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Facebook Stop Telling Me to Boost my Posts

Published in ChicagoNow, November 6, 2018

Here’s what Facebook tells me about many of my posts on my “business” page Still Advocating:

“Boost your post to get more likes, comments and shares. People are boosting posts similar to your post Halloween has become so commer… to reach more people. Try boosting yours for $6 to get more likes, comments and shares from up to 1,300 people a day.”

First of all, what on earth is “commer”? I assume commercialized, but I guess your algorithm doesn’t care if what you say makes sense. More importantly, however, why should I pay you to advertise posts like this one when you act like I am a terrorist if I try to boost something that mentions Donald Trump in a less-than-positive light?

Granted, some of my posts are “political,” but I’m a 73-year-old grandmother of eleven, hardly someone trying to sow hatred and division. To the contrary, I just hope to get my point of view out there and promote kindness and caring. I guess that makes me political these days.

I know a post entitled Ten Bombs So Far: You Reap the Anger You Sow is clearly anti-Trump. I didn’t bother when Facebook suggested I boost that one. I was pretty upset when I wrote it. I did call Trump our “divider-in-chief” and referred to the recipients of the bombs as “Trump’s enemies list.” Still, no name calling, racism, lies, or calls for angry action. I concluded by saying,

“We all need to vote in the November 6 midterm elections. This has gone too far for far too long. It’s not normal and it’s not the media that is to blame for trying to cover the news. It’s the man at the top who sets the tone and must take responsibility for the anger and divisiveness he has encouraged in our country.”

I guess that’s too much for Facebook, which keeps telling me to boost my posts (buy ads) and then rejects any that have a whiff of criticism for Trump in them. In the past, I did boost a few of my posts, but I doubt my $3 or $6 made much difference to Facebook’s bottom line. I’m pretty sure Facebook solicited an ad for my post The Bully-in-Chief Belittles Christine Blasey Ford, only to tell me it was too political (duh). Then, I received a “boost this post” notice for On Being a Good Girl and Voting November 6. Even though it featured this cute picture of my three-year-old good girl self, I received another rejection with directions on how to become a political commentator by giving Facebook all of my personal data, supposedly to prove I’m not a Russian bot. No thank you.

Meanwhile, I see all manner of nasty posts on Facebook. I assume these are the writers authorized to post things with political content. From what I understand, the Russians are still coming for our elections with fake accounts, and Facebook took down over 100 of these types of accounts recently. According to Wired Magazine, yesterday Facebook took down a hateful, anti-immigrant Trump ad, but the damage was already done. More than a million people have already seen it.

Mr. Zuckerberg, I’m confused. You seem to lack the capacity to keep Facebook free of the things that truly swing election outcomes and interfere with our democracy, and yet my writing is too controversial?

In an interview with Kara Swisher back in July, you said this about Holocaust deniers posting on Facebook,

“The approach that we’ve taken to false news is not to say, you can’t say something wrong on the Internet. I think that that would be too extreme. Everyone gets things wrong, and if we were taking down people’s accounts when they got a few things wrong, then that would be a hard world for giving people a voice and saying that you care about that.”

You think Holocaust deniers have the right to publish these beliefs on Facebook because,

“…the thinking behind allowing groups that claim the Holocaust never happened to publish those beliefs on its platform comes down to one of the company’s ‘core principles’ of ‘giving people a voice, so that people can express their opinions.’”

I think I get it. I can express my opinions on my business page, Still Advocating, but you won’t let me buy an ad to get my dangerous ideas into more folks’ news feeds. Fine. I am happy to ignore Facebook’s pleas for me to buy ads. I’m not interested in paying you to boost my writing. I guess you think criticizing Trump is the same as denying the Holocaust. Talk about your false equivalencies.


by Laurie Levy
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