler says he's going to 'fight tooth and nail' to try to get his Facebook pages restored. The Free Thought Project has officially responded to having its Facebook page deleted here."

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