By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
There is an old adage out there in journalism and it should apply to blogging too that reads something like: “Report the story, don’t be the story.” I find myself along with many others today being on the wrong end of that quote, unfortunately.
I started NoisyRoom.net on 9/11/2001 in support of those who perished in the deadly terrorist attack carried out by Islamists that sunny day. Over the years, I have written on counter-terrorism, geopolitics and a whole range of political issues. I have made quite a few friends along the way… many that I respect and admire a great deal. I’ve also made some notable enemies including Media Matters.
For years I have used both Facebook and Twitter to primarily put out news links to people who might not see them, therefore disseminating actual news, not propaganda. Once in a while, I get fooled, but not often. I have also opened up my blog to numerous colleagues who have sought a place where they can be heard that won’t censor them for their political stances.
A few months ago, I came to the realization that the small amount of advertising income I made off the site was no longer worth it. Google was dictating to me what stories I had to delete from my site to receive income from them. Approximately a month after I ditched them, Google banned me for a practice they called ‘scraping’. That is the practice of taking content from other blogs and media sources without permission and without attribution. I have never done that. But any excuse will do if you want to get rid of someone. That one did nicely for Google.
From Breitbart on Google:
An internal company briefing produced by Google and leaked exclusively to Breitbart News argues that due to a variety of factors, including the election of President Trump, the “American tradition” of free speech on the internet is no longer viable.
Despite leaked video footage showing top executives declaring their intention to ensure that the rise of Trump and the populist movement is just a “blip” in history, Google has repeatedly denied that the political bias of its employees filter into its products.
But the 85-page briefing, titled “The Good Censor,” admits that Google and other tech platforms now “control the majority of online conversations” and have undertaken a “shift towards censorship” in response to unwelcome political events around the world.
Examples cited in the document include the 2016 election and the rise of Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) in Germany.
Responding to the leak, an official Google source said the document should be considered internal research, and not an official company position.
The briefing labels the ideal of unfettered free speech on the internet a “utopian narrative” that has been “undermined” by recent global events as well as “bad behavior” on the part of users. It can be read in full below.
It acknowledges that major tech platforms, including Google, Facebook and Twitter initially promised free speech to consumers. “This free speech ideal was instilled in the DNA of the Silicon Valley startups that now control the majority of our online conversations,” says the document.
There is no such thing as a ‘good censor’. There is only fascism and totalitarianism and we are beginning to see it in all its hideous glory here in the US. The left is communist in nature and they are using an iron fist to silence those on the right.
In conservative media, @johnhawkinsrwn is an OG. Started Right Wing News in *2001* & was at vanguard of blogosphere. Now he's targeted by @facebook @Twitter & @nytimes in pre-midterm SV purge of righties.
This is no accident & John is not alone.
Silence is complicity. https://t.co/2eUGPEb28U
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 11, 2018
I have been an editor at Right Wing News for years. First with John Hawkins and Tiffiny Ruegner, and then with Brian Kolfage and his team. I have written countless articles and I’ve had fun doing it… knowing that I was getting out the truth to others and getting to air my own opinion was fun. I source my writing and I review what I write multiple times before posting. I’m not one of the giants in authoring out there, but I do okay and I take pride in what I do.
John Hawkins, Tiffiny Ruegner, Brian Kolfage, and all the others I have worked with that are connected to Right Wing News and other sites are the most wonderful people I have ever met. Both John and Brian are vets. Brian is a military vet that gave both legs and a hand for his country. Tiffiny is a political genius and a serious businesswoman. They are all my friends as well and I will stand by them no matter what.
John Hawkins started Right Wing News many years ago. He built it into the largest and most trusted conservative news site out there with a following of over 3.5 million people. Brian Kolfage built on that and followed every rule that Facebook threw at him just as John and Tiffiny did. But Facebook decided that Right Wing News was too informative, too influential on the right to exist so they have shut it down. Both the New York Times and Facebook themselves were brazen enough to say it had to do with the midterm elections. They also said lie after lie about John Hawkins and that will not go unanswered.
When I shut down Right Wing News, I wrote a column talking about it at Townhall. Facebook claims it killed a lot of conservative pages because of "spam farms" & "false stories." You shouldn't believe it when I told you it was coming in Jan. https://t.co/FaL9zvHn56 pic.twitter.com/umebkdadva
— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) October 11, 2018
More on John Hawkins from Heavy.com:
Malkin wrote: “In conservative media, @johnhawkinsrwn is an OG. Started Right Wing News in *2001* & was at vanguard of blogosphere. Now he’s targeted by @facebook @Twitter & @nytimes in pre-midterm SV purge of righties. This is no accident & John is not alone. Silence is complicity.”
Hawkins was recently in the news when he created a GoFundMe page that raised more than $600,000 for the family of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Hawkins wrote on Twitter, “Twitter just suspended the @rightwingnews twitter account for no given reason. It was a violation of rules. I am kind of assuming this one and my personal facebook will be shut down next.” He also wrote, “When I shut down Right Wing News, I wrote a column talking about it at Townhall. Facebook claims it killed a lot of conservative pages because of ‘spam farms’ & ‘false stories.’ You shouldn’t believe it when I told you it was coming in Jan.”
Jim Simpson wrote an excellent piece entitled: UPDATED: ONLINE CENSORSHIP HAS ARRIVED – HERE ARE THE COMPANIES BEHIND IT. He updated it to include what just happened:
UPDATE Thursday, October 11: Almost on cue, Facebook announced today that it had removed over 800 sites. According to reports, most were politically oriented. Facebook claims that its actions were “against behavior violations, not content violations.” Some of the sites, including ones managed by friends of mine, do not violate any kind of rules, to the extent that we even know what rules Facebook uses. I am highly skeptical but if there were “behavior violations,” then Facebook should explicitly explain what they were, perhaps with a warning so inadvertent violations can be fixed. But they don”t. And they change the rules all the time. There is absolutely no excuse for this. It looks very much more like Facebook is repeating the headline to this piece.
Right Wing News is very popular and had over 3 million followers on its Facebook page. No more. Sites with very good content, like NoisyRoom.net, which has been around for at least a decade, lost their Facebook pages. If one is trying to earn a living this way, I assure you, for conservatives, it is very difficult. We don’t have billionaire sugar daddies like George Soros to shower us with money, like he does for the Left’s transparently propaganda pages, most of which read like something out of grade school. These random actions taken by Facebook without warning have destroyed businesses, some of which paid huge sums for Facebook ads. There is a justifiable cause for action here. I think a class action lawsuit to recover the millions in business lost is something worth looking into. This HAS TO STOP!
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 11, 2018
In reality, I believe Facebook purged far more than 800 sites. They took anyone that wrote for these sites or was an editor or connected in any way and deleted all their pages. I only had two but some had many more. Facebook probably used keyword searches to remove those they did not like. They deleted people who had not posted in months by the way, so they are going back in time to justify their censorship.
It wasn’t just Facebook that purged either. Twitter purged some of the same people as well. I’m still on there… for now, but I hold no illusions that it could end at any time. Both platforms are silencing conservatives the way they did Alex Jones, who I do not care for, but I defended had a right to free speech. Jones was the canary in the social media coal mine.
Our sites were purged along with some token leftist sites. But you know who wasn’t purged? Buzzfeed and Occupy Democrats. They do exactly what we were doing only they are major media outlets on the left and therefore safe. Facebook is willing to sacrifice a few leftist sites to give them cover to kill off conservatives on their platform.
Craig Silverman, Buzzfeed’s media critic, wrote on Twitter, “These are hyperpartisan pages that at times spread false or misleading info. Just recently Right Wing News reupped an utterly baseless claim from last month about Hillary Clinton. But a key issue according to FB seems to be the pages using ‘inauthentic’ accounts as admins.” He knows this is all a bunch of lies… Facebook was upset that Hawkins and RWN defended Kavanaugh and were having an influential impact on the midterm elections. They could not allow that to go on.
These are hyperpartisan pages that at times spread false or misleading info. Just recently Right Wing News reupped an utterly baseless claim from last month about Hillary Clinton. But a key issue according to FB seems to be the pages using "inauthentic" accounts as admins. pic.twitter.com/M1N3GLgpVo
— Craig Silverman (@CraigSilverman) October 11, 2018
It all depends on what ‘is’ is. Facebook defines what they consider clickbait and incorrect political debate. This ‘inauthentic’ accounts excuse is an outrageous lie when it comes to me and RWN. In a blog post, Hawkins wrote, “I have never created a Facebook page under a fake name and I don’t run the Right Wing News Facebook page anymore. In fact, I haven’t run it since the start of the year. If you’ll notice, the Right Wing News website has been a vanity site since then.” And that is precisely the truth.
Heavy.com and others quoted my original post yesterday on this censorship:
As you may or may not know, there was a massive purge at Facebook this morning. Suddenly, both my personal account and NoisyRoom’s were disabled. I contested it and sent in my ID, but I hold little hope that it will do a lick of good. I’ve been censored over there.
For those of you who read what I write, you know that I did not violate any standards. In fact, I don’t send out most of what I write. I send on big news links and a few memes. It was enough to get me banned and the pages are simply gone.
I am still on Twitter at terresamonroe if you want to reach me there or you can always email me at terresa AT noisyroom.net.
I knew this would eventually happen but kept telling myself why would they do this to legitimate writers and researchers? Well, that’s not the point, is it? This is very political and anyone who supports conservatives or those on the right is in the crosshairs.
I will keep blogging and will have more to say on this once I cool off. Never be afraid to speak up and don’t quit out there. I sure as hell won’t. Read the media’s take on this below – anyone who knows me knows my pages were not like this at all.
Caitlin Johnstone wrote this about the purge:
In other words, the pages were removed for publishing controversial political content and trying to get people to read it. Not for writing “fake news”, but for doing what they could to get legitimate indie media news stories viewed by people who might want to view it. The practice of sharing your material around in Facebook groups is common practice for most independent media content creators; I did it myself a lot in late 2016 and early 2017, and pretty much all my indie media peers at the time did too.
It should be noted that this week a Facebook Engineer quit, decrying the company culture as one that operates on groupthink, uses appeasement as a PR strategy, and attacks conservative views.
From The Daily Caller:
“I’m leaving because I’m burnt out on Facebook, our strategy, our culture, and our product,” Brian Amerige wrote in an internal message to company employees, adding that Facebook’s PR strategy is “appeasement — not morally earned pride and self-defense,” according to Business Insider.
“I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that’s how I know it’s time to go,” Amerige also wrote.
Amerige will officially leave the company Friday.
His resignation comes after he wrote another internal memo in August calling the company out for mob-like attacks on anyone who doesn’t ascribe to the political left’s agenda. “We are a political monoculture … quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology,” he wrote.
Not everyone at Facebook is a fascist it would seem. But the good guys are few and far between over there these days. The media danced over this yesterday. But what truly disturbed me was that almost no conservative sites of merit reported on this. Michelle Malkin is an old friend of mine and she is one of the few who made noise over this and I will never forget that she did that. She was a real friend when I needed it yesterday along with a few others I won’t name because I don’t want targets put on them over this.
I’ll end off with this… for those site owners yesterday who weren’t affected by this and think that silence will keep them safe, think again. I violated no standards or rules and I was purged. So were many others. Make no mistake, if you are a conservative, Republican or Libertarian, you are on a list and they will come for you. It’s when not if.
First, they came for Alex Jones… then influential bloggers on the right such as Right Wing News and NoisyRoom… next it will be you. Shame on you if you are complicit in your silence on this. Stand up and fight before it is too late. This is a political war we find ourselves in and we better start fighting it like one or pretty soon there will be nothing left to fight for.