In at least the second such encounter in recent weeks, the social media website Facebook has run into issues with conservatives posting information that has caused the site to block Tea Partiers from posting--at least temporarily.
Now, Facebook blocked two stay-at-home Tea Party moms from posting material that’s pro-conservative and critical of liberals including President Barack Obama, Breitbart News has learned. The two moms--Patty and Lisa (they requested Breitbart News not use their last names, as they have “received death threats on our page and would prefer to remain somewhat anonymous”)--have had some issues with regard to posting materials that have gotten caught up in Facebook’s web, starting as early as October 2012.
Then, Patty posted a Breitbart News article, and the photograph contained within the article, on their “100 Percent FED Up” page. The article and photograph were about Rapper Snoop Dogg, and how he tweeted out a picture of a handwritten note containing reasons why somebody should vote for President Barack Obama for re-election.
Merely posting that article from Breitbart News and the photograph with it--with no editorial commentary of her own--earned Patty a three-day block from posting any content on Facebook. Official warnings popped up on her screen advising her that she violated Facebook’s “Community Standards.”
A few months later, Patty posted a photograph of Adolf Hitler bearing the text: “Never forget what this tyrant said: 'To conquer a nation first disarm its citizens.' - Adolf Hitler." Hitler actually said that, but Patty was blocked then for seven days (she ended up getting it reduced to approximately five days by contacting support) from Facebook.
Then, Wednesday evening this week, Patty posted the home address and contact information of Gracia C. Martore, the president and CEO of Gannett. Gannett publishes the Journal News newspaper in New York that recently printed a list of firearms owners’ personal information. Facebook blocked Patty for 30 days, as of Wednesday night, for that post.
As of late Thursday, she remained blocked and could not post anything on Facebook except for private messages.
But Facebook spokesman Fred Wolens told Breitbart News what happened was a mistake on the social media company’s part, and the company plans to fix the issue as fast as they can. With regard to the first two instances--the Snoop Dogg story and the Hitler photo--Wolens told Breitbart News that his team couldn’t find specific records of those blocks. “While we couldn't find the photos from the first two examples, if they were posted as described, they would not violate our policies,” Wolens said.
With the Gannett CEO photo information, Wolens said Facebook found the example and has determined that block to be a mistake. “[That] block was a mistake on our part, and we will follow up with our User Operations team to make sure this does not happen again,” Wolens said. “Additionally, we will reach out to the Page admins to communicate this error.”
Wolens added that “these actions are not politically motivated in any way.”
“Please keep in mind to protect the millions of people who connect and share on Facebook every day, we have technical systems that work in the background to maintain a trusted environment and protect our users from bad actors who try to use Facebook to spread spam and malware,” Wolens said in an email. “These systems are so effective that most people who use our site will never encounter spam. They're not perfect, though, and in rare instances they make mistakes. Rarely, posts can be flagged as potentially abusive due to a false positive in our spam classifier, but we investigate the necessary adjustments to our system to make sure we don't repeat the same mistake in the future.”
Just a few weeks ago, the women who run the Chicks on the Right blog had similar problems. Their issues were resolved fairly quickly, and it appears these Tea Party moms’ issues will be resolved soon.
Patty and Lisa launched their Facebook page after Andrew Breitbart, the founder of this website, passed away.
“Lisa, a friend of mine, and I started this Facebook page 10 months ago and just yesterday we reached 125,000 ‘likes,’” Patty said in a phone interview with Breitbart News. “Our page has exploded kind of quickly, and I think a major reason for that is because everything we do is in memory of Andrew Breitbart--who we met just days before he died.”
Patty said she and Lisa were devastated when Breitbart passed away, and they felt like they had to do something to try to pick up at least some of the slack he left behind. So they started the “100 Percent FED Up” Facebook page from scratch, and it has become a hit. “When the left and the Obama team decided to rename the ‘Occupy’ movement the ’99 percent spring,’ we decided to name the page ‘100 Percent FED Up,’” Patty said. “It’s kind of our way of saying we’re fed up with all the divisiveness that this administration and the left is creating.”
Now more than 125,000 people get Patty’s and Lisa’s posts on their Facebook homepages, and Patty said millions more visit the page every month. August 2012 numbers they provided to Breitbart News show, according to Facebook’s own estimates, these Tea Party moms could reach more than 27 million people in a week.
They constantly update the page, and if they are ever away from their computers for more than a few hours, they’ll get messages from their readers checking to make sure they are okay. “One thing Lisa and I have been careful to do is to not make the movement about us,” Patty said. “It’s always been about telling the truth. I think that’s part of the reason why we’ve been successful.”