And, of course, Mark Zuckerberg has made the public (and false) declaration that Facebook is not censuring political speech based on its content (and sides in the political debates) just as a point of LIABILITY.
Because by censuring content, Facebook becomes from a social media platform - into a PUBLISHER, with liabilities of a publisher.
Yet, while declaring that he does not have political censorship on Facebook (at least, not any longer, as of October 2019, the time of his FALSE declaration), Zuckerberg's Facebook has introduced new ways to do just that same political censorship.
As a citizen with a law degree and an expert in Constitutional Law (suspension of my license by the State of New York as political censorship of my criticism of a corrupt judge who has since ran from the bench chased by an FBI/State Comptroller/State Judicial Conduct Commission investigation does not cancel my law degree, experience, expertise, skills or right to speak out as a citizen, WITH in-depth knowledge of the law) - I am very vocal on legal issues of the day.
And, since election of President Donald Trump, I see that the so-called "left" and the so-called "Democrats", including left-leaning prosecutors, judges and a variety of federal employees and non-profit organizations prefer to put the law on its proverbial head rather than acknowledge that Trump may be right on any issues at all.
That is not a support of the "rule of law" to me.
And, as a naturalized citizen, I have given my pledge to support the U.S. Constitution - whether the "deep state" allows me to do that as an attorney or not.
So, I comment on posts of leftist media sources and I express my informed expert opinions on the law, and I create my own groups, and I make friends who share my views, and I invite friends to my groups, and friends invite me to their own "conservative thinking" groups - and I participate in those groups, too.
But, I see that my conservative thinking friends, one after another, get banned from Facebook for days, weeks and months for expressing their political views in a non-violent and non-harassing manner.
And, finally, the axe of Facebook censorship has reached me, so I can speak from my own experience.
On or around February 7, 2020, my account was COMPLETELY disabled.
I was told about that by my daughter who saw me "disappear" on messenger and on Facebook.
My Facebook friends received suggestions to delete me as their Facebook friend.
Facebook required me to confirm my "identity" to enable my Facebook account back on - necessarily through a cell phone, which I could not do at the time since we are located in a dead area in terms of cell service.
I have been doing a lot of things on Facebook for a number of years - I
- socialize there with people from across the world,
- read news in my customized feed,
- do research there as to development of the legal services industry in the U.S. and in my native Russia,
- share results of my research with opinion leaders in the field of the research etc.
There is a lot of information in my account that I would not die if I lose, but still, I would prefer to keep.
Facebook somehow REQUIRES to tie your Facebook account to a cell phone.
That is highly discriminatory to people who
1. Do not have a cell phone, and who, like me
2. Lives in areas where cell service does not reach.
Which means, Facebook discriminates against the supposed "red necks", the supposed "deplorables", creating for itself "rules" that make it easier for itself to disable - for a long time, without ability to restore - accounts of conservative thinkers and speakers.
I was lucky I live fairly close to an area where cell service is available, I can at least travel there by car, which I did the next morning - and restored my Facebook account by receiving and entring the code sent by cell phone on my Facebook page. Of course, by that time the length of time it took me to restore my account and my attempts to do it by means other than cell phones were, possibly, considered by Facebook as additional "suspicious activity on the account", and, though my account was enabled again, I had restrictions for a week, then prolonged for 4 more days (no explanation given, for what reason) to
- post links on my own page;
- post and comment in groups, including my own;
- create groups.
Many people who have a Dish or cable Internet, but no cell service - from the rural areas - who "coincidentally" support Donald Trump - may be not so lucky as to having an ability, like I did, to travel the very next morning to an area with cell service.
I am retired and have an ability to travel.
Other people might need to go to work in the morning and for the remainder of the weed and may not have an opportunity to reach a cell phone-accessible area for a week or more.
And, there is a big possibility that conservative voters from rural areas with no cell service will just give up on this nonsense, be too busy working and earning a living to consider traveling a considerable number of miles to the nearest area where cell service is available, especially in winter conditions, especially with bad roads and snow on the roads - and not try to get that code by cell phone text message back.
Or, be "too long" (like I was) from the point of view of Facebook to restore their accounts - and have additional restrictions slapped on them when they come back, "because of unusual activities on the account" - which there were none.
Now, I, as many other residents of no-cell-service areas in the United States - do have a high-speed cable Internet. Some of my neighbors have Dish Internet.
We do have Internet.
And most of us living in our neighborhood have landline phones - since cell service is not available.
If anybody wants to confirm my identity, it can be done by calling my landline, talking to me and asking me certain questions that only a true-identity person can answer.
But - here is the gimmick.
The megarich Facebook giant that has enough personnel to police speech of conservatives on its platform - does not have live individuals to talk to, in writing or orally, by e-mail or by (landline) phone, to discuss the matter.
To simply ask for explanations as to what kind of "suspicious activity" or "violation of Community standards" occurred on the account that warranted disabling the account altogether or restricting activities on the account, such as (what has been done to me 3 TIMES since February 7, 2020):
- ability to form groups;
- ability to post in groups;
- ability to comment on posts in groups;
- ability to post links - in groups and on your own page.
It is not so funny that I, as a founder and sole moderator of my own groups regarding human rights (including freedom of speech and access to justice), in English and in Russian, am allowed to approve posts from other people - but not my own.
I am not allowed to even welcome new members to my own groups.
It is obviously done by Facebook to weed out interest to the group which has activities of its main contributor/author suspended again and again, for days and weeks on end.
At the same time, I see people with left-leaning views say horribly vulgar, crass, harassing and bullying things to conservative-leaning people, on that same Facebook.
I had DEATH THREATS against me and my family members sent to me through a Facebook messenger for my posts - reported it to Facebook - and Facebook did nothing, and I was not alone, other conservative-leaning people report the same attitude from Facebook toward them.
Moreover, I see a lot of people with accounts very obviously not under their own names - and they are allowed to exist on Facebook just fine, no super-verification of their identities needed.
* * *
The timeline of my FB bans during the Democratic primaries and many, many discussions about those primaries, gun rights, various actions by the President etc. in groups - is like that:
- I was put into a Facebook jail on February 7, 2020 until Valentine's day, February 14th, no explanation, why;
- The jail time was extended to February 18, no explanation, why;
- On February 18 I was allowed to post again;
- On February 19, 2020 the ban was reimposed until February 26, 2020 - no explanation, why.
Now, what I also noticed - especially having an experience in the past as an appellate attorney and a civil rights attorney - is that there is no thing on Facebook as a "notice and opportunity to be heard" when restrictions of any kind are imposed.
- You are not told what you did wrong - which makes a restriction a pure, and arbitrary, punishment without any possibility that a person so punished "will learn a lesson" and be "deterred" in the future from committing the same supposed "violation" - since the person in question does not know what it is that he/she has supposedly violated in the first place;
- You are also not allowed to have your "day in Facebook court", the famous "notice and opportunity to be heard" as a matter of due process - no, you are offered a window to report if "that was a mistake", but - guess what - your reporting is now BLOCKED by Facebook.
After I clicked "Send", this window has popped up:
So, Facebook pretends it gives people an opportunity to report if their activities on Facebook were restricted by mistake, in order to show authorities that they have reporting procedures in place - but it is a lie, since that function is at the same time BLOCKED by the same Facebook.
And this is a not so funny way of Facebook to troll those who it harasses and tries to weed out on political grounds.
After FB blocked me from posting in one of my own groups - from greeting new members, no less - it offered me this interesting message.
Oh, leaving so soon?
Without finishing your post even - that we do not allow you to post? What a pity! See you later etc....
I must also add that Facebook not only upped its political censorship - I was not doing in February, 2020 on FB anything I was not doing on FB, for years, before February, 2020, but was not subject to 10-day-meet-7-day-after-1-day-freedom bans.
It also devised ways to block people from having ANY kind of "appeal"/reprieve/method of resolution of wrongful imposition of restrictions on Facebook.
- there is no explanation given by Facebook to the holder of the account for Facebook-imposed restrictions of his/her activities on Facebook;
- there are no effective means to cancel that decision:
- no live person to talk to in writing or orally;
- the means of reporting a problem/appealing offered by Facebook itself blocked by the same Facebook.
My own groups that I am not allowed to post in are very dangerous, I understand, for Facebook to allow me to voice my opinion in:
1. "For Freedom of Speech" (Russian and English);
2. "Independence of Human Rights Defenders" (English);
3. "Access to Justice" (in Russian);
4. "Against Fraud in Regulation of Legal Services Market in Russia" (in Russian).
Groups of other people that I am not allowed to post or comment, where I was invited by friends and accepted are, among others, regarding:
- Gun rights;
- Movement to have NY Governor Cuomo impeached;
- Movement to have NY State split into several states;
- A group in support of President Trump.
- Groups fighting wrongful convictions in the US and in Russia;
- Groups fighting CPS fabrications against parents in the US.
Now, you need to realize that I not only have a Russian first name - which many left-leaning commentators jump upon immediately with gleeful comments that they have just found a "Russian bot" - while at the same time "fighting against bigotry" (toward illegal aliens only).
I am also a naturalized CITIZEN of the U.S.
I am also a registered Republican and a voter.
I am also a legal experts with MANY publications on the issues of constitutional law, access to justice and double standards in the government.
And, I am also a person who was born and raised under the so-called "socialism" in the USSR - and know from experience how horrible the socialist teasers to people from the "Democratic" presidential candidates are.
In other words, for purposes of political censorship, I am target # 1 for Facebook - in order to prevent me from explaining to people and informing people where they are misled in the political discourse of the left, which I regularly do on Facebook.
This IS - deliberate, heavy-handed, cutthroat, take-no-prisoners, have-no-rules political censorship by Facebook for the "left", all forced public assurances by Zuckerberg notwithstanding.
And it MUST stop.
This is an election year, and Facebook is being used to manipulate public opinion which amounts - seriously - to a coup against the U.S. Constitution and against democracy in the U.S.
By weeding out the most vocal, active and knowledgeable voices against the left-leaning candidates.
I repeat - IT MUST STOP.