Facebook has removed – in what some are calling the “Facebook purge”- more than 800 pages and accounts. Although the social media giant says those deleted were rule breakers engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” some of their defenders have claimed the sweeping action amounts to an attack on independent media, both representing left and right-wing political views.
Some of the sites – like “Right Wing News” and “The Anti Media” – were well-known and had millions of likes. The founders of some of the sites have taken to other platforms to deny Facebook’s claims. You can read some of their responses later in this article.
“Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action,” read a blog post from Facebook.
“Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate,” Facebook claimed. The platform added that “a lot of the spam we see today is different. The people behind it create networks of Pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names. They post clickbait posts on these Pages to drive people to websites that are entirely separate from Facebook and seem legitimate, but are actually ad farms.”
However, reaction was strong on Twitter, where people accused Facebook of targeting independent voices and others noted that some pages were suspended on Twitter too. Pages removed both supported and opposed President Donald Trump. Some were sites that monitored police corruption.
Facebook takes down Reverb Press, and Reasonable People Unite, shutting down pages left and right. Only the corporatist “mainstream” is safe.
— Antisocial Butterfly (@BartoGeo) October 12, 2018
NEW: “I would gladly abide by Facebook’s terms if I understood what they were,” said Chris Metcalf, the publisher of the left-leaning “Reasonable People Unite” which was shut down along with eight additional Facebook pages. w/ @lizzadwoskin https://t.co/W01C3AvI4N
— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) October 11, 2018
Who was purged? Facebook has not released a full list, but some of those affected had millions of followers and have taken to Twitter and other methods to explain their side of the story. Facebook gave Gizmodo a few of the sites: “The Resistance, Reasonable People Unite, Reverb Press, Nation in Distress, Snowflakes.” According to Gizmodo, the October 11, 2018 purge was of sites likely run by Americans and is thus different than the earlier purge of Russian sites trying to influence the presidential election. Facebook has been under …read more