Indianapolis, IN — Facebook is experiencing a wave of negative publicity — and a loss in value of billions — as more information is shed on incidents like their data breach which compromised the accounts of millions. Other negative headlines include their lack of oversight concerning Foreign Agents and bots manipulating the platform’s account and group system — possibly leading to the tampering of American Presidential Election.
Another documented problem plaguing the social-media platform for a much longer period of time but receiving significantly less attention from news and media sources, is Facebook’s tendency to continuously attempt to silence, censor, and delete the accounts of prominent Black People in the realm of Activism.
Facebook’s White Supremacy Enabling Problem
A quick Google search alone reveals 13,000,000 hits on the phrase “Facebook censors black activist” (don’t believe me? just watch). The platform has long been accused of having “Secret Censorship Rules to Protect White Men“, unexplainably deleting the accounts of Social Activists and organizations, and has even been forced to admit and apologize for the censoring and tampering they have committed on the accounts of Activists, and their “racially biased” moderation and reporting system.
An apparent recent attempt to censor another Black Activist may have unintentionally revealed Facebook’s method of censoring and removing the posts and accounts of those in the Social-Justice Community.
Laron Anderson is a prominent member of the growing Black Media & Social Justice Community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is of founder of two Independent Black News & Media platforms, The Black Board Urban News and Black Indy Live — a Black-Owned News Service for the Community of Indianapolis. He also serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator for JHM Radio, the largest Black-Owned Podcasting and Independent Radio Network in the state of Indiana. Using these platforms he openly and often speaks out against institutions that appear to support and protect the system of White Supremacy, including creating a podcast “Yeah I Said It” that recently won the National Entertainment Convention Pop Con’s Award for the “Best News Podcast in America”.
Anderson also serves as an ambassador and mentor for the Youth Advocate Program with Indianapolis’s Juvenile Detention Center, aiming to serve and give support & guidance to some of the highest-risk young adults already in city’s correctional system. He founded the “Mentoring Through Media” Program aimed to give teens hands-on shadowing and experience in the realm of media they might have otherwise not been afforded under their circumstances.
He stated that he has experienced several instances of being banned from Facebook for suspicious instances of violating their “hate speech” policy. However, in the most recent occurance Facebook may have unintentionally revealed their method for identifying and censoring the accounts for those in the Black Activism Community.
How Facebook is Censoring Black Users
After Anderson shared and posted a series of statuses and news stories criticizing the NFL and The Dallas Cowboy’s Das Prescott, the recent Black Clergymen who met with Donald Trump, and other institutions in Indianapolis’s community that he “suspects for practicing and/or collaborating with White-Supremacy”, he received an interesting series of notifications on his Facebook account.
The day before his ban, he had shared an article from the Atlanta Black Star entitled The Game Calls Dallas Cowboys’ Das Prescott a ‘Coon’ For Saying Anthem Protests Are ‘Inappropriate’ to Facebook. Anderson then received an odd set of notifications. The first message from Facebook notified Anderson that his post was removed because “it looks like spam”. Note, the Atlanta Black Star is one of the most respected and reputable Black News sources in the country. Immediately after, he received another Facebook alert stating “Thanks again for letting us know about this post. We took another look and found it doesn’t go against our Community Standards, so we’ve restored your post” even though he says he never initiated any sort of review to his own post.
The following morning, Anderson unleashed a series of posts criticizing the Black Clergymen who recently met with President Donald Trump. On one of these posts, which was a shared live video of a feed of the meeting, Anderson included the caption ” a room full of raCOONS (sp) shameful” in reference to the Pastors attending the meeting with the Suspected White-Supremacist President Trump.
This led to another Facebook alert notifying Anderson that his ‘Raccoon’ post violated Facebook’s “standards on hate speech”, and he would be subject a 30 day ban, his second in a 45 day period.
“Facebook clearly has been targeting my account for awhile. It’s no surprise really, they’ve had to admit and apologize to silencing Black Community Members in the past, this is expected from a platform known to protect and enable White-Supremacists, and allows anti-black hate speech to flourish and go viral on their platform daily” Says Anderson, who spoke to Black Indy Live.
“What’s important about this is they may have unknowingly shed light on the precise methods they use to censor us. I believe the false alert from the day before was a mistake on their part. They wanted to ban me for that post there, but realized I was only sharing an article with the word “Coon” in the title, not actually saying it myself. I had started using the word “raccoon” in place of “coon” for a while as I already suspected this. I figured saying a common animal would through whatever automated system off the track. This leads me to believe they have actual human beings who go through and target and censor other active Black Community members like myself”.
Verifying his claims, a Facebook search revealed several pages of instances of Laron Anderson using the word “raccoon” to describe what he calls “Black People who enable, submit, and collaborate with White Supremacy”. None of these posts were previously flagged or removed by the platform.
“Facebook has identified these words and phrases Black Social Activists often use exclusively in our community, like ‘Uncle Tom’, ‘Sambo’, ‘Coon’, and are selectively choosing to ban Black Activists for individual usage of the word when they see fit. Now they apparently have added ‘Raccoon’ to the list. I believe the end game is to ultimately rack up enough bans to completely delete these Activist Accounts, which they say they can do after multiple bans…and therefore erase any subsequent group or business page or following they have also created on the platform.”
Anderson says he submitted a request to Facebook to review his ban but does not expect much to come from it, as his previous request for a review to a similar ban was denied. He says his goal is to spread the word on how the Platform is alleged targeting these Black People and help them formulate strategies to avoid occurrences in the future.
How to Avoid Being Targeted by Facebook’s Moderators
“It’s clear Facebook is a White-Supremacist Collaborating Platform, so Black People we just gotta start getting on code” says Anderson “That may mean a change is behavior, phrases, operating strategies and structures, but we need to get on the same page”
“I love the word Colonizer so much and a thank Black Panther for bringing it to the forefront of Black Society” says Anderson ” It’s such a fitting, and historically accurate description of Wypipo, yet still disrespectful enough to Trigger Suspected White Supremacists when you call them one, or reference their colonizing and genocidal history against Black People across the globe. We need more ‘code words’ like this to throw off and confuse these predators disguised as Facebook Moderators who stalk and harass Black Activists”
“I also encourage those content creators or entrepreneurs with Platforms that could be targeted by Facebook, make other people you trust Administrators of your account of any Group or Business Page you have created and manage, so they are not rendered 100% inaccessible and therefore useless if Facebook bans or locks you out of your account”
Anderson said while he does much of his marketing work on social media and through Facebook, that the ban “won’t make or break”him and he will continue to speak out against “the white supremacy in media and social media platforms” while continuing to do the work in community to “create and sustain Black-Owned Media, Mentorship, and Community Platforms”.
You can donate and contribute to Laron Anderson and the other community initiatives he manages by clicking here.