Thursday afternoon, Facebook shut down the official page for Top Stories USA, as well as several other pages affiliated with our site. We had over 250,000 fans following us on the page, and they can no longer hear our voice.
Facebook says the shutdown was part of a larger effort to end “inauthentic” activity on Facebook by pages spreading misinformation and politicized content for the money. They claim the 800 pages and accounts that were shut down violated Facebook practices and standards and many were affiliated with foreign bad actors from Russia and Iran.
Top Stories USA never violated any rules or standards Facebook is claiming with this purge of conservative pages. We are not motivated or paid by foreign entities. We are patriotic, proud Americans who want to cover the news from a conservative worldview. We do not report fake news or conspiracy theories.
Not only was Top Stories USA and its affiliated pages taken down, but the personal accounts of all involved were also shut down. Even non-political pages the personal accounts were involved with were shut down. We had no fair warning whatsoever. If Facebook had a problem with our content or the way it was being shared, they said nothing to us at all. Not an email or notification.
Our editor-in-chief has prepared the following response. Because of security concerns and past threats, including one doxxing incident, we can no longer identify ourselves. We hope that will change, so we can use our names again.
Here is the response from our editor.
As you might have heard yesterday, Facebook took down hundreds of pages and accounts in what they characterize as a crackdown on foreign meddling and fake news. First, I’m not a Russian bot. The only Russians I like play NHL hockey.
Contrary to Facebook’s assertions, Top Stories USA is not a purveyor of fake news, like those who spam your timeline. We presented news from a conservative viewpoint, and at no time did the page violate the rules as Facebook suggests. Unlike Facebook’s allegations in their press release, we had no connections to Iranian media, and I have never used additional, fake accounts.
Contrary to news reports, most of the sites targeted were not Russian or Iranian, nor engaged in fake news and spamming. In the course of my work, I came to know some of the individuals behind the pages involved. There may be instances of some bad actors from foreign countries among the pages that were shut down. However, many of them, like me, were former journalists who wanted to report on the news from a conservative worldview. I personally liked to cover stories that were under-reported in the mainstream media. It appears many of our readers wanted to see those stories too.
I brought to my writing the same professional approach I had when I worked for Yahoo News or provided stories or columns for The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com – my only agenda was the truth. For me, the truth always aligned with my conservative worldview. When it didn’t, I made that clear.
None of that matters to Facebook. Without warning of any kind, they not only removed the pages they didn’t like, but they also shut down the personal accounts of ALL the people involved or affiliated. Contrary to what they are saying, it was not a bipartisan takedown of pages: only two left-leaning sites were removed, that I am aware of. The rest are right-leaning. Facebook would have you believe those who were shut down were conspiracy-theory purveyors like Alex Jones. That is not true. For most, their interest was news and politics and their intersection with conservative principles. They are good people.
Not only were the personal accounts of these folks (including myself) shut down, everything they ever did on Facebook, particularly pages for non-political, legitimate business, were deleted as well. Those pages for other businesses and websites had broken no rules, and most had other administrators involved who could carry the page on. That didn’t matter – they were punished too.
One of those pages was Military Grade Coffee, which is co-owned by a triple amputee, combat wounded veteran, who donated a portion of all proceeds to veteran’s charities. That brings a level of vindictiveness to this purge. It was personal.
Another of the pages, which I established, was for Public Service Alerts, a website that posted product recalls and health alerts from government agencies. It was not political, and rather mundane. It never broke a rule or violated any standards. But because I established it, Facebook deleted it as well. They were sending a message.
I’ve never been a huge personal fan of social media. The loss of my page is not devastating to me. Eliminating the Silence Is Consent page, and cutting us off from our one million fans, is devastating to our website’s ability to survive. It is also a blow to the truth and free speech.
I and the others involved with this purge are already seeking legal remedy. Facebook has a right to run their business however they choose. That is their right. However, they cannot arbitrarily apply obscure rules to those whose viewpoints differ from theirs. They cannot discriminate against customers from whom they had collected hundreds, and in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars in advertising, only to shut down their online presence without warning. They provide a unique service, which places an entirely different level of legal responsibility that one would apply to, say, your supermarket, bakery, or restaurant. And we will pursue that.
In the meantime, we ask for your help. Help us build our social media presence on other platforms, where we operate under the banner Silence Is Consent.
Follow us on social media website MeWe (click here) – it’s a great alternative to Facebook! MeWe already has a large number of accounts, and they will never collect your data or censor your content.
MeWe, unlike Facebook, has a “Privacy Bill of RIghts,” which states “You own your personal information & content. You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see. You control who can access your content. Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.” That works for us!
Follow us on Twitter, and tell your friends to follow us as well.
Follow us on Gab, the conservative alternative to Twitter. They are growing, but need more support!
Sign up for instant notifications when we publish a story. You can do that via our home page.
Share our stories to Facebook in our absence.
Keep checking our website to see if the link to our Facebook page is restored. Share our stories across social media. Keep the truth alive.
Brian Kolfage, an Iraq War veteran and triple amputee who was severely wounded in combat and came home to run Right Wing News, also had his pages and millions of followers deleted by Facebook. He has penned a rather epic response to the pure on Right Wing News, which you can read by clicking here.
Thank you for your time. The support and prayers for those with other pages who have been adversely affected, who lost a vital link to their livelihood and income, is appreciated. We will fight for them.