TERRELL, TX – Last week, Facebook declared that an official Police Department page somehow violated its terms, and has since suspended and unpublished the account.
The union’s Facebook page, Terrell Police Officers Association(TPOA), notified the public of the action taken by the social media platform to suspend the Terrell Police Department’s page.
Per Facebook, the reasoning for the suspension was:
“It looks like the recent activity on your Page doesn’t follow the Facebook Page Policies regarding impersonation and pretending to be an individual or business.”
Facebook continued by telling the department to visit the help center to dispute the action, but then it essentially tells them their request “may not” be responded to because they have fewer workers (thanks to COVID).
So what started this suspension in the first place?
Due to Facebook’s lack of response, we may never know.
According to a post by Captain A.D. Sansom on the TPOA Facebook page on October 7:
“Our last two posts were ones of gratitude to a local busness (sic) for a donation made to our agency and the day before an image of support for breast cancer awareness month, displaying our pink patch!
“SOMEHOW THAT IS OFFENSIVE?”
That’s 8,100 people who may depend on that page to get them information for their police department: press releases, events, public safety announcements, etc. And now they’re denied that information because Facebook decided that something a police department put up was “offensive.”
“If I had an idea what the trigger was, maybe it was a typo that came across wrong in the algorithm that would be one thing. But I haven’t even gotten to talk to a person, no one would reply. We were about to give up after a week of no response.
“I happened to talk to someone who knows someone and now we are connected with a ‘Facebook specialist’ that’s supposed to be walking us through an appeals process.”
Captain Sansom elaborated on the two most recent posts. One was thanking Walmart for a donation of food, and one was showing their support for “Pink Out,” where they display a pink badge meant to support breast cancer awareness in October.
The Captain told me:
“I was told that it could have gone back years, based on the algorithms. We posted a guide for people that says what you can and can’t post, so if there’s profanity or racial slurs by commenters then we block them.
“We’ve never had any trouble since around 2010 when I created it, so who knows what the culprit is.
“We interact with our community on Facebook. We don’t have a huge following but it’s popular with the ones with those that do follow.”
As of this writing, there has been no development into the reasoning for the suspension, and the page has not been reactivated.
The TPOA said on October 9:
For now, the TPOA is hoping that people will get notified about the department’s page and follow the union page for important public information and press releases.
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While police departments are getting unpublished, Facebook is freely allowing its platform to be used to encourage violence against police.
Here’s our story on that from September 16.
PORTLAND, OR – While the idea of memes being linked to violence from rioting in recent months may seem like a bizarre comparison, apparently a recent report alleges that there indeed lies a connection between the internet culture and violence in the streets during riots and protests.
There's no such thing as Antifa and they're certainly not organized and others lies you've been toldhttps://t.co/bpi0yhp5Ly
— Schrödinger’s Aristocrats (@jumpinjonnydee) September 16, 2020
Specifically, these types of memes are of the ilk that champion anti-police sentiments and promote violence to be enacted by far-left agitators, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper reported on the data presented by the Network Contagion Research Institute, which typically homes in on what it characterizes as far-right propaganda being spread online.
But, according to The Washington Post, the NCRI found that those among far-left groups are now using social media and memes to spread anti-police rhetoric:
“Some left-wing groups have embraced similar social media tactics, including memes and humorous catchphrases, to spread their messages and possibly help coordinate offline activity.”
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) September 15, 2020
The news outlet’s take on the report further stated that the NCRI believes there was a direct link to social media coordination by far-leftists and riots that happened “in Seattle, Portland and other cities on July 25, involving fires, looting and property damage.”
Memes reported on depicted the likes of “officers being shot or their vehicles burned” and one group had even suggested that rioters use “laser pointers to obstruct surveillance” and light “fires at police barricades.” But what was more troubling was when another online leftist “urged people to use 3-D printers to make guns that can’t be traced by authorities.”
The activities monitored online showed that the numbers were surging when it came to the frequency of when anti-police talking points were mentioned or shared on various platforms:
“Comments using anti-police slogans surged nearly 300 percent on Reddit and more than 1,000 percent on Twitter during the unrest triggered by the killing of George Floyd in May.”
Although, while the use of memes to promote and organize far-left demonstrations is a relatively new revelation, the mere organization of Antifa-like groups and malefactors at these demonstrations was shown to have been known by authorities for some time.
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