Facebook is refusing to help one of the largest and most influential pro-President Trump Facebook groups as it suffers a massive coordinated attack by left-wingers trying to shut it down.
“The Deplorables” is the brainchild of Tom Lipscomb, the conservative founder of the New York Times’ Times Books imprint. Moderators include famous Islam critic Pam Geller, Baltimore black conservative radio host Wayne Dupree, tea party leader Lori Saxon, and this reporter. Founded on September 9, the day after Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” remark, the group shot to prominence in the last weeks of the election and now has more than 515,000 members. But all of that success is about to be undone.
Early Saturday morning, group administrator Dan Schwartz pinned an announcement on the Deplorables page that reads: “DO NOT POST, AS YOUR POST WILL NEVER BE SEEN.”
Schwartz explained: “The Deplorables group was essentially broken by Facebook now, for a variety of reasons. Essentially, we enabled post moderation because of the number of racist posts from trolls, who, even when we deleted the post and “member,” we could no longer block them, including several who we now know are Facebook Employees &/or Contractors. When we enabled post moderation, Facebook’s database crashed, and we cannot view your posts requiring Moderator approval; and worse, the Admin panel crashed, so we cannot even turn back off Moderation.
Essentially, FACEBOOK BROKE OUR GROUP.
We have had numerous technical “problems” since we topped a half-million Deplorables around Election Day; and they have grown only worse in the last 36 hours. We have REPEATEDLY made Facebook staff aware of the problems; but it appears since we “Deplorables” do not comport with Silicon Valley’s vision of America.”
Big League Politics has reached out to Facebook regarding Schwartz’s allegations — including his unconfirmed claim that people on the Facebook payroll have been trying to sabotage the group. We will update this report when Facebook replies.
So what happened? Why were left-wing trolls allowed to attack the group and why did the wave of attacks all happen so suddenly?
“We have the liberals and in fact there are secret groups that try to infiltrate the group using fake accounts,” Schwartz told Big League Politics.
“The trolling is a real problem. They’ll pretend to be a Trump supporter and then post something racist or homophobic,” Schwartz said. “What I do is a couple times a day I do a search for (awful words) or sometimes comments in there, but there’s an inability to block people. You unload somebody and then next thing you know they’re back in. If they don’t help me clean it up” then the group is dead. Schwartz said that his “Block User” function has been broken for months even after he reported the problem to Facebook management.
Facebook has not been willing to provide Schwartz the tools he needs to moderate the troll attacks.
“I was invited to the Facebook summit but” couldn’t make it, Schwartz said, referring to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s recent conference in Chicago focusing on Facebook Communities. “I had been in touch with their team beginning in May. We’ve gotten some basic moderating tools but it’s very limited. We need more advanced tools for groups over 50,000 to 100,000 in size. We tried moderating posts, but it just got out of control.” Schwartz noted a backlog of about 50,000 posts that moderators previously had been unable to keep up with.
Schwartz said that he is the personal victim of attacks by left-wing trolls, and also of censorship by Facebook authorities.
“I’ve been targeted because I run such a big group,” Schwartz said. “Everybody has been targeted with spear-phishing attempts, because anyone who can get into my account can shut the group down. I’m constantly getting spear-phishing attacks.”
Schwartz also recently had his personal Facebook account heavily restricted for 30 days (making group management more difficult) for posting a cartoon depicting Muslim men trying to rape a woman while the girl’s father is led away by authorities calling him a “bigot.” Facebook flagged the cartoon for “nudity,” but, having seen the cartoon, the “nudity” case is a stretch. We have decided not to print the cartoon here at this time, to prevent Facebook from being able to stifle the wide dissemination of this article.
Facebook’s conduct in this matter is part of a continuing pattern. Big League Politics recently reported that another major pro-Trump group with 132,000 members was deleted by Facebook with no explanation. After our report and widespread Deplorable outrage, Facebook backed down after seven days and re-instated the group.
“A lot of what we can do is to help create a more civil and productive debate on some of the bigger issues as well,” Zuckerberg told CNN at his Communities Summit in Chicago, indicating that he plans to focus on censoring political content (like he is trying to do in China to get the government to un-block Facebook there). But why does he allow left-wing troll attacks to bring pro-Trump groups to their knees?
Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged social media platforms to “hurry up” and moderate the kind of content that she thinks helped Trump defeat her in the election.
“The other side was using content that was just flat-out false and delivering it in a very personalized way,” Clinton said at the California-based Code Conference. “If I put myself in the position of running a platform like Facebook, first of all, they’ve got to get back to trying to curate it more effectively,” she said. “Put me out of the equation, they’ve got to help prevent fake news from creating a new reality that does influence how people think of themselves, see the world, the decisions that they make.”
Replying to Clinton’s comment, Schwartz told BLP, “We pleaded with Facebook to deploy admin tools beyond the crude ones they provide, so we could indeed block Macedonian #FakeNews websites, so we could clean up the mess Facebook helped create in our gigantic group; but we were repeatedly ignored. What’s more, I also admin a couple small groups, and the “ask member a question” tool used to screen people who want to join was available over a month ago, while it was just available to us a couple days ago.”
Facebook shareholders recently pressured Zuckeberg to cut down against “Fake News” while taking a jab at President Trump.
Arjuna Capital executive Natasha Lamb defined fake news as “content posed and disseminated with the intent to mislead, not the mainstream media which the [US] President refers to as fake news.” The supposed epidemic “needs to be managed systemically,” Lamb argued, saying that, “A lack of self regulation could incite government regulation.”
Zuckerberg vowed that Facebook has a “special focus on trying to reduce the prevalence of false news in the system.”
Zuckerberg is generating murmurs as a possible presidential candidate against Trump in 2020. Zuckerberg downplayed presidential speculation after his recent very public road trip across America, saying he was merely “doing it to get a broader perspective to make sure we’re best serving our community of almost 2 billion people at Facebook and doing the best work to promote equal opportunity at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.”
The Facebook founder’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative recently hired Obama campaign veteran David Plouffe and George W. Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman.
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