THE BLOG

Facebook Police: There's No Such Thing As Free Speech On Social Media

11/09/2017 09:53 EST | Updated 11/12/2017 10:09 EST
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Dear Facebook,

In 2008, we started our relationship. You were down for anything and only hung out with my closest friends. We told inappropriate jokes, talked about drugs and laughed about stupid sh*t we had done earlier in our lives. You wanted to know what was on my mind and I'd always tell you the truth. 

Flash forward almost a decade into our relationship and things have drastically changed. 

I'm still the same person I have always been. Abrasive, heavily sarcastic, and extremely alpha are some of the phrases used to describe me still, after all these years. Meanwhile, you've changed and done a complete 180 on me. You've gone soft, delicate and get offended by almost everything I say.

This is why I'm breaking up with you. I can't continue to be a part of your downward spiral of trying to please everyone. It's just not me and it's not what I want to be a part of. I wish you all the luck in life and I know you will make lots of people happy, I just can't be one of them. It's not you; it's me and I'm moving on. 

-Ryan

___

I first signed up for Facebook in 2008. I met my oldest son's mom on the site and it changed my life. Literally I've made millions of dollars in the last decade from Facebook. I've met some of my best friends and even become sort of famous from the site. Facebook has been the single biggest blessing in my lifetime.

That's why the above letter was so hard to write. I'm breaking up with the love of my life. Allow me to explain.

In 2010, I lost my job. I had no idea what I was going to do and the job supply wasn't exactly overfilled back then. I found a program on how to manage social media and I knew I was on to something. I started my own business as a social media manager. I spent 10 hours a day convincing thousands of people to join Facebook and post often. I was Facebook's #1 cheerleader. 

In 2014, I learned Facebook ads and since then I've spent over $500,000 in advertising as well as convinced thousands of others to do the same. I've sent millions of dollars’ worth of business to Facebook this year alone.

Just last year I was selected as one of the top Facebook marketers in the world. 

In the last two years, though things have gotten weird for me on the site. It all started when I grew my fan page. I went from 8,000 likes to over 100,000 in less than a year. It was at that time someone at Facebook started watching me closely. I made the occasional right-leaning post and Facebook started restricting my posts. 

At first, I thought it was all in my head but after a while I realized someone was throttling my posts. Although I was disappointed and downright pissed, I knew there was nothing I could do about it, so I just worked harder at coming up with great content. 

I guess that wasn't enough for whoever over at Facebook. 

One day, while I was working I saw a friend make a post containing a political joke. I made a sarcastic comment on the post, and I went on about my business. When I tried to login to Facebook a little while later, I noticed I'd been completely logged out of the system. As I logged back in, I learned I had violated community standards and that I would be blocked from the site for seven days. 

I got kicked off Facebook for joking with one of my friends. My mind was blown. Since when had Facebook started blocking people for jokes? I had no idea this was even a thing or that it was possible. Yet here I was, blocked from the site and scratching my head. 

After the ban, I got back on and posted about being kicked off. None of my friends (who often say way worse stuff than me) had ever been kicked off. If you think about it, my friend, who posted the joke, didn't get banned. I did, for commenting on it. I'm not one to feel like a victim or as if someone is picking on me, so I just chalked it up as a learning lesson. 

A month or so later the same thing happened.

I got kicked off for another week for sarcastically commenting on a political post. Someone at Facebook has to have been watching me. I don't know why they put me on a watch list. I don't vote Republican or Democrat. I don't promote any candidates and I don't spew any hate speech. I'm mostly just posting jokes on the site. But I was getting worried because they had kicked me off twice and I didn't even know why. 

Flash ahead to this February when I got an email from my assistant. It was a forwarded email from someone in our 60,000 member Facebook group. Apparently, whoever it was, was fired from their job over a sarcastic Facebook post. We joke in the group a lot and someone took a screenshot and sent it to the poster's boss, getting him fired. Turns out, that same person did this to 4-5 other people, too. The problem was, we had no clue who was doing this, so we couldn't kick them out. 

So, I made a long post about it and in the end jokingly said, "Whoever is the snitch, kill yourself." When I went to log back into Facebook later, I noticed I was completely logged out of everything again. I was banned for 30 days. Of course, I don't want anyone to go kill themselves and if you read the post it was in a joking tone. Yet FB kicked me off with no warning. 

As luck would have it, I met a person who is one of the higher ups at Facebook and I asked this person to see what was going on with me. He mentioned that I was red flagged and basically refused to comment any further. I didn't know that I was that important. They red flagged me then gagged the dude I had just met.

Is this Facebook or the CIA?

I decided it wasn't worth it and I would stop posting abrasive, humorous stuff, because whoever is red flagging me at Facebook clearly can't take a joke. 

Everything was good, no issues were had and all was smooth until about a week ago. One of my military friends shared a link with fake news about Trump banning "trans" people from the military. I commented that ISIS is not scared to fight trannies. Now, I didn't know that tranny wasn't PC and nor do I really care. I don't have time to keep up with what special interest group wants to be called what. I have a life to live. I thought "tranny" was short for "transvestite" but it turns out both of those terms are offensive. I had no clue, I've never met a trans person in my life. 

So, they kicked me off for 30 days again!

The message this go-round was that I had violated community standards. Now, I don't get it. I see all sorts of hateful comments, people using derogatory terms and everything else, without consequence. Even Snoop said he was going to kill Trump, our president and he didn't get kicked off. The one lady wiped her ass with our flag and didn't get kicked off. But me, I've been kicked off four times now. For very minor things. 

I don't know how many people spend seven figures with Facebook in ads, but I imagine it's not a lot. You'd think I'd be a valued customer, but I don't even have a rep to get a hold of there. So, I'm just dealing with the block I guess.

This morning I woke up and checked my Instagram account. They blocked me on there, too.

I don't even engage on that site so I have no idea what is going on. The site says my account is restricted, no time frame, no reason why.

Facebook is trying to run me off social media. 

Now mind you, I have 111,000 followers on Instagram and over 200,000 on Facebook. It's obvious that people want to listen to me and hear what I have to say. Facebook is trying to silence my influence and I have no clue why. I've read the community terms and they are so vague and broad that the only way you can be in full compliance is by not posting at all. 

I'm not sure what's going on over there at Facebook these days. They are trending fake stories; they make left-leaning content viral and they are banning real people like me for no real reason other than disagreeing with an opinion. I'd like to say I'm never gonna use Facebook again, but I still have an advertising business to run. However, what I am going to do is hire a social media manager to run my page and never look at it again. 

It was a good run. It lasted almost a decade, but now, it's time for me to leave the haters behind. It sucks it has to be like this but I don't know what else to do. Free speech comes with a price on Facebook. Watch your words.