I’ve been blocked/suspended by Facebook Twice…
I’m a working professional musician and have been for nearly 40 years. I’ve performed on stages as large as the Los Angeles Colosseum and Chicago’s Soldier Field and about 30 other stadiums for Christian organizations like Promise keepers and many others in the 90’s as well as in small and large Jazz, Funk, Rock, and R and B Clubs since the late 1970's.
I play music for a living and have since I was 18 years old…and I also happen to be a conservative Christian and a conservative Republican. (I know, how odd you might be thinking)
Early on in my career years ago I would not talk much about my conservative political or conservative Christian beliefs, particularly when working or when I had a lot of club gigs with non Christians or non conservatives. I didn’t want to make “waves” as the saying goes.
That changed however a few years ago and I began speaking out about my positions and beliefs on everything from abortion (I’m pro life) to Global Warming and Gay marriage, to the difference between socialism and free market capitalism.
My thinking was…as a U.S. citizen the Constitution and first amendment states here clearly
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
So, I began voicing my viewpoints whether people or co workers agreed with them or not. It’s my right as a U.S. citizen, and I’m going to exercise those rights.
Particularly as Social media platforms began rising on the web around 8–9 years ago with Myspace first then Facebook and Twitter, I realized what an amazing tool these platforms are, one can reconnect with people I knew in H.S. or College, or with band members in groups I used to perform in. You gather “Friends” from all over not just the U.S. but all over the world many of whom I know and many I have never met and probably will never meet in person.
I immediately recognized Facebook and Twitter’s power of connecting with hundreds and even thousands of people and as a working musician I recognized a new and powerful tool for letting music fans and friends know where I was performing that week. These are tremendous tools for the working musician.
Then it started about five years ago…
Particularly on Facebook I began noticing that conservatives and conservative Christians I followed were getting “Blocked” and or “Suspended” on a pretty regular basis that were very vocal about their Christian and conservative political beliefs.
One of the people on FB I follow that was getting “Blocked” regularly was actress and former SNL star Victoria Jackson, who is a very vocal conservative Christian and also politically conservative and still a working actress to this day. Victoria and many others including myself became very vocal and loud on Facebook about our conservative political viewpoints and strong Christian beliefs. The First amendment above guarantees that right.
And then it happened to me…
I was suddenly “suspended” or “Blocked” on Facebook for reasons I wasn’t quite sure of at first. I would get a message stating your account has been suspended for 3 days for violating Facebook’s community standards or some other “official” sounding reason.
And then the “blocking” happened to my account again this time for a week. I began noticing that it was only very vocal and out loud conservatives and or conservative Christians who were getting “blocked” or “suspended” and in a case or two it appeared that people I was following were banned altogether, and it was never, and I mean NEVER people I followed with very liberal/progressive political and or religious beliefs. It was ONLY my Facebook friends with a decided and very loud conservative and conservative Christian and or very conservative political bent…
At first I thought “People are flagging me on Facebook”, “Friends” who don’t like what I say there are making complaints against me” And that’s why FB is blocking and or suspending me.
But as I noticed the trend of a large number of my very conservative and or conservative Christian friends were getting “Blocked” or “Suspended” for days and sometimes even weeks, it occurred to me that this cannot be the result of just “friends” flagging them (and Myself) or reporting to FB that my posts are upsetting or that they find what I say objectionable, it has to be more than that.
And it appears that I was right as just this week a former employee of Facebook states that yes, the people in charge of “trending” topics on FB are indeed manipulating and even NOT posting as “trending” stories or news items and comments that happen to be from a conservative viewpoint, even if they are popular and trending…
Conservatives and conservative Christians like myself, Victoria Jackson and many many others have known this for a long time. Facebook and yes Twitter as well are run by those with extremely liberal/progressive and politically left wing viewpoints and biases, and they use their massive worldwide reach and media power to sometimes squelch the speech of others they disagree with politically or religiously. To those of us active on and watching these social media platforms carefully this “viewpoint squelching” has been going on for at least 5–6 years.
As Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg meets with highly visible political conservatives this very day (May 17, 2016) my hope and prayer is that he learns something from what they will tell him, and what his workers and managers apparently are not telling him…or perhaps they were telling him and he (Zuckerberg) has known and approved of this “viewpoint squelching” for years…I can’t say for sure, but I can say with certainty that people with a decidedly conservative viewpoint have been blocked, suspended, and sometimes banned on the social media behemoth for our views and beliefs…we’ll see just how open and viewpoint neutral these social media giants stay…or not.