Before you chalk the position up to a tinfoil hat lunatic, at least allow me to explain myself and present my evidence.
The concept of a “shadow ban” is Orwellian, no doubt. I realize that it would be very easy for a person to believe they are being censored, when in actuality their words, artwork, or attempts at communicating and resonating fall short from reaching the desired effect.
I have 4,300 friends on Facebook. I have 2,900 Youtube followers. (Post coming soon showing my Youtube censorship) I have no delusions that I am a superstar, but I'll just say i'm not a rookie. Unlike most of my friends on Facebook, i've actually used it for a decade+. :D
My Facebook is now primarily used for exercising free speech to the fullest extent, having conversations about current events, spreading articles, and posting rare pepe's to red pill on occasion.
Below is my story as to why I am terrified there are countless Americans just like me who are being censored and suppressed from expressing their views to their own followers, based off of a political agenda from a tech company.
Facebook has already been trying to get back into China where real time censorship algorithms are already in full effect. It's not far-fetched at all to realize a platform willing to create an algorithm to censor the Chinese would use the same algorithm on the American people.
Worst case scenario, censorship could happen on Facebook here in the United States during midterms in order to propagandize certain candidates.
I can't stress enough just how serious I take my accusation of censorship, especially since this is such a political hot topic going into the Midterms. I have suspected my FB account is shadow banned for a while now, but also realize just how conspiratorial the claim can be viewed. I needed actual proof.
Here is my own personal experience, which is the only thing I know how to live by.
I have watched my comments literally disappear before my eyes in heated political threads on Facebook.
I liken it to digital book-burning, but it's almost impossible to prove.
I've been fairly calculated in this process to avoid being made into a paranoid loony, which is the current favorite technique of just about EVERY politically charged person online. Gathering evidence to support my shadowbanned claim became the next logical step. I took it upon myself to create a small experiment to be performed on my personal Facebook account with 4,300 friends.
The idea for the experiment started with a cynical moment, really an annoyed burst of sarcasm. My posts had been going unnoticed for a while, except of course for the usual shit talkers and nay-sayers who ALWAYS seem to find my posts and spread vitriol.
I decided that I would make the lamest, simplest, cliché, bot resembling, worthless comment I could think of. Instead of my usual Trump supporting commentary, I decided to pretend I was a Trump hater.
I typed: “Donald Trump is bad.” and hit send. The post got a reaction within 30 seconds. I set my phone down for a few minutes and walked away, fairly annoyed at the state of the world.
When I came back to my phone, it had even more likes.
Now my conspiratorial side went into overdrive, and I quickly made another post trying to gather more data to extrapolate from.
I stuck with the theme of negativity towards Donald Trump, since I had not spoken about him negatively often since the election. The algorithms had responded positively to my earlier “negative” 4 word post about Trump, so I changed ONE WORD out of four and went again.
I typed: “Donald Trump is stupid” no punctuation this time, and hit send. I figured this way I would have a secondary test to see if an extremely short and boring post would be promoted by Facebook's algorithms, since it was negative against Trump.
Sure as shit.
“Donald Trump is stupid” is one of the best performing FB posts my account has had since the election. It appeared that Facebook wanted me to know I had been guilty of wrongthink, and rewarded me by allowing my “friends” to see this particular post.
So of course, at this point i'm ready to tag all of my left leaning “friends” who like to call me insane for complaining about shadow banning.
But then it hit me, maybe I could really punch Facebook square in the dick if they had let their guard down. :D
I decided on 2 questions for my hastily formed experiment:
#1 -Would a gigantic social media company like facebook risk it's entire business ad revenue by displaying preferential treatment towards a certain political mindset by censoring other viewpoints?
#2 -If so, how could I definitively prove I am being censored without personally seeing Facebook's proprietary algorithms worth billions of dollars?
I am no scientist, but I gave it my all. I decided to do 8 more posts the next day, posted at 1 p.m. on a Saturday for maximum traffic. I chose to post 4 phrases twice, and on the second post I would switch the word Democrat with Republican, and Conservative with Liberal.
Here are my posts, and the results!
Here is where my opinion might surprise you.
Unfortunately, even though a lot of data supports my point, I feel the data was corrupted. Many people chimed in to say they saw both posts. As soon as people figured out what I was doing, they started going through and liking all of the posts thinking it was joke. It basically ruined the data.
Something to note- Vote Republican/Democrat were the first two posts I had made, and the disparity there is enough to notice.
In hindsight I feel like I should have spanned the messages out between different days of the week, instead of posting them all at one time. Facebook caught on almost immediately.
A friend sent me a screenshot showing how the posts displayed on his wall.
Notice how all three posts promoting the same political agenda were displayed together? I specifically made sure to change the order around, and mix the posts thoroughly when I originally posted them on my wall.
Upon serious reflection, I inherently knew I could not prove censorship from facebook. I can only infer from my own experiences.
From a concrete scientific standpoint, It wouldn't be possible to “prove it” without seeing what Facebook has in their algorithms. The only thing I can do, is attempt to consistently mess with their bots by tweaking my wordings.
Oh well. The experiment left much to be desired, but it trended towards me needing to gather more data. I am still very much convinced that shadowbanning is happening.
I will let you all decide the results for yourselves below.
Let me know on twitter if you liked the experiment! https://twitter.com/throwersbook