by Lee Williams
I’ve long heard allegations that Facebook censors pro-gun content but, until recently, I lacked any first-hand experience with the censorship.
Things changed around mid-June, when we noticed that “likes” on The Gun Writer Facebook page came to an abrupt halt.
We place a high value on our page likes, as we do every form of reader engagement. They’re positive feedback that someone approves of our content. To us, they meant a lot.
We had averaged between 35 to 40 likes per day. This suddenly stopped June 15. We’ve plateaued ever since, and haven’t had a single like.
At first, we thought our content may have been the cause, so we examined all of our posts and found it had not changed. We were still posting a heady mix of original content, shared stories of interest, as well as some hilarious memes.
Once we realized our content hadn’t changed, things became surreal. We grew concerned that our content was being censored, because readers cannot like what they cannot see.
Soon, we’d have more evidence of Facebook’s shenanigans.
The Feinstein factor
Last week we received definitive proof that our Facebook posts were receiving a bit more scrutiny than they had before.
I posted a couple pics of notorious anti-gunner, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, along with the admonition that if readers didn’t go to the range over the weekend, there would be more Feinstein pics to follow.
It was meant to be a joke.
For some reason, Facebook decided to fact-check the post, and they added a link to a Snopes story, which cleared Sen. Feinstein of any wrongdoing, after allegations were raised that she used her influence to get her husband a USPS contract.
To be clear, my post made absolutely no mention of the USPS allegations against the Senator. As some astute readers pointed out, it was clear that our Facebook page was receiving more than its fair share of scrutiny.
Why did we deserve this?
I tried and got nowhere.
I reached out to their corporate communications department, and I’m still waiting for an official response.
While we find this censorship and additional scrutiny of our page troubling, it pales when compared to what Facebook has done to other conservative, veteran-oriented and pro-gun pages.
The worst example of Facebook censorship I’ve seen involved the Dysfunctional Veterans Facebook page.
They had more than 1.7 million followers — mostly veterans — until Facebook shut them down for reasons that remain unknown. Even though their page raised money for veterans and veterans’ groups, this was never taken into consideration and the site was closed. Thankfully, the guys were able to start a new page, but they lost almost all of their followers.
Personally, I find this type of censorship troubling — especially since we have no track record of misbehavior.
In more then six years, we have never once had so much as a single warning from Facebook that our content violated any type of community standards. We’ve never had a post or meme removed. We’ve never been told we have done anything wrong — period.
We even tried to lend to their coffers when we purchased Ad Boosts from Facebook. After three in a row were “Not Approved” because of content, we accepted that Facebook would reject anything we tried to promote through non-organic methods, like boosts, and we chose to respect their business model and not raise a fuss.
Now, we can only conclude that the anti-gun, anti-conservative and anti-veteran reputation of the Facebook shot-callers is very true and very well deserved.
I look forward to hearing Facebook’s official explanation, but I’m not holding my breath while waiting for a response.
In the meantime, all we can do is call them out for their shenanigans on pages like this one, which they cannot control.
As a journalist, a veteran and a proud gun owner, I venerate the First and Second Amendments. It’s odd to me that something so entrenched in American culture as Facebook would choose to value neither.