Robert Deen, LiveOutdoors.com
Will Facebook punish us for telling you the truth? Could be, accordingly to a coalition of firearms-related organizations that claim the social media site is actively suppressing their posts.
The coalition– which includes Concealed Nation, The Truth About Guns, Gun Owners of America, USA Carry and Alien Gear Holsters – says Facebook began actively suppressing posts last February.
That was the same time that Facebook announced a ban on selling guns through the site.
“We have over 700,000 likes on our Facebook page and tremendous reader response to our material,” said Brandon Curtis, publisher of Concealed Nation, based on a press release. “We didn’t change a thing about the way we post. In February our Facebook traffic fell off a cliff. It sank by nearly 50 percent in that first month.”
Facebook admitted to Curtis that the social media giant was suppressing the gun-related page’s distribution, but claimed they were doing it because the posts have “too much commercial content.”
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Facebook is penalizing these organizations’ pages by limiting distribution to user newsfeeds, despite users ‘liking’ the page.
“I realized our Facebook page wasn’t the only firearm-related website that had experienced a dramatic decrease in traffic,” said Luke McCoy, founder of USA Carry, according to the release. “I emailed the same account manager at Facebook about our situation. She said that people were claiming our content was overly promotional.”
“Content that would normally reach our nearly one million followers has steadily dropped to a fraction of what it once was, despite our page’s continual growth of new followers,” said Rob Russo, social media manager for Alien Gear Holsters.
When Curtis informed Facebook that Concealed Nation, The Truth About Guns and other affected sites’ content were purely editorial, a Facebook account manager claimed users had flagged the pages.
Assuming Facebook is being truthful, that raises the possibility that anti-gun interests are manipulating Facebook in an organized fashion.
However, despite repeated requests, Facebook has so far failed to remove the penalties imposed on the sites’ firearms-related pages, instead offering a free seminar on how to increase traffic with the penalties in place. That and the timing suggest that Facebook itself made the decision to degrade gun-related users.
The coalition is now trying to determine the extent of the problem — including the amount of revenue lost due to the fall-off in Facebook-related website traffic. They’re asking owners of gun-related Facebook pages to check their Facebook reach and engagement for 2016 and report their findings at fbgunfail.com. Once they gather the data, they’ll contact participants to share their findings and propose a joint response.
“Facebook is an invaluable resource for Second Amendment supporters trying to spread the message of responsible gun ownership,” Curtis says. “We’re asking Facebook to remove any penalties on the affected pages, and to create a process that prevents this type of thing from happening again, including a notification system that would alert page owners whose posts are being suppressed. Our readers enjoy and want our content, and it’s frustrating that they are no longer seeing what we post.”
This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of suppressing news based upon a liberal basis. In May former employees claimed the social media organization was deliberately suppressing conservative news reporting.