Once upon a time, I have very different views on politics. A couple of books actually helped me change my mind. One was Atlas Shrugged, but a lesser-known book called Freehold also played a huge factor. The author of Freehold is a man named Michael Z. Williamson. Among his libertarian beliefs, Williams is pretty much a Second Amendment absolutist, the kind of guy who truly believes you should be able to buy a minigun at a curb store.
It’s part of why I like him.
However, his beliefs are also likely the reason he’s been targetted for harassment on Facebook.
For some time, Facebook has made it clear it’s hostile toward the Second Amendment and anything but left-leaning politics. However, it’s also supposed to be hostile toward harassment of individuals for any reason.
Yet Williamson is a target for just that, as he outlines at his own blog. He provides screenshots to support all of this over there, but he highlights some of the bizarre declarations he’s received from the social media giant.
Posting links to a very serious publication like “Nature,” or making a political comment is “Spam.” And in the second example, they didn’t even tell me what I’d posted that was alleged to be “Spam.”
Note that the “spam” is still “pending review” nine months later. This is why I have multiple backup accounts. Yes, that’s against their rules. They can fuck themselves with their rules. This has happened over 100 times, and I’ve lost count.
Again, Williamson provides screenshots showing what he actually said. It’s clear that he’s providing a citation for his comment about the Nature article itself. This falls well within the rules of Facebook and is, in fact, a key feature of internet debate. If you make a claim, be prepared to back it up or, even better, provide your source from the beginning.
Another example was Williamson’s posting of an article about CodeIsFreeSpeech.com regarding 3D printed firearms. As he noted:
I can’t share the article of a legal foundation because they claim it’s “controversial” to oppose the government. Gee, it’s almost as if they have a political axe to grind.
He also had a post removed that linked to the Washington Times about a University of Utah professor punished for putting a “Second Amendment Zone” in his classroom in an effort to shame gun carriers.
These are legitimate news items and topics for discussion.
So what gives? Well, as Williamson puts it:
My wife, an IT security professional, notes that she stops getting notifications about my posts about 24 hours before these things happen.
I have several stalkers, and at least one of them works for Fecesbook in an administrative capacity. They’ve even blocked me from asking for review:
Again, screenshots are provided.
Arguing that he has a harasser on the payroll at Facebook is a very serious charge. I’ve reached out to Facebook for any comment, but haven’t heard back as of this writing.
The thing is, though, Williamson’s fans and long-time followers on Facebook have seen how often he catches bans. It’s almost something of a joke with them at this point. While Williamson pushes boundaries with some of his Facebook commentary, he’s not complaining about posts being removed that talk about feeding people into woodchippers or things of that sort. He’s not whining over having stuff yanked because it crosses actual lines. He’s pissed because mundane commentary that should be acceptable anywhere is being hit as well.
Luckily, Williamson has alternate accounts, something he acknowledges is against the site’s rules, but he has…thoughts on that. Somewhat salty thoughts that I’d best not share directly, though I agree with him. Go read them yourself.
Since the site also has rules against harassment, though, and those don’t seem to be slowing anyone down, he might as well do what he needs to do.
While Williamson seems to be getting the lion’s share of harassment–and not just on Facebook, but his Wikipedia page came under attack as the author of several bestselling books was supposedly not notable enough for them–he may not be alone. Fellow pro-Second Amendment author Larry Correia also had something of a bizarre occurrence.
Coming off of a 30-day ban, Correia was immediately slammed with a one-week ban.
Is it the same people as Williamson? It might be. It might also be someone completely different. It might not even really be a case of harassment.
However, the timing is more than a little suspicious. Two pro-gun authors seem to keep having posts yanked and get banned over things they’re never told about? I’m sorry, that doesn’t pass the smell test.
For Facebook, the options are simple. They can either ignore this as a problem and show the world that they only view harassment as a one-way street or they can address it evenly across the board so people like Williamson aren’t being silenced.
It’s really their call at this point.