Blocked By Facebook and the Vulnerability of New Media 238


This site’s visitor numbers are currently around one third normal levels, stuck at around 20,000 unique visitors per day. The cause is not hard to find. Normally over half of our visitors arrive via Facebook. These last few days, virtually nothing has come from Facebook:

What is especially pernicious is that Facebook deliberately imposes this censorship in a secretive way. The primary mechanism when a block is imposed by Facebook is that my posts to Facebook are simply not sent into the timelines of the large majority of people who are friends or who follow. I am left to believe the post has been shared with them, but in fact it has only been shown to a tiny number. Then, if you are one of the few recipients and do see the post and share it, it will show to you on your timeline as shared, but in fact the vast majority of your own friends will also not receive it. Facebook is not doing what it is telling you it is doing – it shows you it is shared – and Facebook is deliberately concealing that fact from you.

Twitter have a similar system known as “shadow banning”. Again it is secretive and the victim is not informed. I do not appear to be shadow banned at the moment, but there has been an extremely sharp drop – by a factor of ten – in the impressions my tweets are generating.

I am among those who argue that the strength of the state and corporate media is being increasingly and happily undermined by our ability to communicate via social media. But social media has developed in such a way that the channels of communication are dominated by corporations – Facebook, Twitter and Google – which can in effect turn off the traffic to a citizen journalism site in a second. The site is not taken down, and the determined person can still navigate directly to it, but the vast bulk of the traffic is cut off. What is more this is done secretly, without your being informed, and in a manner deliberately hard to detect. The ability to simply block the avenues by which people get to see dissenting opinions, is terrifying.

Furthermore neither Facebook nor Twitter contact you when they block traffic to your site to tell you this is happening, let alone tell you why, and let alone give you a chance to counter whatever argument they make. I do not know if I am blocked by Facebook as an alleged Russian bot, or for any other reason. I do know that it appears to have happened shortly after I published the transcript of the Israeli general discussing the procedures for shooting children.

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Finally, a change of policy on this blog.

For thirteen years now it has operated with a policy of not accepting donations, except for occasional legal funds. It has now reached a size and cost, not least because of continual attacks, that make income essential. It is also the case that due to change in personal circumstance I am no longer in a position to devote my time to it without income – the need to earn a living caused the blog to go dark for almost five months last year, and the last six weeks this journalism has stopped me doing anything else to pay the rent. So, with a certain amount of pride swallowed, here is your chance to subscribe:

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238 thoughts on “Blocked By Facebook and the Vulnerability of New Media

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  • Tracy

    Hi craig I am an ordinary woman who has always had distrust in the establishment. This was concreted for me when tony blair acted as a labour man back in the nineties, diminishing hope for the majority and excelling the few.
    I only came across your blog a while back whilst stuck in bed with back problems. I have shared relentlessly and found no one much has seen these or other such truthful writings.
    This is not new as all social media appears to be corporate and selective in what they allow you to see and share effectively. However, the people on my friends list need to see what is true against the blatant lies they are fed and then regurgitate with fervor, to have this mad woman counter their diatribe with challenges that are not just speculation, encouraging them to look deeper. It’s how I’ve lived since at school and thrown out of public affairs and economics for simplifying things and making them understandable. Glad I became a nurse.
    Keep writing and let me know if I can pay directly to you to help.

  • mike

    Another huge US military exercise is taking place in Jordan – Operation Eager Lion, involving almost 4,000 US troops.

    It just so happened that a similar exercise (two, in fact) preceded the remarkable emergence of ISIS as a powerful military force in 2014.

    This time around, the US are in Syria, in and around al Tanf, right on the Jordanian border. Much of the equipment the US is using for the exercise will I’m sure find its way into the wrong hands, just as it did in 2014. Or maybe they’re getting ready to rush into Daraa, once the next false flag gas attack takes place.

  • Mary Paul

    So what category of facebook poster has their post forwarding blocked, who does this within Facebook (is there a secret division) and why? I am not aware of any of my forwarded posts being blocked but I have some friends in strict Moslem countries so I am very wary about posting anything political there.

  • kashmiri

    That’s most likely a technical glitch by which the “referrer URL” part got stripped off, most likely by misconfigured Facebook servers. For example, Wikipedia servers routinely do not send “referrer URL” and you will certainly have no traffic showing as coming from Wikipedia, even though traffic must be there. Similarly, you certainly had traffic coming from Facebook, just it was not tracked correctly. Feel free to use Facebook’s own tracking system under https://business.facebook.com.

    • Pan

      ALL websites offering genuine investigative journalism by real boots-on-the-ground reporters reporting what’s actually happening around the world, especially those offering intelligent, knowlegeable and insightful analysis of current affairs within a broad, well documented and clear-sighted geo-political (and historical) perspective are seeing their visitor numbers falling dramatically – specifically those visitor numbers that originate from Google and Facebook referrals.

      It’s no glitch. It’s internet censorship (of truth and facts backed by the kinds of evidence that very often exceed the accepted standards of ‘proof’ in a western court of law) on a wide and rapidly growing scale.

      The same censorship is being applied to Craig’s blog. Craig is a sharp observer and a thorn in the side of the establishment because he get’s ordinary people questioning things – things most awkward that they should be questioning!

      Wake up!

  • Anonymous

    It would be helpful if Murray stated how long he has had an unusual dropoff in new visitors and exactly when it started. He published this article April 26. It shows stats only for April 24. His site shows his most recent, previous article was March 16. The subject of that article is the Skripal poisoning. Google shows a general drop in public interest in the subject paralleling the reported site interest drop (https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=Skripal).

    • Pan

      Of course, Google is merely a passive observer and recorder of trends and plays no part in (and would never dream of) manipulating trends. Right?

      Either way, Google Trends becomes less meaningful the more people switch to other search engines.

      Its calculations are also blind to all visits made to websites by those who simply navigate directly to their favourite/bookmarked sites (thereby having no need to use any search engine at all) to follow the ‘stories’, or types of current affairs coverage in which they have an ongoing interest.

  • Sotires

    This would indeed appear to be the case. I posted a link to this article on Facebook immediately after an anodyne post (something about ginger beer in Paris). The ginger beer post came up on my partner’s newsfeed, but not the link to this article. She was able to find the link after a search, which she then shared. This share in turn did not appear on my newsfeed!

  • Carolyn Downs

    Can’t donate via phone. Will donate on laptop asap. I highly value your reports and analysis. Do you have an email service for people to subscribe to?

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