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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/24/16

Facebook Suppression of Bernie Sanders Supporters?

Message Stephen Fox
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Caused by Volume of Postings and Algorithms, Shill Complaints from Hillary Trolls, or Actual Corporate Policy?
Statement by Mark Zuckerberg from the IPO initial offering February 2012:
We hope to change how people relate to their governments and social institutions. We believe building tools to help people share can bring a more honest and transparent dialogue around government that could lead to more direct empowerment of people, more accountability for officials and better solutions to some of the biggest problems of our time.
By giving people the power to share, we are starting to see people make their voices heard on a different scale from what has historically been possible. These voices will increase in number and volume. They cannot be ignored.
Over time, we expect governments will become more responsive to issues and concerns raised directly by all their people rather than through intermediaries controlled by a select few. Through this process, we believe that leaders will emerge across all countries that are pro-internet and fight for the rights of their people, including the right to share what they want and the right to access all information that people want to share with them.

The Reality: From Lorraine Vigority:
I have been blocked by FB to post this comment on both FB Bernie pages. I attempted it numerous times but they keep deleting it. I needed to share with other like-minded souls what they are doing:
Happy Father's Day, Bernie... You are an inspiration to all of us. You lead a life of goodness, honesty, and integrity. Thank you for your immense courage and strength of character in leading our Political Revolution. We can have no better role model than you... our hearts are still with you and our votes will follow our hearts. Please know that we can only vote for you... With Heartfelt Sincerity and Love,
The American People
From Stephen Fox: First, I must state that I am a sincere major fan of Facebook in general. It has had a brilliant and lasting effect on liberal American politics by improving our channels of communication, but I think there are some serious problems, too, which must be corrected, if brought to the Executives and Board Members' attention. This is not some diatribe or angry polemic.
These are some compiled experiences about Facebook censorship detailing my own and several friend's experience. We are all still wondering whether these posting restrictions are strictly numerical, based on the volumes of posts to groups, or whether they are sometimes content based, either resulting from complaints from Hillary Trolls embedded and hiding in Bernie groups who have been instructed to take this action when a particular kind of post comes along, or it is complaints from Facebook employees acting internally

If only the Executives at Facebook would take the time to respond to the many inquiries about this, it would clarify their real policies and put to rest much of the rampant speculation about how and why this has happened. Do the First Amendment and our hallowed American Freedom of Speech still apply because Facebook is a private entity? I would say, "Yes, of course, like a newspaper or radio station or television station" but others would disagree....
From Interview with Former San Bruno Mayor Gary Mondfrans:
Many frequent posters with a lot to say have had to curtail their ideas and strategies for fear of getting restricted, like the former Mayor of San Bruno California, Gary Mondfrans, who described it to me as "Facebook Jail," a term even recognized by the Urban Dictionary. I interviewed him extensively a few weeks ago on OpEdNews:
Fox: How many times has Facebook restricted you and what percentage of the time have you been up vs. what time down?
Mondfrans: For the past two-three months I have been unable to post into the pro-Bernie groups and pages I belong to and that has been most frustrating.
FOX: Does this discourage you?
MONDFRANS: Yes, it means that each time I must redouble my efforts and ask others to post things for me or to endlessly post on individual pages and chat rooms. But you know, where there is a will there is a way, and this has opened up even more opportunities to get Bernie's cause out before the people. Petition for redo of NY Primary Restricted from Facebook Group Posting, here:
click here
I encountered the first serious example of Facebook restrictions as I sent out the petition I wrote on to the New York Attorney General asking that the New York heisted primary election be redone because of all of the egregious voter purges that occurred in that phony election. Within 45 minutes of sending it out, I was restricted from doing so again for two weeks, so instead of sending it to groups, I sent it to administrators of groups, many of whom were friends or became friends. This took 8 times as long, a serious inconvenience, but one moves on in the face of adversity.

Disaster Hits Bernie Groups the Night Before Five Crucial Primaries
The very next night came that debacle night before five primaries (Pennsylvania-Maryland-Connecticut-Rhode Island-Delaware) when at least seven Bernie Facebook groups were shut down because of complaints that pornography had been posted on them. Meet Casey "Champagne" Charbonneau, the brains behind this, is part of Hillary's Million Dollar Trolls. He is part of a well-trained and well-paid group employed by HRC to deploy precise disruptions and obstructions of Bernie groups, whenever and wherever possible.
Facebook took at least 6 hours to put the pages back up, affecting several hundred thousand members of Bernie Groups. Now this is the subject of a petition on, written by Cody Payne of Citrus Heights, California:

Petition on Indict Casey "Champagne" Charbonneau for distribution of Child Pornography
click here
A few relevant articles on this subject:
Facebook Censorship, here:
click here

Why Were Bernie Sanders Groups Removed From Facebook?
click here
These were the groups, all of which I am still a member of: Bernie Believers, Bernie Sanders is my Hero, Bernie Sanders Discussion Group, Bernie Sanders Activists, Bernie Sanders 2016: Ideas Welcome, Bernie Sanders for President 2016, Bernie Sanders or Bust
John Grimes, wrote as a comment on that article:
#MillionDollarTrolls hashtag itself was trending because of her SuperPAC that has spent $1 Million dollars for paid trolls to fight any anti-Hillary statements on social media. In reality this is a propaganda warfare tactic, the likes of which we aren't used to. This is the kind of warfare tactic used by oppressive regimes in the Middle East, or 1930's Germany. Shutting down people's right to converse online is a scary move, one that human rights organizations need to address.

One Facebook employee even admitted to his part in all of this and more; I don't know the Facebook employee's name.
"I work for Facebook, and I'm reaching out to people who have been blocked on Facebook after posting keywords like #FeelTheBern. - He then began to explain that Facebook is actively and automatically blocking millions of accounts with an algorithm that detects people who post keywords like #FeelTheBern. I for example was banned from posting anything for 30 days due to the fact I posted #FeelTheBern. "In a staff briefing everyone was told to deny any appeal that happened due to posting political opinions. - (As he laughed and said these members are banned due to spamming give them time to calm down).
I asked him why not go public with a widely viewed TV network or huge websites like Huffington Post?
He said: I have emailed a few local news TV stations plus all the big well known websites and 100's of Facebook users, yet I haven't seen this story get viral.
I told him most likely the reason huge websites or news stations won't talk about it is because they are scared to post something without having a face to back it up with. I promised I would do my best to get this information out to the world. This is insane! I knew the corrupt corporations ran the media but I never thought it would get down to blocking people from Facebook

From Devon Holm, one of the most serious Facebook group posters, member of more than 1000 groups:
FB is auto reporting a lot of Bernie Posts. If you wonder why you are in FB jail a lot of the time, this might be why. It isn't only Trolls; now FB is in on the action. As administrator of this group I am allowed to keep your posts in the group, but as FB states: If I continue to allow the posts they are flagging to remain in the group, then they reserve the right to intercept the posts and never allow them to be posted at all. In other words, lots of posts are being auto reported some are being reported by trolls; there is a difference, but the censorship is the same.
A FB censor/ Computer is picking up key words in regards to Bernie's campaign and depending on what they don't want us sharing they will nab those posts. I have been in FB jail maybe 15 times at least in the last year. Facebook also doesn't like the same post going out over and over. You need to change a word or 2 every 2 to 3 posts, then stop for 20 min, give it a rest, go to a different important post, and rotate. I have had many posts that say auto reported by FB and they are Good Bernie folks with valuable posts they are posting. I always allow these posts in my group after reviewing.

Can you balance these kinds of reports with the charming, feel-good-warm-and fuzzy boilerplate from Facebook:
Our mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Every day, people come to Facebook to share their stories, see the world through the eyes of others and connect with friends and causes. The conversations that happen on Facebook reflect the diversity of a community of more than one billion people.
We want people to feel safe when using Facebook. For that reason, we've developed a set of Community Standards, outlined below. These policies will help you understand what type of sharing is allowed on Facebook, and what type of content may be reported to us and removed. Because of the diversity of our global community, please keep in mind that something that may be disagreeable or disturbing to you may not violate our Community Standards. We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety. Learn more about how Facebook handles abusive content:
Direct Threats, Self-Injury, Dangerous Organizations, Bullying and Harassment, Attacks on Public Figures, Criminal Activity, Sexual Violence and Exploitation, Regulated Goods

John Sepmeier: Facebook is not a utility, it's a privately owned site controlled by its management policy, like it or not. Email organization of a group, managed by Bernie Sander's supporters, would be different, or a social network run by Sander's supporters, but Facebook - no. The Internet is simply a data network between users - who mostly a subject to other users' Eula agreements.
The fifth and last time I was restricted on Facebook resulted from my sharing a great article I had just published on OpEdNews about how we must prevent the Philadelphia Democratic National Convention from devolving into something worse than the Chicago Convention in 1968, a possibility that I believe might still occur. I am a member of 600 Bernie Groups, and after slowly posting it to 101, with no warning or inkling that I might be headed for trouble for posting this beneficent and conciliatory article, I was restricted for two MORE weeks. Here is the apparently offensive article:

How to Prevent Philadelphia from Turning into Far Worse than Chicago in 1968

click here

Maybe it is really true that no good deed goes unpunished....

Here is my second appeal on my fifth restriction from posting to groups, and I must point out that not one single appeal nor any correspondence or private messages sent through Facebook have ever been responded to, nor any response to FedExed letters:
"This is unacceptable. I can't post to my own group, as the only Administrator thereof, an article from the Washington Post. I wrote to Mr. Stretch (VP, Corporate Counsel, to Mr. Zuckerberg, and one more Board member a few days ago. This is a violation of my free speech rights. I wonder now what complaints have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission. One of my lawyer friends is an internationally known expert and has written book on these matters, and we would like
to determine who made this decision and why you can never state your name or respond to me.
This has happened five times in 15 weeks, 10 out of 15 weeks. My articles on this praise Facebook in general, but will also be an embarrassment to the Board of Directors, when it links to so many others who have been restricted, as very anti-democratic. I have written to the entire Board of Directors twice, concerning the way you allow someone to appeal then totally ignore them and never reply. This time, there was nothing even like a warning or a statement that no one can post to more than 100 groups (I had just posted to 100 when you restricted me). An FCC or FTC case? [Federal Communications Commission, and Federal Trade Commission] I hope that we could resolve this amicably."
The Federal Trade Commission made a somewhat relevant ruling:

Facebook Settles FTC Charges That It Deceived Consumers By Failing To Keep Privacy Promises, here:
click here
Another one from FTC:
click here
I am not quite there yet, as I still await the response from Facebook executives that seems to never come.

Condensed Statement by Mark Zuckerberg from IPO offering, February 5, 2012:
Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission -X to make the world more open and connected. We think it is important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do. I will try to outline our approach in this letter.
At Facebook, we're inspired by technologies that have revolutionized how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television; by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice. They encouraged progress. They changed the way society was organized. They brought us closer together.
Today, our society has reached another tipping point. We live at a moment when the majority of people in the world have access to the internet or mobile phones -X the raw tools necessary to start sharing what they're thinking, feeling and doing with whomever they want. Facebook aspires to build the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries.
There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on. We hope to strengthen how people relate to each other. Even if our mission sounds big, it starts small, with the relationship between two people. Personal relationships are the fundamental unit of our society. Relationships are how we discover new ideas, understand our world and ultimately derive long-term happiness.
At Facebook, we build tools to help people connect with the people they want and share what they want and by doing this we are extending people' s capacity to build and maintain relationships. People sharing more, even if just with their close friends or families; this creates a more open culture and leads to a better understanding of the lives and perspectives of others.

We believe that this creates a greater number of stronger relationships between people, and that it helps people get exposed to a greater number of diverse perspectives. By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information.
We think the world's information infrastructure should resemble the social graph, a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring. We have already helped more than 800 million people map out more than 100 billion connections so far, and our goal is to help this rewiring accelerate. We hope to improve how people connect to businesses and the economy.
Five core values for how we run Facebook:
Focus on Impact
If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems. It sounds simple, but we think most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.
Be Fast
Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. However, as most companies grow, they slow down too much because they're e more afraid of making mistakes than they are of losing opportunities by moving too slowly. We have a saying: "Move fast and break things. - The idea is that if you never break anything, you're probably not moving fast enough.

Be Bold
Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that's changing so quickly, you're guaranteed to fail if you don't take any risks. We have another saying: "The riskiest thing is to take no risks. - We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.

Be Open
We believe that a more open world is a better world because people with more information can make better decisions and have a greater impact. That goes for running our company as well. We work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information as possible about every part of the company so they can make the best decisions and have the greatest impact.

Build Social Value
Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.
May 14, 2016, from Joel Kaplan, VP Global Public Policy at Facebook and Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy at The White House
There's been a lot of discussion recently about Facebook and politics. In the wake of a news report claiming certain stories were suppressed in the Trending Topics feature, some conservatives said they feared we're censoring different political views and that Facebook is biased.
A lot of people at Facebook are working to figure out if there are parts of the Trending Topics process that are broken - and if so how they should be fixed. Though we've found no evidence the report is true, it is deeply troubling, and if there is a problem, we want to uncover it and correct it. This matters to us because Facebook has always been a place where anyone can share their opinions and engage in discussion. And it
especially matters to me.

I'm Facebook's VP of Global Public Policy, and I'm also a Republican and a conservative. We have a team that works to help ensure that everyone, including Republicans, can optimize their use of Facebook in communicating with constituents and fans. The leader of that team is Katie Harbath, a longtime Republican adviser and digital strategist.
I have heard the claims of bias from friends and colleagues. But that is not the truth of Facebook -- and I want to share how we ensure we're a home for all voices, including conservatives.
Let me lay out some basic facts. In the US, there are an equal number of conservatives and liberals using our platform, and conservatives are just as engaged -- if not more so. Conservative groups are thriving on Facebook, with exceptionally high levels of engagement. This election is one of the most discussed topics on Facebook that we've ever seen. Over 75 million unique people have had 1.7 billion interactions about the candidates and the issues.
Over the past 30 days, more people engaged in a conversation about Donald J. Trump on Facebook than any other US presidential candidate. Even among conservatives, there are many divergent views, and we're committed to being a place for all of them. Numerous independent media outlets have built strong followings on Facebook and use the platform every day to communicate. Independent Journal - America has over 7.5 million Facebook fans and has leveraged Facebook from its creation to grow its media business. Glenn Beck has over 3.2 million fans and is an innovative publisher on the platform with his site The Blaze.
The list goes on.
We are also active with conservatives on the partnerships front. Since 2015, we've sponsored nine debates for both parties -- and we were proud to be a partner with Fox News for the first Republican debate last August, the highest-rated debate of all time. We have committed to sponsoring and attending both the GOP Convention and Democratic National Convention this summer, to make sure the conversation around these important events happens on Facebook.
Similarly, over the last few years we have sponsored or sent Facebook representatives to numerous gatherings of
conservatives--like Right Online, Lincoln Initiative, Americans for Prosperity, Red State, and the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)--so that we can help show the most active conservative speakers and leaders how to make their voices heard on our platform.
I love the fact that conservative voices are so strong on Facebook -- and that we are the place where the political debate takes place. But ultimately my own political perspective isn't what matters. What's important is that we are truly open to everyone -- and that they know it.
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Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)

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