September 5th, 2010
On August 24th, we published a news article which dealt with a phenomenon, which we have heard talked about more and more of late, occurring on the social networking site Facebook. In the article, we explained how Conservative Journalist Jane Jamison's entire network of friends and contacts, built up over a number of years, was expunged from Facebook for no clear reason.
When Jane requested a reason, she was pretty much given the cold shoulder by Facebook. Knowing that the Digital World can often be a haphazard thing at best, a number of individuals might say as a result, "well, that happens all the time--no big deal--grow up." However, the mystery deepens when another Conservative activist with a respectable web presence was also deleted without so much as a warning or " buh-bye." This, just a scant few weeks before, and even worse, that Conservative was me.
Having a legion of friends and contacts built up over years, unceremoniously swept out of your life leaves you wondering: How am I going to piece all of these friends and affiliations back together again? What am I going to do to fix this? The answer; not much can be done.
Between Jane Jamison and my network of contacts, the both of us have lost over 8,000 friends and contacts which had been built up over a number of years. No small thing, as one can see. My "unfortunate occurrence" just so happens to have occurred right at the time of publishing my first book, A Perfect Liberal Storm, which is admittedly "heavily dismissive" of those currently in power in Washington and specifically documents why. Jane's "bad stroke of luck" occurred right after she had published an article which was stringently critical of a local and very well-known California Democrat, Jerry Brown, for a number of documented reasons.
Is all of this a coincidence? Maybe.
As a good friend has always maintained, "there are no coincidences," which should lead many to stop and think.
The Facebook News Article and the Telltale Comments by Readers
When the news article titled "Facebook shutting down Conservatives? Identities being deleted without notice" was released--this website--which was re-released on a high-volume server back in June due to traffic increases, actually groaned just a bit for the first time--such was the volume of traffic. The article was picked up by Conservatives all over Facebook and the web and continues to spark conversations about biased censorship due to political affiliation.
The comments that have been published with the article mentioned above detail many instances of right-wingers' profiles being unceremoniously dumped without warning. However there is much, much more.
There are many comments that both Jane and I have received that were sent to us via our "new Facebook identities" as a result of the article. One young and very upset lady, whose name is Marix, wrote me a heartfelt letter in which she desperately needed her extensive Facebook contact list back so that she could carry on with her work raising awareness of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Here is a link to her site, for those who might have lost contact with her. I could only commiserate with her angst. Facebook leaves few, if any, options for most to actually communicate with them in any meaningful manner. Marix appears to be an ardent defender of her faith in Christianity, while not seeming to offend others through her discussion of her beliefs.
In other instances, we have heard of the dirty tricks that our ideological opposites play on unsuspecting Conservatives. In one scenario a gaggle of Facebook Liberals acted in concert in order to have Conservatives removed who often espoused an effective viewpoint by "reporting them" to the Facebook administration, which will often result in the Facebook powers-that-be wiping that individual's profile from the planet, due process be damned. In other scenarios we have learned that it's not just Conservatives, but rather there are also a number of Christians who have had their comments and even profiles deleted for putting forth their religious points of view in an effective manner. When we checked into those particular assertions, we found, among them, a Muslim Facebook site--which a member kindly sent to us--where the founders crowed "they are skared of us"...seeming to mock Americans. Jane also received a number of messages from "certain politicians" who have also had their profiles deleted.
We saw other reports of Facebook freezing profiles for a length time, ostensibly as a result of the posting of Conservative links and stories--almost as punishment much like the temporary sting of a "ruler thrashing" across the palm of the hand--which some of us suffered as children.
We even saw a number of suggestions that a "Conservative Networking" site be established so that people could post, speak and otherwise interact freely without fear of being expunged.
In other accounts we heard of individuals being messaged that they must provide a cell phone number or Driver's License in order to confirm one's identity in order to post further.
We read a number of accounts where, upon being deleted, the offenders were messaged by Facebook as much as six weeks later, which warned that threatening or abusive actions would not be tolerated and deletion would occur. Oh, gee... thanks for the warning.
One particularly memorable message wryly noted to Jane that it was ironic that Facebook required a birth certificate from a member in order to even consider re-instating their account when no such requirement was made for Obama to become President of the United States (no less.) Good Point!
Another message was from a member who had created a page which was titled "No to Ground Zero Mosque" and reported having 107,000 members. That page was apparently deleted by Facebook. When the member tried to recreate the page, she was rewarded with a message from Facebook stating, "New Pages titled No Ground Zero Mosque" will no longer be allowed. Free speech we can believe in, no doubt. We do note, in this case, the recent report of an AP released directive to reporters ( most likely originating from the White House) which indicated that "Ground Zero" would be removed from any further news article references to the proposed Mosque. Hmm...
Of Jews and Trolls and Liberal Goals
And yet other Facebook sites, which disparage Israel and say nasty things about those of the Jewish faith, are slow, if ever to be deleted by Facebook according to accounts from a number of members. Still other comments focused on what are known as Facebook trolls who are sub-individuals whom pass themselves off as being Conservative in order to create havoc in various ways as members of a group later on. To These we could only recommend "getting a life" --who in the world has the time or worse, the inclination for such time-burning nonsense?
The comments which we received ran the gamut from calling for a class-action lawsuit to trying divergence-type tricks in order to get a particular message across.
So the next logical question becomes: "Are Liberals treated in the same way?"
The answer from everything we could find was a resounding "NO."
When researching this possibility, in order to discern if it was happening to ideologues from either camp, we could find no clear indication that the same sort of "purging" is being done to Liberals or Democrats. In fact, if you conduct a Google search on Liberals being deleted from Facebook, you will mostly come up with either pieces pointing to our earlier article or instances of various posts being deleted, but nothing identifying a vast Right-Wing conspiracy against the Left such as what we Conservatives might be experiencing from the Leftward.
The next logical question then becomes, why? Noting that most of the members of Facebook would, no doubt, mimic the overall political leanings of the Nation as a whole, it would seem that Facebook is made up of a preponderance of center-right political affiliations--just as is the Nation--especially now. So, hypothetically, why would Facebook risk angering better than half of their members when they could be jeopardizing their standing based on political ideology? The answer might be easier to surmise than one might think.
When we dig into the subject a bit further, we find that the Facebook Chief Operatives seem to have an ideological leaning which supports Obama and the Liberals and Democrats. In fact, Chris Kelly, the former Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook, is a well-known California Democratic political operative. In a report from Opensecrets.org, a particular article by Michael Beckel states that Kelly has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party causes or campaigns over the last several years.
The article further states that Kelly has donated at least $21,000 to Democratic causes since January 2009. Opensecrets goes on to detail a number of donations to various individuals, but then further states that Kelly donated to both Clinton and then later Obama in the 2008 Presidential campaign. While we have also learned from the article that Facebook has been in extensive contact with members of both the Congress and the Senate, we find that Facebook lobbying with regard to privacy issues has approached nearly a third of a million dollars, if not more, over the past two years.
The Facebook - Obama Connection
We have also learned that during Obama's campaign, Facebook was specifically utilized as a means to further the President's message via social networking. In fact, Obama was the first Presidential Candidate to utilize Facebook "extensively" as a campaign medium, which attracted an estimated six million younger voters. The Obama Campaign actually brought onboard Chris Hughs, one of the three original Facebook founders, who was enamored of Obama in being a Candidate who could take advantage of Facebook's social networking while, apparently, feeding Hughs' ideological persuasion. Hughs then started a highly successful website called mybarackobama.com, which is an online community dedicated to furthering Obama's ideology in all things.
Hughs, a native of North Carolina, decided early in life that Conservative Hickory, NC was not for him and decided to take a boarding at prestigious Andover prep School, unbeknownst to his parents. According to a fascinating story published on the website Fast Company, what Hughs learned while at Andover was that he was Gay and he wasn't religious. From there, his life led him to Harvard and into the birthing of Facebook, along with Harvard dorm-mates Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz.
Hughs is credited in many circles with being the frontman responsible for Obama's election. While Facebook was just moving into the throes of being a huge and money making hit for its founders, Hughs was actually pulled away from Facebook by the Obama campaign to the chagrin of Zuckerberg. Hughs has, throughout, apparently maintained his contacts with Facebook and is still close friends with Zuckerberg.
Another interesting fact detailed by the website Social Beat, indicates that Facebook was the only consumer internet company to actually lobby Federal Intelligence Agencies in 2009--including the CIA. This in comparison to Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple--among others--who seemingly stayed away from such agencies. Facebook was the only one--but better yet, why again?
According to Kim-Mai Cutler, most of Facebook's D.C. "experiences" center around helping Legislators and otherwise utilize Facebook's social networking potential with regard to campaigns, etc.; however, a further note of interest would have to be Facebook's 2009 hiring of Tim Sparapani of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is a Liberal bastion of Left-Wing-think, despite Facebook's burgeoning use as a law enforcement tool which would seem to go against Civil liberties issues--at least in the past.
The ultimate test for Facebook bias would have to be the overall ideological set of both its members and its employees who control the actions of Facebook members. Since 2007, Facebook employees, as a whole, have donated over 97% of all of their political funding to the Democrats and Democratically-connected causes. A veritable smoking gun if you will.
The Ties That Blind
The Chief Officer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has a reported net worth of $4 Billion dollars as a result of his Facebook operations, while Facebook earnings have been estimated to approach over $ 800 Million in 2010. Most of Facebook's income is derived from ads placed by members, as well as advertisements from various companies, including Microsoft--which outlaid over $50 Million to Facebook in 2009. Microsoft also owns 1.6 % of Facebook to date, however, we expect that number to most likely increase in the future. Facebook is currently owned by shareholders who trade in a private market only, and its employees own much of the shares of the company which was most recently estimated to have a value of $22 Billion in the private market. There have been reports that detail an IPO of Facebook in late 2011 or 2012.
When we look at all of these facts tied in together, we find that a strong case could be made regarding Facebook's seeming soft-attack on Conservatives, Libertarians and Republicans--and even certain Christians as details continue to emerge. The reports that we have informally received from various members do seem to indicate an ideological persecution of certain members who actively engage in supporting their various causes which are of a Conservative nature.
We can further confirm a number of deep-rooted ties to the Obama Administration and Facebook company officials, noting that Zuckerberg indicates himself only as an Independent and an Atheist while being an outspoken opponent of privacy issues--which puts him squarely in the camp opposing Constitutional Conservative principles.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we could find essentially no ties whatsoever which would indicate any Facebook affinity or connection whatsoever with those of the Right-Wing--beyond one tiny donation by one Facebook official to Republican Carly Fiorina of HP fame.
Ultimately, we must each be our own judge of what is happening between Facebook and the Conservatives who utilize the site, but the question we, both at Conservative Refocus and Uncoverage.net initially put forth, has certainly been strengthened by the available information uncovered through our research. The other ironic fact is simply that what we may be seeing in these ideological deletions could be the recognition by Facebook of the fact that Conservatives are using these same powerful social networking tools to meaningfully connect, organize and interact across the country in much the same way as the Obama Facebook members successfully used for the President to gain power and eventually win the Presidency.
Obama's Facebook being used by Conservatives in a Saul Alinsky-like turnabout? This would be yet another observed case of "live by the sword, die by the sword" ideological retribution would it not?
A simple word of caution. Please remember: Every time you sign onto Facebook, your IP address is logged along with your exact location. So imagine, if you will, what might be next for Conservatives and dissidents who oppose those in power while using a social network with designs that could be plotting against its own Users behind the scenes.
August 27th, 2010
Recent Facebook deletion victims
By Barry Secrest
Jane Jamison, who operates the Conservative Website "Uncoverage.net" has a thriving web presence which offers a "right-wing" perspective of ongoing news items as well as media events. Facebook is one of the social networking tools which Jane has utilized in order to initiate new contacts as well as to stay in touch with existing friends.
On August the 22nd Jane's Facebook profile, complete with as many as 5,000 friends and contacts, was wiped off of the face (book) of the earth. Jane tells us that this practice has apparently become "a hobby" to those in charge of the social networking site. Unfortunately she is right. Jane's experience was not the only one in the very recent past that we are familiar with. In fact, on or about July 20th my "Conservative Refocus" Facebook profile was also deleted along with 3,000 + friends and contacts.
Luckily, I did have a back-up profile which left some of my more local contacts in place. However, trying to piece one's vast network of friends back together after a few years is no easy thing.
Below is an article which Jane wrote as a result of her "summary dismissal" from Facebook:
August 23, 2010: 9:39 p.m. (PST)
I have heard from a number of Facebook friends. This has apparently been happening quite a bit to conservatives on Facebook. There is no “warning” from the service…they are suddenly just “disabled.” They follow instructions (as I did) to appeal the decision but hear nothing.
My final attempt to communicate with Facebook after telling them I would not email personal information to them, was an email that ” bounced” back to me as unsent and undeliverable. This leads me to believe that I might have been hacked and that it wasn’t Facebook that cancelled me. Melanie Morgan tells me Move America Forward’s website was hacked Sunday after its members took part in the Code Pink demonstration. It was shortly after I posted my stories about the Code Pink terrorist connections and their donations to Jerry Brown that I was “disabled” by Facebook.
Here is my new page on Facebook it is a group page called UNCOVERAGE.net Send everyone there. I have a new personal profile but won’t use it as much.
Update 11:58 a.m.:
Facebook says it wants me to email them with my driver’s license or passport information to prove that I am a real person?
I don’t think so!
Facebook has emailed to say that “a complaint” was made by someone that I am a fake profile on Facebook. This is ridiculous and I have told them so. This was merely a ploy, and a successful one, to silence me after I posted some critical stories about a Democrat politician in California and the leftwing organization that is giving him money. I am sure it is no coincidence that my profile was “disabled” within a few hours after those postings.
Clearly, something is amiss here. There are any number of “liberal trolls” with fake profiles on Facebook, we have all been tweaked by them. There are any number of book authors on Facebook who have pages under their ”pen names.” I have written for years and worked radio for years under a pen name. I do so because in the past when I used my real name for my broadcast and written work, I have had my car vandalized, my home vandalized, phone threats, death threats and my children were approached by strangers at their sports activities.
Liberals can be very dangerous people, especially here in the bay area, where I have had my tires flattened and my car windows broken when I attended counterprotests against liberal groups. They have pushed, shoved and threatened me with violence at their protests over the years when I would show up with counter protest signs or question their activities. I unfortunately, have to do work with liberals in the San Francisco bay area who undoubtedly would fire me or not hire me due to my political beliefs, so I keep my professional writing persona and my personal life “separate” for my safety.
Jane Jamison is my professional pen name. I will not be submitting personal information to Facebook, because it is not required by other members. Facebook said someone has complained I am using a fake identity. I am not “assuming” any personality of any other person, I am a writer with a pen name as many people are. (Remember Dear Abby and “Abigail Van Buren” columns?)
There are many hate groups operating on Facebook. Where is the policing? There are many fake profiles with weird photos, many of them liberals who troll on the pages of conservatives like me. Where is the policing of them on Facebook?
I’m just sayin.’
August 22, 2010 Jane Jamison Facebook Account “Disabled”
Hey Fellow Patriots! I am still here and on Twitter…..but suddenly today, Facebook “disabled” my account.
This occurred, interestingly enough, after I had posted the critical stories on Code Pink’s Jerry Brown fundraiser. I had posted the story later in the day on Jerry Brown’s facebook site, with a few other comments like:
“Wake up, California! The State is Broke!”Could it be that the Attorney General of Kaleeefornia who wants to be YOUR governor (not MINE, evah!) has a bit of “thin skin”?
Could it be that the liberals who run Facebook (in Palo Alto, isn’t it?) did Jerry’s bidding if the little dear complained?
Could it be that there is no First amendment right to free speech on Facebook, especially if you are dissing a pet liberal?
I’m just sayin’.
Jane's article tells it like it is, but we wonder if perhaps it was less a "particular article" and more overall Conservative content that has the Facebook folk deleting their loyal and loving members right and left. Here at Conservative Refocus, we have a bit of a reputation for telling it like it is as well. But we find it beyond mystifying that Facebook has decided to apparently mitigate political content when, in fact, political content is one of the hot buttons that has made Facebook such a widely used social networking system. Are we seeing Facebook authoring its own eventual demise?
We have tried to obtain information from Facebook regarding this "wipe off the face of the earth" phenomenon that many Conservatives are undergoing, however the return answers are automated and cold at best and most do not have the leverage of demanding a refund...alas. Our fearless publicist and researcher Kim tells us that she has gotten one bit of an answer on this unpleasantness should any other Conservatives wish to avoid this conundrum. "Buy an ad" is the answer if your desire is to post links.
But we also wonder if perhaps any left-wingers are suffering the same fate? Probably not, since most of those activists work for the Mainstream Media. Facebook, in our "business acumen experience," might wish to reconsider their mindset in this particular case. We need only look at recent history to know that far too many websites have been the Authors of their own demise through arrogance and otherwise. But if Facebook would care to look at, oh...say Foxnews, and how they have effectively trounced their network and left-leaning cable competition since the year 2000, we wonder if the powers that be at Facebook would continue their bold acts of tyrannical censorship.
Besides, what was all of that social networking buzz we have been hearing about Google anyway?
Note: To see the comments for this article please click here which will take you to the original article. To view the follow-up article in which we research the available evidence and indicate our findings click here.