Last Sunday I started a Facebook group called Band Together. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1300620937429306. The basic idea was this:
“I think the time has now come for all of the progressive and socialist third party organizations in the United States to band together and become one. If they do that, they will become a powerful draw for those of us who supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020. And as a result, they can truly become a major party.”
I started inviting friends on Facebook. Some of them invited their own friends. Within about two days, we got up to 83 members. Not bad. I added articles that I had written for NationofChange and L.A. Progressive, and then I also added other things from the Internet. People started to respond.
But I wanted to send messages to friends and non-friends and ask them to consider joining the group. For awhile this worked; I sent out lots and lots of messages. But then – inexplicably, because I was not violating any Facebook “rules” – my messages wouldn’t be sent out, even to my friends. They were marked with a little red exclamation mark, which said that there was an “error” and the message failed to send. (Above is a picture of one I tried to send to my friend, Len.)
I tried to complain to Facebook and tell them that their system was screwing up. Have you ever tried to communicate with Facebook? You can’t. If you try to send a complaint about something, they give you a choice of about six things to say, but they never give you a change to click “Other” and provide an explanation. If you click “Other,” then they tell you your “Other” choice was sent in and that’s it. You can’t really give the reason. And so they do nothing about it.
I even found out that Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s founder and CEO) has an email and a Facebook page. I sent him an email, but it bounced back, with Facebook telling me that I wasn’t authorized to communicate with him. “Your message couldn’t be delivered because you don’t have permission to send to this recipient. Ask the recipient’s email admin to grant you permission and then try again.” (Of course, they didn’t tell me who Zuckerberg’s email admin is.)
I tried to use Messenger, and guess what? They marked my message with a little red exclamation which was an “error,” and the message failed to send.
Facebook claims that it is trying to get people together. “At Facebook, we are constantly iterating, solving problems and working together to connect people all over the world.“ Fiddle twaddle! You can’t even talk to Facebook if you want to. “Messenger helps you connect with the people you care about most. It is your shared space to customize and express what’s on your mind and share content and experiences in the moment together on any device, anytime, anywhere.” Oh, really? Then why do you prevent people like me from sending out information to our Facebook friends?
I sent out about fifty messages, and – without warning – Facebook removed the message, stating that it was removed because I lacked permission to send it out or for other unknown reasons. The reasons are known only to Facebook, and they aren’t telling anyone.
Did you know that Facebook is under all kinds of attack from different directions? “The subject of numerous controversies, Facebook has often been criticized over issues such as user privacy (as with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal), political manipulation (as with the 2016 U.S. elections), mass surveillance, psychological effects such as addiction and low self-esteem, and content such as fake news, conspiracy theories, copyright infringement, and hate speech. Commentators have accused Facebook of willingly facilitating the spread of such content, as well as exaggerating its number of users to appeal to advertisers.“
Well, we shall see how Band Together makes out. We’re off to a rough start because Facebook has made it so. Real people are joining us, even if Facebook makes the road difficult.