Cato Institute Attacks Ron Paul Supporters While Facebook Blocks Them From Posting

Twitter, Ron Paul

On April 19, The Cato Institute vice president of research Brink Lindsey tweeted his dislike for former congressman Ron Paul for his “hideous corruption of libertarian ideas.” Accusing the most important member of the Libertarian movement of spreading ideas that “[put] his movement in the Trumpism family tree,” the Cato scholar accused both the president and the former presidential candidate of being xenophobic.

But to Paul supporters who have been paying attention to the Texas obstetrician and his decades of anti-collectivist activism, the idea that one of the most peace-oriented free marketers in recent history is anything close to xenophobic didn’t sit well.

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It was with that sentiment in mind that author Alex Witoslawski wrote a piece denouncing Lindsey and highlighting his “long history of promoting views at odds with the grassroots libertarians.” Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, pointed to an October 2002 Reason piece by Lindsey entitled “No more 9/11s: The case for invading Iraq.”

But as soon as Witoslawski’s article went live on April 21st, something went incredibly wrong as countless Facebook users reported being momentarily blocked from making certain posts once they shared Witoslawski’s piece on the social media network.

Facebook screenshot, Alice Salles
Facebook screenshot, Alice Salles

Some of those who agreed to speak to Big League Politics about this ordeal were clearly upset. Was Lindsey or those who felt sympathetic to his complaints behind a campaign to stifle Witoslawski’s right to have his voice heard by reporting his article? Or was Facebook itself using its “fake news” witch hunt as a means to punish libertarian-leaning organizations?

Some of the most prominent figures to have their accounts temporarily flagged included Jeff Deist, the president of the Mises Institute, an educational organization focused in researching and teaching the Austrian School of economics and laissez-faire political economy.

In his post, Deist criticized Lindsey’s impulse to “impose a cultural component upon libertarianism.” Deist added that by attacking Paul’s supporters, all the Cato scholar proved was that he seems unwilling to have the humility to put himself in other people’s shoes.

Even the widely popular page Liberty Memes was temporarily flagged after sharing Witoslawski’s article.

In a conversation with Big League Politics, one of Liberty Memes’ administrators said that as soon as he noticed that particular link had been targeted, he “immediately thought of the way our page was treated last year.” He asked to remain anonymous.

In 2016, Liberty Memes saw images mocking then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton being suddenly deleted from its page. As administrators were suspended from Facebook, they were left with no way to appeal the company’s decision but to go to the media.

“Don’t get me wrong,” one of the administrators explained, “Facebook is a private company that has every right to treat its users any way that it wants.”  However, “a vital market function is consumer feedback, and if [Facebook] wants to please its users, it will listen when they complain about having their views silenced.”

Seeing Liberty Conservative as a publication that keeps “libertarians and conservatives intellectually honest,” the administrator added that it’s “an absolute shame to see them silenced with the threat of punishment on users who share their material.”

To Witoslawski, this issue must be cleared as soon as possible, as Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has “said he wants Facebook to be treated as a public utility.”

In a statement to Big League Politics, Witoslawski said that while Facebook has the right to censor what it sees fit, if that is the case, the company should refrain from spending “more than a million dollars each month on lobbying for favoritism and special deals from the government.”  After all, if they are “seeking to use the power of the state in order to monopolize the social media market,” then they “have no right to censor any news or opinion website based solely on its content, which is what Facebook is doing by blocking my latest article for the Liberty Conservative.”

Calling this targeted campaign an “out-of-control assault on our First Amendment rights,”  Witoslawski is concerned that leaving this issue unaddressed would lead to a “purge” of right-wing views from social media platforms.

Others who had their page temporarily flagged included authors who contribute to Liberty Conservative such as Rocco Lucente, Eduardo Rivero Puente, and Shane Trejo, all editors with the publication.

Big League Politics contacted Facebook’s conservative outreach team, providing them with links to pages that were punished for sharing Witoslawski’s story. While we have reason to believe they will get back to us soon with a statement or more information on why this particular link was targeted, we have yet to receive anything back.

This story will be updated.

 

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Facebook is a political information-sharing platform, AND a virtual monopoly.

    As a result, Facebook has become instrumental to the dissemination of political thought.

    Therefore, speech on Facebook should be subject to protections under the 1st Amendment.

    (Facebook is privately owned, but that does not in any way preclude regulation. Every business association is subject to some form of regulation, and Facebook should not be an exception. Due to the nature of the business and its size/scope, regulation is most assuredly in the public interest.)

    (Antitrust action should also be considered.)

  2. I didn’t share the story you talked about in the article but I do share many conservative stories and I try to keep them from websites I’ve known and trusted for many years. The popup websites (I call them that) I’ve seen have infiltrating all of FB and most of them have headlines and stories that simply don’t go together. Sensational headlines then stories filled with opinion but no facts concerning the headlines implication.

    What I’ve experience lately is FB has three different times had me look through my posts to see if I consider anything spam. This before I’m allowed to post. So far they have allowed me to go ahead and post afterwards. Kinda irritating and it makes me wonder if they do the same with people who post things from Huffpo and Move on. I do however hope they’re doing the same with my friends because I’m tired of reading articles from these fly by night websites that so many of my friends are posting now.

    I read the bio about the founder of this website so I did “like” your FB page and I’ve added your site to my list of sites I visit daily. I’ve enjoyed the articles I’ve read here but you don’t make it easy enough or interesting enough for most to want to get into the stories you post. I’m not saying you should go for all out sensationalism but you do need to set your website up more in tune with the ability to see a little of what each article is about with a short synopsis included with the title. I know it can be a daunting task to not only set up a site but then write for it and I hope you become successful in your efforts. We need factual, fun and sometimes in depth conservative articles of value to share with others. I hope your looking at how other conservative sites are set up to help you expand yours. You might want to look at “Weasel Zippers” for a different take on appearance and of course “Gateway Pundit” has become very popular also “CNSnews” has a very simple but effect website.

    Best wishes for you success.

  3. Right, because having the same foreign policy as Switzerland is xenophobic. NOT. There is however a xenophobic country in this world it’s North Korea and their politics are exactly the reverse of Ron Paul.

  4. My liberal friends have no idea why I refrain from sharing anything of a political nature on Facebook. They are free to say whatever they want. Just so sad, but that is the reality of Facebook for anyone with a position contrary to progressive beliefs. Shame because the interface is decent for conversation and sharing of ideas.

  5. FACEBOOK is just an arm of the intelligence agencies (otherwise it would have a more creative flair) The intelligence agencies all report to the military industrial complex. America has been lost to a military coup. Exciting. Hope it lasts long enough to get all it deserves.

  6. ALL this butthurt on the part of Facebook & the “news” media. And STATO needs to rethink more than just their stance on Ron Paul. They gave FL’s corporate welfare addicted big spending Governor an “A” on fiscal issues despite the Koch Brothers themselves fighting against his “Enterprise Florida” & “Visit Florida” boondoggles. For some reason, big government picking winners & losers is A-OK if it’s a big _REPUBLICAN_ government doing the picking. The corruption in America’s Wang amazes even cynics like me at times…

  7. get a clue on who is behind all of this……. Ron Paul never walked the yid-Israel lockstep. Funny though how Israel is VERY xenophobic. Suckers.

  8. While we have reason to believe they will get back to us soon…

    Yeah, right. It’s long past time to boycott Fakebook. Suckerburg loves the smell of censorship in the morning so he will censor you to the stone age, son!

  9. While Facebook is and was a social media platform, it has expanded to a veritable browser with a participating “membership” open to real human beings seeking to connect with others of their choosing and blocking those they reject. Prejudicial entry and continued participation is the same for everyone. That is, until lawyers and the courts start their omnipresent predictable harassment over ASCII characters one might find offensive or fall into the PC legal abyss. Certain violations of long established criminal behavior shoul be dealt with quickly and reported to the appropriate authorities.
    Facebook should never be held responsible for the libelous postings of any of its “participants”! It is a neutral passageway for others as they communicate with one or thousands.
    Should the Department of Highways be also libel for the libelous statements made by a business owner who’s customers and suppliers connect via the roads?
    Until the courts tell lawyers and legislators to go to hell, every social media platform is likely to become a lake of censorship.

  10. this is the only correct answer. shame on everyone who fails to accept this obvious truth.