Here is a blurb of one of the stories of one of the knotsies' victims:
Yesterday, I got logged out of Facebook and when I tried to log back in, I was informed that some content posted on a political satire page, which I launched but haven’t touched in a year, violated Facebook “Community Standards” and therefore I am being banned for 24 hours. This means I can log on to Facebook (though not on my phone), check and send messages, but I cannot post anything. Shortly after, I received an email from a person with whom I ran that political satire site. He was banned from Facebook for even longer than I was. Much longer. This makes little sense unless you take the bigger picture in consideration:And then the author goes why this is actually important:
There are these two women in Wisconsin. One’s name is Stephanie and the other one, we’ll refer to as “X”. They, with help from others, run some of the most popular political news Facebook pages on the left side of the political spectrum in Wisconsin. All in all, over 100,000 people reportedly follow these Facebook pages, where readers can find the latest political news about Wisconsin, and political humor (not all of it in good taste). Since the beginning of the Wisconsin Uprising in February 2011, the co-admins of these websites have been engaged in a silent warfare with the right-wing “Knots” as they are sometimes called, a group formed originally to support Governor Scott Walker during the period leading to and including the failed attempt to recall him from office. Knots, in turn accuse the left-wing Facebook site publishers of trying to do the same thing to them, which is to wipe them out of existence. The fact that both sides call the opposition “trolls” only serves to muddy the waters and to rally supporters.
What is it that these Knots do to take down progressive pages? They find ways to attach themselves to various protest sites – become fans, leave comments, share posts, become friends with the page administrators, if it all possible, and then report some or all of the content produced and shared, to Facebook claiming that this content violates Facebook’s “community standards”. Facebook asks some qualifying questions and then issues a decision, but what has become evident, is that Knots gained an upper hand by figuring out how to navigate Facebook standards in order to effectively shut down progressive news pages, affecting how tens of thousands of people receive information and communicate with each other.
All of this may seem somewhere between “someone else’s drama” and “geek warfare”, but I find the situation deeply disturbing.
From a distance this may seem to be nothing more than a social media tiff gone too far, easy to ignore because it’s “just Facebook”, but this would be wrong. What is happening with Facebook bans does matter, and not only because people have a right to express themselves. For better or for worse, Facebook is a private company, and from the financial point of view, it is only their stockholders who suffer from the damage caused by a group of political activists exploiting Facebook “community standards” in order to gain advantage over their political enemies. Facebook management who has to be aware of this situation, may consider it to be nothing more then cost of doing business where from their point of view the benefits of deleting most questionable content and banning users indiscriminately, is better than risking turning off the advertisers who are the ones paying the tab for the whole enterprise. Welcome to Capitalism 101, right?The knotsies have attacked both my personal page and the Cog Dis fan page. I'm sure that this will inspire them to attack again. If you get a chance to read this before the knotsies attack, make sure you book mark the site and/or follow me on Twitter at @Cog_Dis. They might be able to put a temporary gag on us in one place, but they sure as hell ain't gonna shut us up.
However, what our political leaders need to remember is that Facebook and other social media outlets are the Grassroots and this is how the information is relayed these days. If these grassroots are damaged or disappear, at some point in a not-too-distant future, when our leaders will need the support of the people, they may not have an important opportunity to communicate, engage and motivate their supporters if pages such as “I will get more “Likes” than Scott Walker” and others, are gone.