Facebook and Google Censor Infoshop

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Over the past few months, Facebook has been suspending Infoshop volunteers over memes that they posted to our Facebook page. Two of our main admins have been suspended for a month, which means they can't even post updated to their own profiles or communicate with other Facebook users. This censorship by Facebook has been affecting other political and meme pages. Infoshop has been censored repeatedly for posting political satire memes. We also feel that this targeted harassment is due to our support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Infoshop News was also delisted from Google News, for more than a year. This has cut off much of our organic traffic from people who aren't regular readers of our site. Google News has cut off Infoshop several years ago. This is censorship, given that Google is used by most people as their default search engine.

UPDATED: January 10, 2017

Our Official Statement About Facebook Censoring Us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2016

For more information, contact:
http://infoshop.org/blogs-mu/contact-us/
 

Facebook Censors Left-Leaning Pages and Alternative News Services

On July 31st, Facebook suspended the Facebook page for Infoshop.org, after several months of suspending page admins for posting various memes, graphics and updates.

At the same time, Facebook has been suspending other left-leaning pages and suspending personal account privileges for admins associated with those pages. The page for Red & Black Anarchists, which had over 95,000 fans, was totally suspended several weeks ago. The same thing happened to Solarpunk Anarchists and other political web pages. The exact number is unknown, as page and account suspensions interfere with the ability of people to announce these suspensions or communicate with each other.

On Wednesday, July 15, 2016, Facebook suspended and sanctioned a member of the Infoshop News collective over the posting of a meme image that Facebook claims is a violation of its "Community Standards." This person lost their ability to participate on Facebook for one month. The meme depicts some ISIS fighters with the text "Don't Like ISIS? Join Them and Change It From Within." The suspended admin says that the meme was posted as a criticism of progressives who continue to urge leftists to support Hillary Clinton.

On July 31st, another active admin was suspended for a month for posting a meme depicting various racist and exclusionary signs that were used in the past. This was a historical montage about racism, which has been shared by other pages and individuals. Given that Infoshop.org is an anti-racist project, that has expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the posting of this meme has to be seen in that context.

This meme also led to Facebook suspending the Infoshop page, so none of Infoshop's 28,000 followers could see or interact with the page. A spokesperson with Infoshop.org, Nestor Goldman, said that the Infoshop Facebook page recently reached six million in "reach" according to Facebook's metrics. He said that much of this relates to recent news events, especially concerning the Black Lives Matter movement.

Goldman says that the censorship may have been instigated by people who are upset that Infoshop uses a Black Lives Matter graphic as the page profile icon. Incidents of reported images, hate emails and other activity seems to increase when this image is used as the profile icon. Goldman stated that Infoshop is not affiliated with Black Lives Matter movement, but they support the movement and report on it as a news organization.

Infoshop News is one of the oldest online news websites, run by anarchists, having published continuously online since 1995. Infoshop News is a project of Infoshop.org. Over the past two decades, Infoshop has covered many of the social movements around the world, reported on activism on many topics, and published original investigative journalism, analysis, and opinion.

All attempts by Infoshop volunteers to appeal these suspensions and the "unpublishing" of their page, have been met with silence from Facebook. Infoshop reports that similar pages which have experienced censorship also can't communicate with Facebook.

The images in question and further information can be found at these pages:

Facebook Censors Infoshop Again
http://news.infoshop.org/censorship/facebook-censors-infoshop-7-31

Facebooks Censors, Shuts Down Infoshop Facebook Page
http://news.infoshop.org/censorship/facebook-censors-infoshop

Stop Facebook Censorship
http://stopfacebookcensorship.infoshop.org/blogs-mu/

 

Infoshop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/infoshoporg/

###

How Facebook's Actions Affect Infoshop
 

September 5, 2016 update ~ We no longer have access to the graphs and information in this section, as Facebook has deleted our page.

Facebook's own statistics show how their actions affect our ability to reach our fans and readers. In early July, during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, Facebook informed us that our combined "organic reach" was 6 million Facebook users. This includes all of the people who viewed, liked, disliked, and commented on Infoshop memes shared and re-posted by our followers. The graph here shows how the suspensions of our volunteer admins affected our ability to serve our readers and followers.

Here is the same graph, stepping back to see Net Likes for the past two months. The large, early July peak co-incided with the protests in Texas, Minnesota and elsewhere over police shootings.

Post Reach is the number of people who were served our posts. Facebook informed us that the total reach during this peak time, including people who were seeing and interacting with memes shared by our followers, was over 6 million people.

Censored Images - Facebook

On August 11, 2016, Facebook removed the following meme, which we had re-posted in early July. While it certainly might annoy people who uncritically worship the police, this meme is a play on similar animal-comparison memes circulating this summer, as well as a common phrase that people use to describe the police, which dates back to at least the 1960s.

One of our volunteer admins was suspended for a month by Facebook in late July for re-posting this meme showing historical images of racist signs. This image was posted as part of our ongoing commitment to anti-racism. It could be described as a montage that you might see on the History Channel or similar.

Facebook suspended one of our page admins for a month after they re-posted the following meme, which is a commentary on the lesser-evilism arguments being spread during the current U.S. election campaigns. As anarchists, we also identify with the way it pokes fun at people who continually urge us to participate in a borken political system that most Americans reject.

The following graphic led to a one week suspension for a page admin.

We re-posted this controversial meme criticizing patriotism, which started a wave of reactions through the summer.

Google Censors Infoshop News

Google News de-listed Infoshop News in early 2015 and our efforts to get indexed by the popular news search service have been rejected. This is de facto censorship, as most people use Google as their default search engine. This censorship has dramatically cut off the tens of thousands of readers who can no longer find Infoshop News articles when they search. When your website is indexed by Google News, the search engine regularly checks to see if you've posted new articles. If you post a new article, it will quickly turn up in news search results. The Google News service has some bias towards large, high-traffic websites, but it also allows alternative news sites a good opportuinity to have their content seen by ordinary people.

One of our main goals over the past twenty years has been to bring radical and alternative content to mainstream readers. We also want to cover popular news topics from our perspective. We have never been a news service that seeks to only serve people who narrowly identify with our politics.

This wasn't the first time Infoshop News has struggled to get indexed by the search giant. When Google launched Google News, Infoshop News was indexed and included early on. After a year or several, Google delisted Infoshop News. We mobilized a campaign by our readers to change this and Google brought us back. The most recent de-listing happened in early 2015.

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