It’s the scenario that absolutely no blogger of any stripe wants to happen: Facebook unpublished the page we use to disseminate our message with thousands of followers for reasons of “community standards.” Conservatives know this feeling quite well. It happens to us on a regular basis.
Normally, the community standards watchdogs at Facebook have the courtesy to let the page owner know what the objection is. Nudity (unless it’s Miley Cyrus), profanity, threats of bodily harm, etc., are out of bounds. Fair enough so long as that standard is applied evenly. Knowing what the issue is gives the people who post on the page the opportunity to change whatever is wrong. However, Tuesday night, the politically conservative page Patriot Nation was pulled down from Facebook with no explanation. Zip. Nada.
What makes this so maddening, is that according to the page owners nothing was out of bounds:
…it’s impossible to correct the problem when we have no idea why the page was unpublished to begin with. None of the articles or memes are a violation of the Facebook Terms or Community Standards and never at anytime have we ‘bullied’ someone so therein lies the problem.
Facebook’s Community Standards have not changed, so what exactly is the issue? The question needs to be asked as a lot of conservatives have at one time or another been banned for violating those standards. In this writer’s case, it was for posting a photo on my personal page of a very famous local statue. That was determined by the Facebook Community Standards Team to be “nudity.” Once the statue in question was identified (the subject IS a nude), this writer was sprung from Facebook jail, but not before wondering if all the conservative connections to her account were used as part of the reasoning for the involuntary time out. After all, the pictures of my nephews in the tub didn’t even get me a warning.
What makes the Patriot Nation case especially disturbing is that overall, the group of conservative blog pages that serve as part of the alternative media – pointing out the hypocrisy of the left, and where various laws actually serve to UNDERMINE liberty and freedom instead of upholding it – have been getting banned and taken down from Facebook at a pretty good clip for the last year. What makes it so maddening, is that we see what should be clear violations of the Facebook Community Standards on liberal and actual hate pages without any change. And so we wonder just who is umping the “Community Standards” team. And furthermore, can all opinions within the political spectrum get a fair shake from the arbiters of the Facebook Community Standards?
When Facebook was a privately held entity, users of the site really were at the mercy of a single individual who had the final say. However, Facebook is now a publicly traded company where the free service is used as a communication tool by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. As such, one would expect all opinions and beliefs to be welcome so long as they meet the same set of Community Standards.
Which is why we conservatives question the allowance of open threats to kill Jews, when conservatives have been banned for satirically calling for the targeting of one politician or another in a meme image. It’s okay to publish pictures of half naked celebrities, but nursing moms is considered to be nudity. Quotes that should be bleeped on #BlackLivesMatter pages are not, and one wrong word buried in the body of a thousand piece essay is reason for banning a conservative. It’s just fine to post videos of riots and cop killings, but not photos of what happens to a baby during an abortion.
What happened to truth and honesty in public discourse when “Community Standards” are skewed toward the titillating, vulgar, vile, and dishonest? And what happened to the marketplace of ideas when one group of ideas is given free reign while the competition is simply taken offline any time a toenail goes over some arbitrary line that is not defined.
THAT is what has conservative bloggers and site owners on edge after Patriot Nation’s page was taken down. Facebook’s Community Standards are not evenly applied. It may well be that there was something in the comments section that was reported or that Facebook has some trigger in the computer system for reports of violations, but it would be to their advantage to let page owners know that, and to be honest about how their standards are applied. Conservatives are willing to play in the same sandbox as everyone else. We are not happy when we get buried and walked on for no reason any more than anyone else is.