Indie bands like Madison Rising need the power of social media more than a Radiohead or Rolling Stones. So when the conservative rockers’ cover of The Star-Spangled Banner caught fire on sites like Facebook and Twitter last month it was very good news, indeed.
That social media love abruptly stopped, and it took weeks before the band’s manager Richard Mgrdechian found out why. The answer has Mgrdechian wondering if the band’s conservative bent made it a target.
Four weeks ago the band received a publicity push from a $10,000 gift from billionaire Bob Parson that coincided with its upcoming tour. The manager says the band’s online chatter spiked, as did the number of Facebook “likes” it received. People were sharing the band’s cover of The Star Spangled Banner in particular, he says.
On May 6, the band watched as those social media figures started to shrink. The following day the band received the first of hundreds of messages from fans saying their links to the The Star-Spangled Banner YouTube video had been deleted on Facebook. Soon, hundreds of fans were reporting the same thing, according to Mgrdechian. Fans who tried to repost the YouTube link found that no matter how many times they tried they couldn’t successfully get it online.
Mgrdechian spent the next several weeks reaching out to Facebook for an explanation. The social media giant finally offered its rationale for the blockage earlier this week. The link in question was incorrectly identified as spam and blocked, but the problem had been rectified.
Mgrdechian is still suspicious given the band’s unabashedly right of center roots.
“We would be the perfect target for a coordinated censorship attack from the left,” he says.