Monday, April 23, 2018

Right-wing fruit loops Diamond and Silk head to Capitol Hill to whine about the same "social-media filtering" Facebook uses against my progressive blog

Diamond and Silk, with their hero.
Two black women from North Carolina, who frequently express their undying devotion to Donald Trump online, have become a cause celebre among conservatives by claiming Facebook discriminates against their right-wing views. Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson -- professionally known as Diamond and Silk -- even are scheduled to testify Thursday before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on the subject of "social-media filtering."

Diamond and Silk are mostly a poor attempt at low-brow humor and attention-grabbing, so it's hard to figure what the judiciary committee hopes to accomplish with their testimony. But Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), a former auctioneer from my current district in Missouri, is pushing their act -- and Long never has been confused with a statesman or a policy wonk. If Billy Long is involved, you can bet the whole thing is a charade. Our guess is that Diamond and Silk's issues have everything to do with trolls and nothing to do with discrimination.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently testified before Congress in what was supposed to be a serious inquiry into the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and related issues. Billy Long helped turn it into a clown show by asking Zuckerberg about Diamond and Silk. Zuckerberg, apparently realizing that Long is what passes for "leadership" in the postmodern Republican Party, gave a serious answer, as reported at NPR:

Just days before Zuckerberg was slated to testify before key House and Senate congressional committees last week, Diamond and Silk alerted their followers on Facebook that their content was being suppressed by Zuckerberg's massive social media platform. . . .

The conservative website Drudge Report splashed it as a top story. Conservative Twitter accounts lit up with concern.

" 'BOOM' Diamond And Silk make the Drudge Report........ Don't start none, won't be none!" the partnership wrote on their Facebook page.

And then came the hearings where Zuckerberg faced Congress. . . .

"What is unsafe about two black women supporting President Donald J. Trump?" asked Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo. . . .

The CEO told lawmakers that any efforts to limit the duo's reach was an "enforcement error" on the part of the Facebook team but did not detail what Facebook had done — or why.

Diamond and Silk's main point seems to be that Facebook makes stupid decisions that result in censoring and blocking only those with right-wing views. That's a crock of barnyard excrement; I know from firsthand experience that Facebook makes the same dumb decisions against users on the left as it does against users on the right . In fact, Facebook takes progressive bloggers who write about serious subjects -- such as police brutality -- and blocks their links by deeming them "spam" and "unsafe."

I know because it's happened to me twice in the past month. The gist of Diamond and Silk's complaint, which they are taking to Capitol Hill, is that Facebook "limits the reach" of their right-wing views.. But the same "unsafe" label has been applied to my blog, Legal Schnauzer -- twice in the past month. In fact, as I write this, I'm still in "Facebook Jail" -- with my blog link blocked so that it can't be shared via links on Facebook.

Is my reach being limited? It sure as heck is -- and I'm about as far from a conservative as you can get; I wouldn't say a positive word about Donald Trump if someone tried to force me at gunpoint. Also, I'm not just a second-rate "comedy" act. I'm a journalist, with a B.J. degree from the University of Missouri and more than 35 years of professional experience -- with a daily newspaper, magazines, institutional publications, broadcasts, you name it.

Legal Schnauzer has been ranked among the top 50 law blogs in North America by Cision, a Chicago-based Web marketing and research firm. My blog, at No. 37, was the only one on the list that is truly independent -- not affiliated with any law firm, law school, legal organization, media outlet, or social-justice organization. In short, Legal Schnauzer has been ranked by a company, which deals with such issues on a daily basis, as the best blog of its kind in the United States and Canada.

Facebook's treatment of our progressive blog has been so outlandish that we recently asked (only slightly in a joking manager) if the company supports police brutality. After that post, we were out of Facebook Jail for roughly one working day, and then went right back in. We are considering a lawsuit against Facebook and the individuals attacking the blog if the problem is not corrected, pronto.

Why the question about police brutality? In September 2015, I watched deputies brutalize my wife, Carol, and break her arm during an eviction in Springfield, Missouri, which was unlawful on at least 12 grounds. I've published X-rays that show the comminuted fracture (broken in more than two places), plus photos taken about an hour after the incident that show the beginnings of severe bruising that eventually would cover Carol's left arm (plus the right arm, which was not broken but was black and purple for its full length, thanks to police-imposed violence.)

Carol Shuler's broken arm, a photo that Facebook
deemed "unsafe".
Roughly eight hours of trauma surgery was required to repair Carol's arm, and she is expected to regain, at most, 75- to 80- percent usage. It will never be the same. During the whole process, Carol faced a number of complications -- shock, blood loss, nerve damage, elevated pressures -- that could have been life threatening.

Unbelievably, Greene County prosecuting attorney Dan Patterson brought bogus "assault of a law enforcement officer" charges against Carol, an obvious "cover charge" designed to impede her pursuit of civil damages.

Issues don't come much more serious than the ones surrounding Carol's broken arm. But when I have reported on the subject, including photos of the arm just before X-rays revealed the break, Facebook has deemed my blog "unsafe" -- and my blog URL remains blocked. Diamond and Silk, with their goofy comedy routine about the most dangerous and incompetent president in our history, think they have problems with Facebook? Let's consider a timeline regarding the Legal Schnauzer case:

* 3/26/18 -- I write a post about Carol's cop-induced injuries, including photos of her broken arm;

* 4/6/18 -- After 10 days in Facebook Jail (our blog URL is blocked), we are deemed "safe" for the free world again.

* 4/9/18 -- After roughly one working day out of jail, we wind up back in jail after another post (featuring photos) about Carol's cop-induced injuries.

* 4/23/18 -- As I write this, our second stint in Facebook Jail has lasted 14 days. Combined with the earlier 10-day "jail sentence," we've had our reach limited for 24 days in less than a month.

What is happening in our case? The answer seems clear: Conservative, pro-cop trolls (many of whom probably are cops, perhaps using taxpayer-funded resources) have reported my posts to Facebook as "spam" in an effort to interfere with our reporting. The company apparently takes the word of trolls, people who intentionally abuse Facebook rules, and blocks targets without any investigation. Does that make sense? Not one lick, but that almost certainly explains our situation, and it probably explains the Diamond and Silk issue, too.

Are liberal trolls reporting Diamond and Silk as spam? I haven't seen that issue raised in news reports from across the country, but my guess is that the answer is yes.

If liberals are acting as trolls, it's wrong, and I don't support it -- even though I think Diamond and Silk's speech has about the same intellectual worth of a dried cow turd. Facebook should go about identifying the trolls and punishing THEM, instead of imposing restrictions on Diamond and Silk. Facebook should take the same action in my case.

Thousands of taxpayer dollars will be spent so that Diamond and Silk can go to Congress and whine about Facebook's discrimination against their right-wing views. In truth, the whole contretemps almost certainly has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with Facebook's silly policies -- and it's inability to deal with trolls, of all political colors.

Below is a video of Diamond and Silk, attacking broadcast journalist Megyn Kelly after she had the audacity to ask Donald Trump during a presidential debate about vile, rude, and sexist comments he had made about women over the years. As you can tell, Diamond and Silk have no respect for their own race or their gender.

That kind of Uncle Tomism must be a big hit among white, postmodern conservatives.

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