Dysfunction Veterans, a Facebook page run by Michael Rivers, himself a veteran, was banned from Facebook for allegedly violating its content policies regarding firearms.
Speaking to Big League Politics, Rivers explained that his page was banned for buying ads on Facebook to promote a contest where entries could win an AR-15 rifle, even though according to the letter of Facebook’s community guidelines, his promotion was following Facebook’s rules.
“We do try to stay within Facebook’s guidelines, they just make them up as they go along,” said Rivers. “We ran a contest, a promo to give away an AR-15. It was a licensed firearms company, and we are an online retailer. According to Facebook rules, it’s okay because we are two online retailers that follow all applicable state and federal guidelines.”
He went on to explain that 8 days into the advertisement, which was approved by Facebook, they removed the advertisement and banned the staff member who posted it for 30 days. Rivers immediately ended the advertisement and removed all reference of it from the page, but Facebook proceeded to ban members of his staff two more times for the same, deleted advertisement.
“They banned us again for the same exact thing,” said Rivers. “So again, we appealed it, and then yesterday the page was unpublished and they cited the same thing again.”
“We had ended the promo last month, midway through it. After two or three weeks of not running it, they banned us for the same advertisement.”
Rivers says he appealed the latest ban and supplied Facebook with relevant excerpts from their own community guidelines as evidence his page did nothing wrong. He is currently waiting to hear back from the big tech platform.
In addition to selling merchandise via the Dysfunction Veterans online store, Rivers also runs a non-profit organization focused on providing housing to homeless veterans, DV Farm, that sometimes receives cash injections from the profits made from the Dysfunctional Veterans retail operation. Rivers provides housing and support to up to five homeless veterans at a time, and says his organization focuses on the “problem child” cases that are ignored by the Veterans Administration and other veterans organizations.
While Rivers remained optimistic about DV Farm’s ability to continue, it seems Facebook’s decision to remove the page for a post that seemingly did not violate the big tech platform’s rules may impact the non-profit.
“We are not federally or state funded so we rely solely on donations,” said Rivers. “Every month, of course, the non-profit being brand new, there would be a shortfall. We try to keep it in the black, but it can be an expensive project.”
“No matter what, whatever I make off the Dysfunctional Veterans store, goes to making sure the non-profit keeps running.”
Rivers also revealed that a similar incident happened in the days before the 2016 presidential election. His page was removed by Facebook without an explanation, and after other veterans who are now CEO’s and prominent business individuals reached out to Facebook on Rivers’ behalf, the page was reinstated. Rivers still has no idea why his page was removed, or why it was reinstated.
“In the last few days before the voting started, we were on fire. Every meme we posted was reaching millions,” said Rivers. “And we were shut down, and of course they would not show us what we posted that violated the community guidelines.”
“People reached out to me from other organizations, other CEO’s, and within 24 hours Dysfunctional Veterans was back up.”
He explained that this is a “habit” of Facebook, where they will remove content and ban pages without giving them an explanation of what they did wrong or what behavior they should avoid in the future.
Big League Politics contacted Facebook for comment on why the Dysfunctional Veterans page was removed, and did not receive a response.
Rivers’ other Facebook page, Veteran Humor, is still published on the platform.
Twitter Posts Job Posting for Developing Paid Subscription Service; Will Platform Become Pay-to-Use?
Will it lead to the downfall of the platform?
Shares for Twitter’s stock surged more than 8% on Wednesday as the company posted an online job listing for a developer who would work on a new system designed as a pay-to-use platform.
The job listing advertises the opening for a project team termed “Gryphon.” The company describes the team as creating a “subscription platform” that “can be reused by other teams in the future.”
In a statement to CNN on the job listing, Twitter underplayed the announcement, stating that it was only a job listing, not a product announcement.
“We’re conducting this survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck. We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”
CEO Jack Dorsey has resisted shareholder demands to reorganize Twitter to prioritize profitability, most recently fending off a buyout attempt staged by oligarch Paul Singer challenging his leadership of the company. Dorsey kept his position of power over the company after reaching an agreement with profit-hungry shareholders, and the new development of paid subscription software could signal he intends to further satisfy them.
The company’s major investors will likely be pleased by any sign the company intends to convert its service into a pay-to-use model, evolving away from the tradition business model of micro-targeted ads towards its user base. However, a change to a subscription model could prove to be a threat to Twitter’s appeal, especially when newer free speech platforms are gunning for the platform’s user base and the company caves to the demands of censorious liberal journalists in suspending a variety of public figures deemed inconvenient to the neoliberal societal model.
Ultimately, the greed and thirst for power of the privileged elites of Silicon Valley could possibly bring about an end to their era of domination over online political speech, heralding a renaissance of the internet.
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